$150m nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan

A $150 million (£94.5m) reserve for nuclear fuel is to be built in Kazakhstan. The project has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which said it is […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

A $150 million (£94.5m) reserve for nuclear fuel is to be built in Kazakhstan.

The project has been approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which said it is funded by voluntary contributors who have donated the cash to operate it for at least 10 years.

The IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank will be located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen in northeastern Kazakhstan.

The Ulba plant has been handling and storing nuclear material, including LEU, safely and securely for more than 60 years.

LEU is used to make the fuel that powers most nuclear reactors around the world.

The new bank will be used as a storage system for Member States in case they cannot get LEU in the global commercial market.

It will have a capacity of 90 metric tons – enough to run a 1,000MWe light water reactor, which can power a large city for three years.

The IAEA will own and control the facility and Kazakhstan will operate it and be responsible for the safety.