Uranium fuel bank established in Kazakhstan

A signing ceremony was held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in August to establish the low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel bank that will be located in the country and begin operations in 2017.

The bank will serve as a physical reserve of nuclear materials so that eligible members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would be able to access LEU material as a last resort in cases where they could not acquire materials on the commercial market.

Andrew Weber, former assistant United States secretary of defense, said the bank allows member states that are interested in pursuing nuclear energy to avoid the costly process of establishing nuclear production and building enrichment infrastructure that would have the potential to be misused for the production of nuclear weapons.

To acquire materials from the bank, member states must have the safeguards required by the IAEA in place.

Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov said the LEU bank being established is a testament to its role as a leading nation in nuclear non-proliferation activity.

The bank receives funding from the European Union, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Norway, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, and philanthropist Warren Buffett.

Organizations in this Story

International Atomic Energy Agency

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