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Kazakhstan To Open International Nuclear Fuel Bank Next Year

A tank with filled uranium solution at Kazakhstan's Inkai uranium mine, one of the sites that put Kazakhstan in the top three globally in both estimated uranium reserves and production.
The chairman of Kazakhstan’s Atomic Energy Agency, Timur Zhantikin, has told journalists that Kazakhstan will have an international nuclear fuel bank in 2013, potentially putting it on the front line of the international nonproliferation effort.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to decide this year on the site of a fuel bank, where countries in compliance with the IAEA's regulations could store spent nuclear fuel.

The idea is to improve control over nuclear fuel and prevent it from falling into the hands of countries or groups seeking to develop or obtain nuclear weapons.

In May, Kazakhstan chose the Ulba Metallurgic plant in Oskemen, the capital of East Kazakhstan region, as its proposed site. Kazakh officials have said the country's bid meets all IAEA requirements.

The Ulba Metallurgic plant, which has been producing dry fuel for nuclear power stations for 50 years, would have the capacity to hold up to 60 tons of gasified low-enriched uranium.

Based on reporting by KazTAG and KazInform