Construction of the building for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) Low Enrichment Uranium Bank has started on the Ulba Metallurgical Plant site in Kazakhstan, according to Timur Zhantikin, deputy chairman of Kazakhstan’s Committee of Atomic and Energy Supervision and Control of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The binding agreement between the IAEA and Kazakhstan regarding establishing a LEU Bank was signed on 27 August 2015 and the partnership agreement between the IAEA and the Ulba Metallurgical Plant was signed on 27 May 2016.
“Yesterday, we put in the first brick,” Zhantikin said on 26 August. He explained that initially, construction of a new building had not been envisaged, and it was planned that the LEU Bank would be housed by the “old warehouse building” on the UMP site. However, given the political significance of the project, the decision was made to build “a new building with strengthened protection”, Zhantikin said. “Today, we plan to complete the technical part of the work, i.e. to build and outfit the building in the second half of 2017,” he added. The storage area would be 600m2.
The IAEA LEU Bank will be a physical inventory of low enriched uranium of up to 90 metric tons. It will become one of the reserve mechanisms of material deliveries to member states in cases where they cannot get in from the global commercial market or by other means.