Kazakhstan opens nuclear security training centre

16 May 2017

Kazakhstan has opened a new facility to provide security training to its nuclear facility personnel. The Nuclear Security Training Centre (NSTC) has been developed with the support of the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Representatives from Kazakh and US organisations mark the opening of the new centre (Image: NNSA)

Kazakhstan announced plans to establish the NSTC in its national statement to the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. Construction work began in late 2015 at a site adjacent to Kazakhstan's Institute of Nuclear Physics at Alatau, near Almaty. The centre will train personnel from local, regional and international nuclear facilities and organisations in security disciplines, including physical protection systems, nuclear material accounting and control systems, response forces, and secure transportation.

The centre was designed and constructed with support from the NNSA, which will continue to collaborate with the NSTC by assisting with management and operations plans and training the centre's staff in curriculum development and delivery.

"This training centre demonstrates the Republic of Kazakhstan's commitment to nuclear security. Further, it highlights how nations working together can enhance nuclear security worldwide," NNSA acting deputy administrator for defence nuclear non-proliferation David Huizenga said.

Kazakhstan to build fuel cycle

Kazakhstan intends to create a vertically integrated nuclear fuel cycle company by 2020, Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev announced yesterday. "Kazakhstan is interested not only in the extraction and supply of natural uranium, but also in the production and marketing of higher-grade uranium products with high added value," he told the country's lower house, the Majilis.

According to the Kazinform news agency, the opening ceremony was attended by the USA's ambassador to Kazakhstan, George Krol, US Consul General in Almaty Mark Moody, representatives of the NNSA, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Gumar Sergazin, deputy chair of the Kazakh Ministry of Energy's Committee for Nuclear and Energy Supervision and Monitoring.

Kazakhstan is the world's leading uranium producer and though it does not have an operating nuclear power plant, it does have operating research reactors. It also produces nuclear fuel pellets and has plans to further develop its fuel cycle activities. The country is also to host the low-enriched uranium fuel 'bank' - scheduled to open later this year - on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"All this wealth carries the risks of sabotage and information leakage, which can occur even without breaking into the building," Petr Chakrov, deputy director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics, said. "Therefore, to implement security measures we need specialists and training systems."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News