Thursday, 17 March 2011

Kazakhstan plans to carry on with its nuclear programme

Kazakhstan's Vice Minister of Industry and New Technology Duisenbai Turganov told a conference in Astana that the government believes that the “construction of a nuclear power plant should take place” irrespective of the ongoing crisis in Japan.

Turganov added: “We hold the world's second-largest uranium reserves, and we are in front of everyone in terms of production. Allah himself has commanded us to engage in this industry." He said the events in Japan “have given rise to radiophobia," and confirmed Khazakhstan's plans to build a nuclear power plant, but noted: "It goes without saying that there must be a thorough selection of projects and significant attention must be paid to security."

Kazakhstan signed an agreement with three Japanese companies – Toshiba, Marubeni and Japco – last September to build a new plant. The programme is still in its early stages, and the location of the plant and other details are yet to be announced. The country holds more than 15 per cent of global uranium reserves; Australia is the only other country to hold more uranium in the ground.

Sources: The Daily Telegraph, Reuters, Bloomberg

For more news and expert analysis about the Caspian region, please see Caspian Focus.

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