LEU fuel bank in Kazakhstan is inaugurated

On September 29, 2017 the International Atomic Energy Agency officially inaugurated the IAEA LEU bank in Kazakhstan. The opening ceremony in Astana was attended by the IAEA Secretary General and the President of Kazakhstan.

The plan to create the bank was approved by the IAEA in December 2010. Core funding for this project, promoted by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) was provided by Warren Buffett, who contributed $50 million on the condition that IAEA member states provide $100 million in matching funds. The funds were provided by by Norway ($5 million), the United States ($50 million), the United Arab Emirates ($10 million), the European Union (€25 million or $32 million), and Kuwait ($10 million).

In 2012 Kazakhstan offered the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen (formerly Ust-Kamenogorsk) as the site for the LEU bank. An agreement between Kazakhstan and the IAEA was signed in August 2015.

The IAEA LEU bank will store up to 90 tons of LEU in the form of uranium hexafluoride. The IAEA bank will join two national guaranteed fuel supply arrangements - the LEU reserve in Angarsk maintained by Russia and the American Assured Fuel Supply, established by the United States.