The co-chairs of the U.S.-Kazakhstan Energy Partnership announced today the completion of a large-scale campaign to safely shut down Kazakhstan’s BN-350 plutonium production reactor, secure the spent fuel it produced, and then package and transport the spent fuel to a new secure storage facility. These activities were conducted in accordance with U.S.-Kazakhstan Presidential Joint Statements in 2006 and 2010. At the new long-term storage facility, the BN-350 spent fuel will continue to be under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
Hundreds of Kazakh and U.S. scientists, engineers, and safety, security and transportation experts have been part of this effort. Over the course of 12 shipments during the last year, the spent fuel was transported over 3,000 kilometers from Aktau, near the Caspian Sea, to Eastern Kazakhstan in specially designed dual-use transportation and storage casks. Throughout the complicated process, the U.S. and Kazakhstani experts maintained the highest standards of safety and security. The United Kingdom also contributed to the later stages of the project.
To prevent the extreme threat of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States is working with its partners around the world to secure vulnerable nuclear material by the end of 2013. The leaders from forty-seven countries and three international organizations reaffirmed these goals at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit this past April in Washington. President Nazarbayev and the Government of Kazakhstan have been strong partners in the effort.
The participants of the Energy Partnership recognized that the United States and Kazakhstan worked closely together to ensure the completion of the BN-350 spent fuel program in 2010 to support the accelerated goal to secure nuclear materials. The completion of this program is one of the many highlights of the 15-year track record of strategic partnership and close cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United States in reducing nuclear threats in Kazakhstan and around the world.
The U.S. co-chair noted the leadership of President Nazarbayev and the the contribution of Kazakhstan to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Both co-chairs agreed to continue to intensify their bilateral partnership and promote international cooperation to promote nuclear safety and nonproliferation.
SIGNED at Washington, in duplicate, on November 16, 2010, in the English and Russian languages.
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
FOR THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN:
For a PDF version of the signed joint statement, please click here.