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Iran's excess uranium may be stored in Kazakhstan

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Image 0Excess stockpiles of low enriched uranium of Iran can be stored in the international nuclear bank that is currently being set up on the territory of Kazakhstan, Tengrinewsreports citing Russian RIA Novosti that quotes Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Ryabko.

The agreement on Iran's nuclear activities was finally reached in Vienna in mid-July. Iran agreed to reduce the number of uranium stockpiles and centrifuges in return for lifting of Western embargo that had crippled its economy for years.

Moreover, under the 109-page agreement, Iran is subject to a thorough inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency that will be checking Iran's compliance with the terms of the agreement. In case any violations are detected, the sanctions would be brought back again.

Under the agreement, Iran's current stockpile of low enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent. And according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabko, the excess uranium, which Iran is not allowed to keep, might be delivered to Kazakhstan to store it at the Ulba Metallurgy Plant that will host the international nuclear bank.

"The decision was made to deliver the excess uranium, which is around eight metric tons, to Russia in return for natural uranium," Ryabkov said.

When speaking about the further use of the low enriched uranium received from Iran, he said that they considered "the IAEA bank in Kazakhstan, the agreement they are going to sign soon, at different stages" as a future storage for Iran's uranium. "I cannot admit that this option is the first one, but we do not exclude it," he said.

The nuclear fuel bank basically provides countries with access to low-enriched uranium, so that they do not have to build enrichment facilities of their own, and thus reduces the risk of any such facilities being used not only for peaceful purposes, but also to build a nuclear weapon.

The bank in Kazakhstan is going to be capable of holding around 90 metric tonnes of low-enriched uranium, which is enough to run a 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor.

The bank will purchase uranium through an open tender and will start its work in 2017. Its stockpiles can also be used in case of a commercial supply disruption.


August 18 2015, 10:12

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