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Removing Highly Enriched Uranium from Kazakhstan

Removing Highly Enriched Uranium from Kazakhstan  logo

Securing nuclear materials in Kazakhstan

NTI joined with the government of Kazakhstan to remove more than a dozen nuclear bombs' worth of highly enriched uranium from a civilian nuclear power reactor slated for shut-down in Aktau, Kazakhstan.

  • NTI Board Members Susan Eisenhower, Ted Turner, Sam Nunn, Pierre Lellouche and Fuija Yang being briefed on the blend-down of highly enriched uranium (HEU) at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan.  Under an NTI project, up to two-dozen bombs’ worth of HEU was converted to low enriched uranium fuel for power reactors that cannot be used in a nuclear weapon. NTI Board Members Susan Eisenhower, Ted Turner, Sam Nunn, Pierre Lellouche and Fuija Yang being briefed on the blend-down of highly enriched uranium (HEU) at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan. Under an NTI project, up to two-dozen bombs’ worth of HEU was converted to low enriched uranium fuel for power reactors that cannot be used in a nuclear weapon.
  • holding highly enriched uranium powder that was blended down in Kazakhstan. holding highly enriched uranium powder that was blended down in Kazakhstan.
    Bony/Gamma
  • Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev and Co-Chairman Sam Nunn Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev and Co-Chairman Sam Nunn
  • NTI Board Members observe highly enriched uranium blend-down in NTI Board Members observe highly enriched uranium blend-down in
    Sharon Glover

Working with the government of Kazakhstan, NTI supported the removal of highly enriched uranium, the raw material of nuclear terrorism, from a nuclear power reactor in Aktau, on the Caspian Sea.

The material was taken by rail to a secure plant for blending down, and the  now-transformed low-enriched uranium can be used only for commercial or scientific activities. The project to permanently remove and eliminate 2,900 kilograms of uranium fuel, enriched up to 26 percent, from the Aktau site began in 2001 and was completed in 2005. It was carried out in coordination with the Kazakhstan and U.S. governments and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Key leaders praised NTI for its involvement in the project

Kazakhstan's President Nurlsultan Nazarbayev said, "It’s important that we do everything possible to secure and eliminate bomb-making materials so terrorists cannot use them to build a nuclear weapon. All of us in Kazakhstan are proud of what we have done with NTI to advance that goal."

Mohamed El-Baradei, Director General of the IAEA said, “…this project demonstrates the feasibility of…converting HEU into commercially valuable material that is not directly usable in nuclear weapons…the NTI–Kazakhstan effort could well serve as a model for future projects in other countries.”

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