IAEA- World’S First Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan [ ]

()

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - UN global nuclear watchdog opened world’s first Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen in Kazakhstan. First of its kind LEU bank not to be under control of any individual country.

Image of IAEA- World’s First Low-Enriched Uranium Bank

Image of IAEA- World’s First Low-Enriched Uranium Bank

Image of IAEA- World’s First Low-Enriched Uranium Bank

  • IAEA manages 123 tons of uranium in Angarsk, Russia under the control of Russian government

What is LEU Bank?

  • The LEU Bank has reserve capacity to store 90 tons of LEU needed to make the fuel for light-water nuclear reactors

  • Reserve enough to load a light-water reactor for supplying electricity to a large city for three years.

Purpose of Bank

  • Serve as last resort source of LEU if IAEA member countries are unable to either produce fuel or if it becomes unavailable in international market ensuring fuel for countries dependent on nuclear power.

  • Discourage countries from developing uranium enrichment capacities supposedly for peaceful purposes.

  • To not disrupt usual trade of nuclear fuel purchased in the open market or through bilateral agreement.

  • Ensure peaceful use of atomic energy without costly enrichment program.

  • Assure suppliers in the international markets do not manipulate prices.

Who Has Access?

Member states can perchance purchase uranium from the bank obeying strict criteria’s. Project funded by donors, including the United States, European Union, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Norway, and Nuclear Threat Initiative.

What is International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)?

  • International organization promoting peaceful use of nuclear energy headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

  • Established as an autonomous organization in 1957 through its own international treaty, the IAEA Statute.

  • Independent of the United Nations but reports to both the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Security Council (UNSC).

Why Kazakhstan?

  • Kazakhstan has 12 % of the world’s uranium resources and an expanding mining sector, producing about 24, 575 tU in 2016.

  • Became world’s leading uranium producer, with almost 28 % of world production, then 33 % in 2010, rising to 41 % in 2014, and 39 % in 2015 and 2016.

  • Kazakhstan has a major plant making nuclear fuel pellets and aims eventually to sell value-added fuel rather than just uranium.

  • A fuel fabrication plant is being built with 49 % Chinese equity.

  • The government is committed to a high level of uranium exports planning to build a Russian nuclear power reactor probably at Kurchatov by 2025.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 19, 2017