A Big Leap in Nuclear Non-Proliferation

-Prashant Tandon*

ASTANA(KAZAKHSTAN) August 29, 2017: Keeping a date with International Day with against Nuclear Tests, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev today launched LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) Bank. The opening was simultaneously held through a teleconference from eastern city of Oskemen, where the bank is situated.

The 150 Million US Dollar unique facility will be the lifeline for the fuel requirement of light water reactor nuclear power plants across the world which falls under the IAEA monitoring. The LEU Bank is the outcome of the agreement signed by government of Kazakhstan and United Nations nuclear watch dog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2015. The bank is aimed discourage many nations to develop their own uranium enrichment programmes to fuel nuclear power plants.

Speaking on the opening ceremony at Hilton Hotel in Astana, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said, “by being host to the IAEA LEU bank, Kazakhstan has made another contribution in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime”. While handing over the symbolic key to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano Nazarbayev added  “I am confident that the IAEA LEU Bank will make a valuable contribution to international efforts to ensure the availability of fuel for nuclear power plants,”

The establishment and operation of the IAEA LEU Bank is funded by voluntary contributions to the tune of 150 US dollars which is covers the full establishment and running cost up 10 years.

The 90 metric tonnes of low enriched uranium reserve which will be stored in the bank and made available to consumer countries under the supervision of IAEA – the global nuclear non proliferation agency.

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev handling over the symbolic key of LEU Bank to IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano.
Photo: Diplomacy Today

*Prashant Tandon is a Senior Journalist and Expert, Nuclear Energy

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