Kazakhstan plans first nuclear plant in 50 years

By Mike Hayes25 January 2022

Rosatom in talks with government over construction of large-scale facility

The government of Kazakhstan is currently in talks with Russia’s nuclear energy company Rosatom, regarding the construction of a large-scale nuclear power plant.

Courtesy Adobe Stock Images

The facility would be the first to be built in Kazakhstan for almost 50 years, and would also be the country’s only operational nuclear plant, following the permanent closure of the reactor at Aktau in 1999.

Coal-fired power plants currently generate some 70% of Kazakhstan’s power and the chairman of Kazakhstan’s agency for strategic planning and reforms, Kairat Kelimbetov, said it will be impossible for the country to meet its target of a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, without commissioning a large-capacity nuclear plant.

Russian news agency Sputnik recently reported that the Kazakhstan government is keen to build the plant in Ulken, a village originally founded to house workers for a power plant that was cancelled following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Almasadam Satkaliyev, chairman of Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, said it was currently considering proposals for reactor technologies from Chinese French and Russian companies.

Additionally, the government is said to be exploring the feasibility of deploying a number of small modular reactors, to help the country’s drive to carbon neutrality by 2060.

Satkaliyev said several factors would be taken into account before making a decision on the technology vendor, including best practices for the operation of reactors and “the possibility of fuel localisation in Kazakhstan”.

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