Nuclear Disarmament Kazakhstan

NPT Non-Nuclear Weapon State
Formerly Possessed Nuclear Weapons


Igor Kurchatov Monument
(Developer of nuclear weapons),
www.rian.ru

Arsenal Size

  • Kazakhstan possesses no nuclear weapons. [1]
  • Kazakhstan formerly had 1,410 Soviet strategic nuclear warheads placed on its territory and an undisclosed number of tactical nuclear weapons. [2]
  • One of the Soviet Union's two major nuclear test sites was located at Semipalatinsk, where at least 460 nuclear tests took place. [3]

Estimated Destructive Force

  • N/A

Progress in Disarmament

  • Kazakhstan transferred all of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation by April 1995. [4]
  • As part of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program the United States assisted Kazakhstan in removing 1,322 lbs of HEU from the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk. [5] The United States paid Kazakhstan $25 million for the HEU transfer. [6]
  • An IAEA-controlled LEU nuclear fuel bank is under construction at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant and should be completed by September 2017. [7]
  • The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was officially closed in 1991. [8]
  • From 1995 to 2001, as part of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the United States assisted Kazakhstan sealing 13 bore holes and 181 tunnels at the test site. [9]
  • Kazakhstan initiated a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an International Day Against Nuclear Tests, inaugurated in 2010, in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). [10]

Security risks, increasingly scrutinized after 9/11, revealed the possibility of scavengers accessing plutonium in the sealed bore holes and tunnels at the site. Between 2001 and 2012 scavengers came within yards of the unguarded fissile material, although there is no indication that any plutonium was removed. [11] October 2012 marked the ceremonial end of the 17-year operation to secure the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. [12]


Kurchatov City, center of the
Semipalatinsk nuclear test site,
www.rian.ru

Nuclear Weapon Related Policy [13]

  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
  • Ratified the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) [14]
  • Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
  • START I (the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)
  • Ratified the Lisbon Protocol to START I. [15]
  • Ratified the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. [16]
  • Signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) [17] Kazakhstan is the only Soviet successor state to have signed the TPNW. [18]

Sources:
[1] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, (Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), p. 368.
[2] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, (Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), p. 365.
[3] "The Soviet Union's Nuclear Testing Programme," Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), www.ctbto.org.
[4] Tom Collina, "The Lisbon Protocol at a Glance," Arms Control Association, July 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[5] IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, "Statement to Conference for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World," Astana, 12 October 2011, www.iaea.org; "Semipalatinsk Revisited: Old Nuclear Test Site Sets New Course," International Atomic Energy Agency, 31 August 2006, www.iaea.org.
[6] "STS Nuclear Infrastructure Elimination and Conversion," National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan, https://old.nnc.kz.
[7] "IAEA fuel 'bank' on target for September 2017 launch," World Nuclear News, 2 June 2016, www.world-nuclear-news.org; "Amano highlights IAEA efforts to bolster safety," World Nuclear News, 7 March 2017, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[8] "Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes: Kazakhstan," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, updated 18 November 2011, www.nonproliferation.org.
[9] NWFZ Clearinghouse, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, www.nonproliferation.org.
[10] "Kazakhstan Statement at the 2015 NPT Review Conference," Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2015 NPT Review Conference, 27 April 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org: "International Day Against Nuclear Tests," United Nations, accessed 13 July 2015, www.un.org.
[11] Eben Harrell and David E. Hoffman, "Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing," Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, 15 August 2013, www.belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu.
[12] Eben Harrell and David E. Hoffman, "Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing," Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, 15 August 2013, www.belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu.
[13] "Country Profiles: Kazakhstan," Reaching Critical Will, accessed 13 July 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[14] "Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water," United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, accessed 8 July 2015, www.disarmament.un.org.
[15] "The Lisbon Protocol at a Glance," Arms Control Association, March 2014, www.armscontrol.org.
[16] "Kazakhstan Statement at the 2015 NPT Review Conference," Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2015 NPT Review Conference, 27 April 2015, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[17] "Positions on the Treaty," International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 7 July 2017, www.icanw.org.
[18] "Signature/Ratification Status of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons," International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 20 September 2017, www.icanw.org

January 2, 2019
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The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.