Kazakhstan to establish first nuclear power plant in 12 years

By Aynur Jafarova

Kazakhstan with 0.85 million tons of uranium reserves will construct its first nuclear power plant after a comprehensive research, the country’s Energy Ministry told Trend Agency.

The feasibility study is expected to take about 2 years and the construction works at least 10 years.

The ministry said Kazakhstan will take advantages of foreign experiences while constructing the power plant.

“Necessary works include choosing a site, design, construction works, production, installation of equipment and commissioning of the plant. Moreover, the infrastructure should be developed, and trainings for the staff should be carried out accordingly,” the ministry noted.

Earlier the construction of Kazakhstan’s first nuclear power plant was expected to start in 2018. Meanwhile, nuclear power generation was supposed to begin in 2023-2024.

The ministry also said Kazakhstan has chosen two preliminary sites for future nuclear power plant. These sites are located in the town of Kurchatov in East Kazakhstan region (on the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site) and the area near the Balkhash Lake in Almaty region.

“The government will make final decision on the site for nuclear power plant based on the results of feasibility studies which would be developed for both regions,” the ministry said.

This comes as no decision has been made yet on the type of reactor for future nuclear power plant.

“Currently Kazakhstan examines the data on design and operational characteristics of the reactors of different international companies in order to determine the reactor technologies which are most appropriate for the country,” the ministry said.

Earlier Deputy Energy Minister Bahytzhan Dzhaksaliyev said Kazakhstan will build two power plants.

"We will make our final decision on the construction of the two nuclear power plants with the help of international experts within 2-3 years, and works in this regard will continue," he said.

Being the world's biggest uranium producer since 2009, Kazakhstan produced 22,500 metric tons of uranium in 2013. All the uranium produced in Kazakhstan is exported, particularly to China and Europe.