By Sara Rajabova
Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom intends to build Kazakhstan’s first nuclear plant.
Rosatom expects before July 2015 to sign an agreement with Kazakhstan on the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant, Novosti-Kazakhstan reported citing Vitaly Ryabov, Rosatom’s representative in Kazakhstan.
The sides are currently finalizing the details of the agreement, Ryabov said at the opening of the International Exhibition KazAtomExpo-2015 in Astana on April 7.
Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom signed a draft agreement for the construction and operation of the first commercial nuclear power station in Kazakhstan last September.
Rosatom said the draft agreement allows for a “pre-contract period” for the partners to study the technical, financial and economic aspects of the project.
Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry said earlier that power generation at Kazakhstan’s first nuclear power plant is expected after 2025.
“Construction of a nuclear power plant takes 10-12 years, which include selection of the power plant’s location, design works, construction, installation and adjustment of equipment, and the plant’s commissioning. It is also necessary to carry out work to develop infrastructure, train personnel, and create the normative and technical basis. Thus, power generation at Kazakhstan’s first nuclear power plant is expected after 2025,” the ministry said.
The town of Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan province and the village of Ulken in the Almaty province were named the most suitable locations for building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan, according to the Energy Ministry.
Earlier this year, Toshiba Corp. said it might export a reactor for a new nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan. Such deal would be the first of its kind since Japan never exported a nuclear reactor to a former Soviet republic before.
Toshiba and Kazakhstan’s state-run nuclear power company Kazatomprom held negotiations in late December, at which point the two sides agreed on an order to be fulfilled by the Japanese manufacturer.
Toshiba will export an AP-1000 advanced pressurized light water reactor produced by U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co., with a generating capacity around the level of one million kilowatts. The order’s expected value is ¥400 billion ($3.36 million) to ¥500 billion ($4.2 million).
Kazakhstan has decided to build nuclear power plants and develop domestic production of nuclear fuel for them based on the fact that the country is a world leader in uranium production.
Kazakhstan was the world’s leading producer of uranium in 2011 and has around 15 percent of the world’s uranium resources. Uranium is needed to make fuel for nuclear reactors, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Given the current electricity deficit and in view of preventing power shortage in the future, the Kazakh government has chosen the city of Kurchatov - east of the country - to become home for the new nuclear plant.