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Kazakhstan has begun to investigate the deployment of small reactors with a memorandum of cooperation signed between NuScale and Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants (KNPP), a branch of the government's Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund.

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan's capital (Andy_Bay - Pixabay)

“Kazakhstan has set the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060," said KNPP CEO Timur Zhantikin. "To solve this difficult task, carbon-free sources such as nuclear power along with renewable energy are to be considered. Small modular reactors are the most promising for Kazakhstan, and we consider the cooperation of KNPP with NuScale Power as a real opportunity to develop this direction and achieve the set goal of the country's transition to a green economy.”

NuScale said the agreement will see the companies share technical expertise as they "examine the value NuScale's small modular reactor technology could bring to the country." NuScale will support KNPP to evaluate its technology, "including nuclear power plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work." In 2019, NuScale submitted a 'technical and price offer' to KNPP and the vendor said the new work would continue its relationship.

In September, Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced as part of a national address that Samruk-Kazya would begin exploring the use of nuclear energy. He said it would "explore the possibility of developing safe and environmentally friendly nuclear energy in Kazakhstan" and that it would be done "as rationally as possible, without speculation and emotions."

Kazakhstan has 12% of the world's uranium resources and is the world's largest producer. A Russian-designed BN-350 sodium-cooled fast reactor operated near Aktau in Kazakhstan for 26 years until 1999, generating electricity and desalinating water. The question of nuclear power in Kazakhstan has been discussed for many years, with both large and small reactors included in various draft energy plans over the last decade.

NuScale VOYGR plants are also being considered in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Ukraine, and the first is planned for construction as the Carbon Free Power Project at the USA's Idaho National Laboratory.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 18 December 2021
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