IAEA nuclear fuel bank to open in Kazakhstan in mid-August
ASTANA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- A low-enriched uranium bank (LEU) authorized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will open in Kazakhstan on Aug. 17, under the witness of IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, the country's energy minister said Monday.
More than 70 percent of the construction work of the IAEA-sponsored nuclear fuel bank has been finished, and it is expected to be completed and put into operation in July, Kanat Bozumbaev said in the Majilis, the lower house of the parliament.
The reserve of uranium in the bank will be "inviolable," which will be used only in case of a crisis situation, he said.
In 2009, Kazakhstan initiated the establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank in its territory under the auspices of the IAEA. It signed an agreement with the IAEA on the matter on Aug. 27, 2015.
The bank will host up to 90 tons of low-enriched uranium, sufficient to run a 1,000 MW light water reactor.
The bank is fully funded by voluntary contributions and has no impact on the IAEA budget. The amount of donor contributions is about 150 million U.S. dollars to operate the bank for at least 10 years. The donors are the Nuclear Threat Initiative (50 million U.S. dollars), the United States, (49.54 million dollars), the United Arab Emirates (10 million dollars), Kuwait (10 million dollars), Norway (5 million dollars) and the EU (up to 27.4 million dollars).
Kazakhstan is a leading producer of uranium, boasting more than 15 percent of global uranium reserves.