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IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank Becomes Operational in Kazakhstan, “Historic Achievement” for NTI-Backed Initiative

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WASHINGTON, DC,
Oct. 17, 2019 – 
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced
today
that its new low enriched uranium (LEU) bank is now
operational, with the delivery of LEU to the IAEA facility in Kazakhstan. The
LEU Bank will provide countries investing in nuclear power an assured supply of
fuel to use for peaceful purposes without incurring the significant costs of
building their own enrichment facilities and without adding to global proliferation
risks.

“This is a historic achievement for the
IAEA and the government of Kazakhstan, and I am grateful for the hard work and
perseverance needed to make this Bank a reality,” said NTI Co-Chair and CEO
Ernest J. Moniz. “I am sorry that Director General Amano is not here to see
this key part of his legacy come to fruition.”

The Bank, jump-started by NTI in 2006 with
an investment of $50 million from Warren Buffett and with the strong support of
then-IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, is owned and managed by the IAEA,
and is the first of its kind not to be under control of any individual country.

“The Bank will play an important role
in reducing nuclear dangers and serves as a vivid example of the benefits of
international cooperation,” said NTI Co-Chair Sam Nunn. “We are thankful to
Warren Buffett for his vision, generosity and patience.”

Inspired by NTI and Mr. Buffett’s
investment, the bank, which functions as a backup to the commercial market, is
made possible through the leadership of the IAEA, the government of Kazakhstan,
and an additional $100 million in support from the more than two dozen
countries in the European Union and the governments of Kuwait, Norway, the
United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

The IAEA has reported that dozens of
countries are interested in pursuing nuclear energy. Because the same
enrichment technology that produces fuel for a nuclear reactor can also produce
the material for a nuclear bomb, the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons
would grow significantly if every country interested in nuclear power also
pursued its own enrichment capabilities.

NTI team members who also played integral
roles in creating and supporting the IAEA LEU Bank project include NTI
President Emeritus Charles B. Curtis and Vice Presidents Corey Hinderstein and
Laura Holgate. 

To learn more about the LEU bank, click here

###

 

CONTACT:  Cathy Gwin, [email protected], 202-454-7706

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