Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Centre (NNC) said on 29 April that it plans to build a radioactive waste storage facility on the territory of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site. Public consultations are planned via video-conference on 26 May.

“The goal of this project is to create a storage facility for radioactive waste generated in the process of restoring the land of the former Semipalatinsk test site. The radioactive waste storage facility will be located on the territory of the former Semipalatinsk test site in the Maisky district of the Pavlodar region. The construction site is located within the industrial site of the branch of the. The land plot belongs to the National Nuclear Centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” the documentation for the consultation says.

The nearest settlements to the work site are the city of Kurchatov at a distance of 75 kilometres, Semey at a distance of 130 kilometres and Pavlodar at a distance of 250 kilometres. NCC’s Institute of Atomic Energy (IAE), which is developing the project said the site was chosen because it has a well-developed infrastructure, there are no settlements nearby, and there are also optimal natural conditions for the work.

The storage facility is intended for intermediate long-term storage of solid radioactive waste in the form of soil. The design life is 50 years. The total area of ​​the storage facility is 1800 square metres, it is designed to take 1,500 tons of waste a year. The facility will consist of three hangars in a row and a waste unloading area. It will be serviced by employees of IAE. The construction and start of operation of the radioactive waste storage facility is scheduled for 2021.

In September, Kazakhstan will host the Ninth International Conference – Semipalatinsk Test Site: Legacy and Prospects for Scientific-Technical Potential Development to be held in Kurchatov.

The conference is organised by the Ministry of Energy, NNC (including IAE), the Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology, the Institute of Atomic Energy, the Institute of Geophysical Research, national atomic company Kazatomprom, the Institute of Nuclear Physics, JSC Park of Nuclear Technologies, Kazakh Physical Society, and Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan.