Kazakhstan removes U.S. from list of potential nuclear tech providers, says Energy Minister

Kazakhstan is not considering the experience of the U.S. in the construction of nuclear power plants, Kazakh Energy Minister Bolat Akchulakov said during a press briefing. There are a few different technologies that could be potentially suitable for Kazakhstan, he added. But the final decision has not been made yet. Research on safety and seismic issues is currently underway. The site was chosen in Ulken village near Balkhash.

“Earlier we said that we were choosing the proper technology. We haven’t chosen one yet. We visited Turkey, France, South Korea and also the UAE last year. Now we are heading towards the Hungarian objects. All those stations were built using different technologies. We have not chosen yet the one we would use, because we need to weigh all the pros and cons of the technologies in the abovementioned countries,” said Akchulakov.

The head of the ministry also shared plans to train highly skilled specialists for the operation of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan. Employees should have specialized knowledge in nuclear physics, he claimed. Therefore, in the first years of launch, it would be necessary to resort to foreign experts.

“A nuclear power plant is not just an equipment that can be bought and installed at home or anywhere else. Not only its construction, but also the use of equipment is considered one of the most important stages of work. Safe use primarily depends on the employees. These should be experienced people. Unfortunately, there is no such nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan, so we lack trained personnel. For example, one station that we are planning to launch will need about 2,000 full-time employees,” Akchulakov added.