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 in Ulba in northern Kazakhstan 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.”