September 25, 2008

Kazakhstan’s First Npp to Be Built in Mangistau Region

ASTANA. Sept 25 (Interfax) - The first-ever nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan will be located in the western Mangistau region, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in the regional administrative center of Aktau on Wednesday.

"Intensive development of our economy requires new energy resources. The government and Kazatomprom are preparing on my instruction and in cooperation with Russian colleagues to build a nuclear power plant in your region. It is very important to complete the project on time. We cannot rely entirely on gas," the Khabar news channel cited the president as saying.

The president declared the decision to build the first Kazakh nuclear power plant in the Mangistau region in his address to the nation this February. "It is necessary to make detailed proposals on the construction of the nuclear power plant in the city of Aktau," he said.

The feasibility study will be ready in 2009. According to the latest official statements, the nuclear power plant will be built ten kilometers away from Aktau, close to the 2nd and 3rd thermal power plants. A fast-neutron reactor, BN-350, was started up in that area at the MAEK plant. The reactor has been decommissioned, and its fuel is being disposed of.

The possibility to install water-cooled water-moderated reactors of the VBER-300 series made in Russia and Europe is under consideration, earlier reports said. The Atomnye Stantsii (Nuclear Power Plants) joint venture formed by Russia and Kazakhstan in the middle of last October is designing and promoting the new reactors in Russia, Kazakhstan and third countries. VBER components have been tested by Soviet warships. Reactors of the kind installed in Soviet military ships had over 6,000 reactor/years of safe operation. The reactor has a medium rated capacity.

The possibility of building a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan has been discussed for several years. The government first announced that possibility in 1998. It was said then that the nuclear power plant would be built close to the Balkhash Lake. The public was not enthusiastic about the idea, and the government changed its plans.

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