Dauren Aben in his seminar on the topic of the “Development of Nuclear Power in Kazakhstan: Pros and Cons” provided general information concerning a nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan, cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia in the nuclear field, and arguments presented by the proponents and the opponents of the development of the nuclear power in Kazakhstan. He stated that the idea of establishing the nuclear fuel bank would discourage attempts of the other countries to develop a nuclear power. Aben gave brief technical information on the nuclear fuel bank, saying that it is not a fuel bank but rather a low enriched (5%) uranium bank. Adding to that, he stated that among the reasons for establishment of the nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan, it also has a strong non-proliferation profile, an appropriate infrastructure and that Kazakhstan has proposed to establish a nuclear fuel bank on its premises.
Aben stated that there have been a number of discussions and collaborations with Russia in the nuclear field since early 1990s, but only after 2006 concrete joint ventures were proposed. However, these projects have been delayed due to disagreements between Kazakhstan and Russia on property rights, financing and price issues.
Furthermore, he mentioned the benefits and the losses related to the development of the nuclear power in Kazakhstan: Aben highlighted an opportunity to strengthen country’s reputation and the country’s role in global affairs as a benefit, and underlined the security concerns and potential environmental hazards as losses. He pointed out the arguments of the proponents and the opponents of the nuclear power development in Kazakhstan. He stated that the most important argument that has been put forward by the supporters of the development of the nuclear energy is the energy security and the reduction of the energy costs. On the other hand, the opponents of the development argue that the nuclear energy is not cost effective, there is a lack of testing of the Russian submarine reactors onshore, and that there is an absence of sufficient water supply and appropriate land in Kazakhstan for nuclear power plants.
At the end of the seminar, participants exchanged views on various issues regarding the topic.