With the support of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Kazakhstan in May 2017 opened a new center to provide training to its nuclear facility personnel. The center, at a site adjacent to Kazakhstan’s Institute of Nuclear Physics, will train personnel from local, regional and international nuclear facilities in physical protection systems, nuclear material accounting and control systems, response forces and secure transportation.
The NNSA will continue to assist with management and operations plans, as well as training for the center’s staff in curriculum development and delivery. Since Kazakhstan announced its intention to establish the center in 2012, the NNSA has lent its expertise to the design and construction of the center.
“This training center demonstrates the Republic of Kazakhstan’s commitment to nuclear security,” said David Huizenga, NNSA acting deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation. “Further, it highlights how nations working together can enhance nuclear security worldwide.”
Though Kazakhstan does not operate a nuclear power plant, it does operate research reactors and is the world’s leading producer of uranium. With its current production of nuclear fuel pellets — and its plans to further develop its fuel cycle activities — Kazakhstan will by the end of 2017 host the low-enriched uranium fuel “bank” on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“All this wealth carries the risks of sabotage and information leakage, which can occur even without breaking into the building,” said Petr Chakrov, deputy director of the Institute of Nuclear Physics. “To implement security measures, we need specialists and training systems.”
The center’s opening ceremony was attended by Gumar Sergazin, deputy chair of the Kazakh Ministry of Energy’s Committee for Nuclear and Energy Supervision and Monitoring, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol and other American officials.
Sources: World Nuclear News, National Nuclear