The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and its partners in the Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy’s Committee for Atomic and Energy Supervision and Control (CAESC) recently renewed their longstanding relationship with a signed joint statement on cooperation in emergency preparedness and response as well as a site visit from NNSA representatives to Kazakhstani facilities.
The statement was signed by DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby during a virtual meeting with CAESC’s Deputy Chairman Gumar Sergazin. Kazakhstan’s Vice Minister of Energy Zhandos Nurmaganbetov signed the joint statement following the virtual meeting. The following week, representatives from NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation (CTCP) exchanged physical copies of the signed joint statements at the Ministry of Energy and CAESC headquarters in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The joint statement highlighted previous cooperation between the two countries, such as radiological and nuclear detection equipment loaned to Kazakhstan from NNSA, and areas for future collaboration, including support to Kazakhstan in the form of radiation detection and telecommunications equipment to establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). NNSA will provide the necessary equipment and resources for the EOC on long-term loan or as a cost-free donation to help CAESC enhance its emergency preparedness and response posture.
“Our presence here today is a testament to the United States’ and Kazakhstan’s commitment to strengthening cooperative efforts to continue to address nuclear safety and security goals, and specifically advancements in emergency preparedness and response,” said NNSA Administrator Hruby during the virtual signing. “Given the situation in Ukraine, it is paramount that we work together to build capacity so the region is prepared to respond.”
Personnel from CTCP visited the U.S. Embassy in Astana, where they briefed U.S. State Department and Defense Department representatives on CTCP efforts in country. CTCP cooperation with Kazakhstan on emergency preparedness and response capacity building includes emergency response training and planning assistance.
“We note a very positive trend in the joint work done, as well as the fact that our cooperation will make a significant contribution to the prevention of nuclear and radiological threats and emergencies in the interests of the security of both countries,” said Gumar Sergazin, Deputy Chairman of CAESC during the signing ceremony.
The CTCP representatives also visited Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Security Training Center in Almaty. Experts from NNSA’s Remote Sensing Laboratory examined the previously loaned detection equipment at Kazakhstan’s Institute of Nuclear Physics, provided hands on training, and recalibrated the equipment to improve detection capabilities. Activities throughout the week and future cooperation will serve to enhance Kazakhstan’s emergency preparedness and response posture, contributing to greater regional capacity for nuclear and radiological incident response.