WASHINGTON — The United States has amended its national export control laws to make it easier to export nuclear technology to Kazakhstan, according to a notice published today in the Federal Register (see GSN, May 22, 2002).
The U.S. Export Administration Regulations have been amended to include Kazakhstan among the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the notice says. The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a 40-member organization that establishes export control regulations for nuclear trade, and the group agreed to add Kazakhstan in 2002.
The amended regualtions will help ease burdens on U.S. exporters by reducing licensing requirements for those exports to Kazakhstan controlled for nuclear nonproliferation reasons, according to the notice.
Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Vladimir Shkolnik today praised the United States for amending its export control regulations to include Kazakhstan among NSG members.
“We believe this decision confirms the strengthening of the relations of strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the United States based on the many years of close joint resolution of problems of disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Shkolnik said in a statement.
“We believe this decision will promote further strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in this sensitive area,” he said.
Experts have warned that Kazakhstan poses proliferation concerns because of weak border controls and enforcement of export controls. In addition, there are also concerns that would-be terrorists could obtain in Kazakhstan nuclear weapons-related materials or other radioactive materials that could be used to build a radiological weapon.
During a conference held earlier this month at Harvard University in Boston, Togzhan Kassenova of the Institute for Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom cited a 1992 study conducted in Kazakhstan that compiled an inventory of about 100,000 registered radioactive sources, which were used during the Soviet era for medical and industrial purposes. Currently, however, only about half of those sources are still registered, she said (see GSN, Oct. 6).