The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano has welcomed establishment of Low Enrichment Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan. He said it was a step forward.
According to a message received on Thursday the DG IAEA expressed his thanks to Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Government and people of Kazakhstan for volunteering to host the LEU Bank and for the constructive negotiations which made it possible. He also thanked the Russian Federation for concluding agreement to allow transit of LEU to and from the IAEA LEU Bank.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Idrissov, Energy Minister Scholnik and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano signed the accord in Astana this week to establish LEU Bank that will serve as a supply of last resort.
The IAEA DG noted that the new mechanism will provide confidence to countries that they will be able to obtain LEU for the manufacture of fuel for nuclear power plants in the event of an unforeseen, non-commercial disruption to their supplies.
The IAEA chief hoped that the IAEA LEU Bank will operate safely in line with IAEA nuclear safety standards and nuclear security guidance. He pointed out that as the world’s largest uranium producer, with expertise in peaceful nuclear technology, Kazakhstan was well suited to hosting the IAEA LEU Bank. Kazakhstan has an exemplary record of contributing to non-proliferation and international peace.
There will be a physical reserve of up to 90 metric tons of LEU in the Bank sufficient to run a 1,000 MW light-water reactor, enough to power a large city for three years.
The establishment and operation of the IAEA LEU Bank is fully funded through US $150 million of voluntary contributions from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Norway and Kazakhstan.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of the UN Security Council members the United Kingdom, Russia, the USA, China and France, as well as donor countries.