KAZAKHSTAN MAY STORE UP TO 70 TONS OF LOW ENRICHED URANIUM IN NUCLEAR FUEL BANK, KAZATOMPROM
Astana. May 18. Interfax-Kazakhstan - Storing uranium fuel at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) in Ust-Kamenogorsk (East Kazakhstan region), if it is chosen as the international nuclear fuel bank, is absolutely safe for the environment, said the head of the national company Kazatomprom Vladimir Shkolnik.
"Now we are discussing the storage of 60-70 tons of low enriched uranium, which is currently available, at the UMP (the bank of nuclear fuel - "IF-K"). In other words, the bank will add only 5%-7% to that uranium storage that we are currently maintaining," he said at the international conference" Kazakhstan - U.S.: 20 years of partnership in the name of security and development "on Friday in Astana.
Vladimir Shkolnik stressed the high safety of the Ulba Metallurgical Plant for the storage of low-enriched uranium.
"Having worked in the nuclear industry for 40 years, I can say that it is absolutely safe and in no way it will affect the environment," said Vladimir Shkolnik.
He clarified that it "it is not a storage facility for radioactive materials, as it is not a radioactive material."
The UMP, according to Shkolnik is the safest options, as the plant has managed uranium production for over 50 years and in the Soviet era produced nearly 1,200 tons of fuel for nuclear power plants in the USSR and Eastern Europe. The plant, said Shkolnik, also stored up to 1,000 of low-enriched uranium, in form of hexafluoride," said Shkolnik.
A member of the bilateral commission on a new US-Russian START Treaty, the former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, John Ordway, said that the U.S. supports Kazakhstan's initiative to host the fuel bank.
"One of the reasons why Kazakhstan has been chosen as the host of a fuel bank is the level of safety and experience, exactly what Vladimir Shkolnik was just saying," said Ordway.