A high level U.S. delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman, will visit Astana on August 27-28 for the signing of an agreement between Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on establishing low-enriched uranium (LEU) ‘fuel bank’ in Kazakhstan.
The document will be signed by Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in the presence of representatives of the United States, China, France, Russia, the UK, as well as the project’s donor countries – the EU, Norway, Kuwait, and the UAE. The Assistant Secretary of State will meet Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov and Barlybay Sadykov, Ambassador at Large of the Foreign Ministry.
Speaking about the forthcoming event, Thomas Countryman said: “Kazakhstan has been a longtime leader in nonproliferation and nuclear security dating back to President Nazarbayev’s historic decision in 1991 to close the Semipalatinsk Test Site, send all of the 1400 nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan back to Russia, and sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear weapon state.”
He added that the bank would support “the growth of safe and secure nuclear power in ways that prevent proliferation and improve global security which is in line with the United States and Kazakhstan’s shared goal to make the world a safer place”.
Also participating in the event will be former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, now Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), who has been a leader in the U.S. national security community for many years and whose initiative, Project Sapphire, helped Kazakhstan dispose of 600 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium left on its soil after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The fuel bank will be hosted in the territory of the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) in Oskemen, with Kazakhstan meeting the costs of LEU storage, including payment of electricity, heating, and office space and staff costs; the remaining costs will be borne by the IAEA.
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For additional information, please contact the press service of the US Mission at 8-777-223-0851;