7 Sep 2023 11:47

IAEA to conduct another mission in Kazakhstan later this year - ministry

ASTANA. Sept 7 (Interfax) - The International Atomic Energy Agency plans anther mission in Kazakhstan before the year-end, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry's press office said.

Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Kazakhstan's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, presented his credentials to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA.

"The Agency is providing advisory assistance to the Kazakh government on the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant and is planning another comprehensive mission by the end of this year," the press service said, quoting Grossi.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the head of the IAEA highlighted the importance of enhancing technical cooperation in projects related to nuclear energy, cancer treatment, application of nuclear technologies, and training of Kazakh personnel.

Tleuberdi said IAEA membership was a priority for Kazakhstan, especially in the light of plans to build a nuclear power plant in the country.

"The parties agreed to continue their mutually beneficial dialogue on developing nuclear power and strengthening nuclear safety," the press release said.

A team of experts from the IAEA completed a four-day mission in Kazakhstan for an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) from March 28-31, 2023.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed a referendum on the nuclear power plant during his annual address to the nation on September 1.

Tokayev said that Kazakhstan, as one of the world's largest uranium producers, should have its own nuclear power generation.

Civil activists in Kazakhstan demanded a referendum on the nuclear power plant construction. While some experts may support the use of small modular nuclear reactors, there are valid safety concerns raised by both citizens and other experts.

After analyzing the findings of earlier studies, the location of the village of Ulken in the Almaty region was identified as the most suitable site for building a nuclear power plant. The plant will be cooled using water from Balkhash Lake.

The nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan is supposed to be built by an international pool of investors. According to the Energy Ministry, the work could take up to 10 years, with the cost of one power generating unit reaching $5 billion on average.