On August 27, 2015 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Astana, hosted the ceremony of signing of documents between Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency on the establishment of the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the IAEA on the establishment of the IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in the Republic of Kazakhstan was signed bythe Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. In addition, the Technical Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and the IAEA on the concrete measures to be taken for establishing IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in the Republic, as well as Agreement on Facility Operator Services rendered in connection therewith.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Kazakh Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik, CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, former US Senator Sam Nunn, United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman, high representatives of the other four powers, permanent member of the U.N. Security Council – Britain, China, Russia, France, and the Project donors – the European Union, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Norway. The event was held in the presence of the diplomatic corps in Kazakhstan and a large number of the local and foreign media.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, E. Idrissov noted that establishment of the Bank is an event of a global scale as it the first ever of the Low-Enriched Uranium Bank and has no analogues in atomic engineering. It presents a new, unique mechanism of guaranteed delivery of Low-Enriched Uranium to IAEA Member States in case they are unable to receive it in the world the commercial market. The Bank will serve for the benefit of the peaceful development of nuclear energy and make a significant contribution to strengthening the global nuclear safety.
"President Nursultan Nazarbayev strongly supported the IAEA initiative to establish the Bank and offered to place the facility in Kazakhstan. We are doubly pleased to know that this project is implemented with our direct participation and in the territory of our state ", – said the minister.
According to E. Idrissov, the choice of Kazakhstan as a site for IAEA Bank is a sign of great trust and recognition of our country as a responsible and reliable partner with extensive experience in dealing with nuclear materials, a consistent advocate of strengthening the regime of non-proliferation and global nuclear security.
Yukiya Amano said in his speech that the agreements signed are a major step forward in the implementation of IAEA decisions to establish a bank of low-enriched uranium. "I am very grateful to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the people of Kazakhstan, and the Government for their conscious decision that made possible the creation of the Bank. I'm sure the Bank will satisfy all the IAEA safety standards", – he stressed.
Minister Shkolnik told about the hard work done by the experts of Kazakhstan and the IAEA that preceded the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of Low-Enriched Uranium Bank and outlined the main areas of further implementation of the project. He stressed that the Ulbinsky Metallurgical Plant, with more than half a century of experience of work with nuclear material had no single incident in its history. Creating the Bank on the base of Ulbinsky Metallurgical Plant fits the normal operation of the plant. The Republic of Kazakhstan is a country which fully applies the IAEA standards", – said the Minister of Energy.
Widely known expert on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, co-author of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program Sam Nunn shared his memories of the events related to Kazakhstan's voluntary refusal of nuclear arsenal and closing of the Semipalatinsk test site. "These solutions helped to avoid a lot of destruction, and today Kazakhstan repeated its feat", – said ex-US senator.
IAEA Low-Enriched Uranium Bank is a unique international project with no analogues in the world. The project was designed to provide countries using peaceful atom with access to low-enriched uranium reserve in case of they are unable to purchase it on the commercial market. It was intended to provide Member States of the IAEA with the guaranteed, reliable and predictable source of fuel supply even in case of failure of other mechanisms of supply.
Kazakhstan has more than 60 years of proven experience in civil nuclear materials and its deliveries. The Bank's activities shall be governed by legal and regulatory requirements of the country with the IAEA full administration and management of the facility.