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Committee on Atomic Energy

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Created by Presidential Decree in May 1992, the Committee on Atomic Energy is the organization responsible for regulation of all aspects of the nuclear industry in Kazakhstan. 1 Formerly the Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Agency (KAEA), the Committee changed its name on 18 August 1999. 2 It is responsible for “implementing the nuclear nonproliferation regime” in Kazakhstan, and is the government body that is responsible for interaction with the IAEA. The primary functions of the Committee are as follows: regulation of all aspects of the use of nuclear energy, including licensing activities in the sphere of nuclear energy and inspections to ensure compliance with nuclear safety regulations; state control and accounting of nuclear materials; control of the export and import of nuclear materials and technologies, special non-nuclear materials, and dual-use materials to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons; accident readiness, and organization of physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities. 3

KAEA came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science and New Technologies in October 1995, and became subordinate to the Ministry of Science-Academy of Sciences under the terms of an 11 March 1996 presidential decree. In January 1999, the Ministry of Sciences-Academy of Sciences became the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Following the cabinet reorganization of 13 October 1999, oversight of the Committee on Atomic Energy was transferred from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Trade. 4 The Committee was subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources in December 2000. 5


The Kazakhstan State Corporation for Atomic Power and Industry (KATEP) was formerly responsible for Kazakhstan’s entire nuclear industry. With the creation of Kazatomprom its status and responsibilities were dramatically reduced. Although KATEP maintains some measure of independence, it is formally subordinate to Kazatomprom. Almost all of the responsibilities that previously belonged to KATEP (for example, uranium mining and milling, nuclear fuel production, etc.) now belong to Kazatomprom. KATEP is responsible only for commercial nuclear power reactors, including the BN-350 fast-breeder reactor in Aktau, and the proposed South Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plant. 6


According to a decree issued by President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 14 July 1997, the government of Kazakhstan created the Nuclear Power and Industrial Complex of Kazakhstan (Kazatomprom), a closed joint stock company, 100% owned by the government. The decree charged Kazatomprom with managing the government’s stake in companies and state enterprises involved in uranium mining and milling and the production of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants. Under the terms of the decree, Kazatomprom is the national company for exporting and importing uranium and its compounds, nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, special equipment and technology, and dual-use materials. Kazatomprom also approves regulations in these areas. 7 Kazatomprom is responsible for issuing licenses to manage the Moinkum, Uvanas, Kanzhugan, North and South Karamurun, Irkol, Kharasan, Budennovskoye, and Mynkuduk (Akdala and Vostochnyy sections) uranium deposits. 8 As of January 2000, Kazatomprom owned 90% of Volkovgeologiya, 90% of the Ulba Metallurgy Plant, and the No. 6 Mining Directorate, Stepnoye and Tsentralnoye mining directorates. 9 It also holds a 40% share in the Inkai Joint Venture with Cameco and a 29% share in the Katko Joint Venture with Cogema and others. 10 Kazatomprom President Dzhakishev announced the company’s intentions to sell a 67% staketo a strategic investor, possibly Nukem, Cogema, or Cameco. 11 Kazakhstani National Securities Commission Chairman Azamat Dzholdasbekov, however, has proposed that up to one third of Kazatomprom’s shares be sold in small packages and to the largest possible number of investors. 12


Nonproliferation: Measures to prevent the spread of biological, chemical, and/or nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. See entry for Proliferation.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
IAEA: Founded in 1957 and based in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA is an autonomous international organization in the United Nations system. The Agency’s mandate is the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, technical assistance in this area, and verification that nuclear materials and technology stay in peaceful use. Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires non-nuclear weapon states party to the NPT to accept safeguards administered by the IAEA. The IAEA consists of three principal organs: the General Conference (of member states); the Board of Governors; and the Secretariat. For additional information, see the IAEA.
Nuclear energy
Nuclear energy: The energy liberated by a nuclear reaction (fission or fusion), or by radioactive decay.
Nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon: A device that releases nuclear energy in an explosive manner as the result of nuclear chain reactions involving fission, or fission and fusion, of atomic nuclei. Such weapons are also sometimes referred to as atomic bombs (a fission-based weapon); or boosted fission weapons (a fission-based weapon deriving a slightly higher yield from a small fusion reaction); or hydrogen bombs/thermonuclear weapons (a weapon deriving a significant portion of its energy from fusion reactions).
Uranium is a metal with the atomic number 92. See entries for enriched uranium, low enriched uranium, and highly enriched uranium.
Nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor: A vessel in which nuclear fission may be sustained and controlled in a chain nuclear reaction. The varieties are many, but all incorporate certain features, including: fissionable or fissile fuel; a moderating material (unless the reactor is operated on fast neutrons); a reflector to conserve escaping neutrons; provisions of removal of heat; measuring and controlling instruments; and protective devices.


  1. “Statute on the Atomic Energy Agency of the Ministry of Sciences – Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” Government Resolution No. 1182, 28 July 1997.
  2. Communication from CNS NIS Representative Office, 1 September 1999.
  3. “Statute on the Atomic Energy Agency of the Ministry of Sciences – Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” Government Resolution No. 1182, 28 July 1997.
  4. “Investment Report of Central Asia and Caucasus for 11-17 October 1999,” Interfax, Vol. 2, Issue 40; in “Central Asia Investment Report 11 October 1999,” FBIS Document FTS19991019000363.
  5. NISNP Correspondence with NIS Representative Office, 1 February 2001, KAZ010201.
  6. Discussions with Kazakhstani specialists, April 1999.
  7. Kazakh Khabar Television, 14 July 1997; in “Kazakhstan: President Issues Decree on National Uranium Company,” FBIS-SOV-97-199. “Ukaz Prezidenta Respubliki Kazakhstan. O sozdanii natsionalnoy atomnoy kompanii Kazatomprom,” Kazakhstanskaya pravda, 16 July 1997, p. 1.
  8. “Is Everything All Right in our ‘Nuclear Empire?’” Ekspress, 28 January 1997, p. 4; “Kazakhstan: Article Views ‘Crisis,’ Nuclear Industry,” FBIS-SOV-97-024.
  9. “Kazatomprom poluchil kredit nemetskogo banka v razmere $25 mln,” Interfax-Kazakhstan, 19 January 2000.
  10. Paul Carroll, “The Reconstruction of the Uranium Industry in Kazakhstan,” presentation at the Uranium Institute’s Twenty Second Annual International Symposium, 1997, Uranium Institute Website, www.uilondon.org; “Cameco/Kazatomprom to Assess Potential of Kazakhstan Uranium Project,” Cameco, www.cameco.com, 21 July 2000; “Joint uranium processing projects in Kazakhstan worth over $600 million,” Interfax CIS Daily News Brief, Volume II, Issue 100 (122), 1 June 2000.
  11. Ekonomika i biznes,” Ekho Moskvy Radio Station, 10 January 2001; in “Natsionalnaya atomnaya kompaniya Kazakhstana Kazatomprom budet privatizirovana,” Integrum Techno, www.integrum.com.
  12. “Kazakh Official Proposes Selling Stake in Strategic Companies,” RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 5, No. 28, Part I, 9 February 2001.


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