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The Human Dimension to Kazakhstan’s Plutonium Mountain

April 24, 2023, Sig Hecker

The following is an excerpt from the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

As we drove deeper into the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, we found kilometer-long trenches that were clearly the work of professional thieves using industrial earth-moving equipment, rather than hand-dug trenches made by nomad copper-cable-searching amateurs on camelback. Our Kazakh hosts said they could do nothing to stop these operations. In fact, they weren’t sure they had a legal right to stop them from “prospecting” on the site.

It was the sight of these trenches that urged me to convince the three governments that they must cooperate to prevent the theft of nuclear materials and equipment left behind when the Soviets exited the test site in a hurry as their country collapsed.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, the most urgent threat to the rest of the world was no longer the immense nuclear arsenal in the hands of the Russian government but rather the possibility of its nuclear assets—weapons, materials, facilities, and experts—getting out of the hands of the government. As director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, I helped to initiate the US–Russia lab-to-lab nuclear cooperative program in 1992 to mitigate these nuclear threats.

The trilateral US–Russia–Kazakhstan cooperation began in 1999 to secure fissile materials that were left behind by the Soviets at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, which was now in the newly independent country of Kazakhstan. The project was kept in confidence until the presidents of the three countries announced it at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in 2012

In Doomed to Cooperate, individuals from the three countries recount their cooperative efforts at Semipalatinsk. Unlike the US–Kazakhstan projects initiated earlier on nuclear test tunnel closures, identifying experiments that left weapons-usable fissile materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium) at the huge test site—whether in the field, in tunnels, or in containment vessels—required trilateral cooperation. The Russian scientists who conducted these experiments were the only ones who knew what was done and where. It required American nuclear scientists who conducted similar tests in the United States to assess how great a proliferation danger the fissile materials in their current state may constitute. And it required Kazakh scientists and engineers to take measures to remediate the dangers. The project also required the political support of all three countries and the financial support of the American government because it was the only one at the time with the financial means. That support came from the US Cooperative Threat Reduction (or Nunn-Lugar) program.

Continue reading at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.


April 26, 2023 Posted by | - plutonium, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Commemorate August 29: International Day against Nuclear Tests 

Jerusalem Post, By IVO SLAUS, AUGUST 29, 2022, At the initiative of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the UN declared August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests, universally adopted in 2009. While many of those discussing the possible use of nuclear weapons, including Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), Tactical Nuclear Weapons, and Nuclear Utilization Target Selection (NUTS), and are modernizing and “improving” their nuclear capacity, most of them know almost nothing about nuclear warfare and its consequences for humankind.

In contrast, the people of Kazakhstan and their leaders have witnessed many nuclear tests carried out at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site for 40 years (1949-1989). From Pervaya Molniya (first lightning) on August 29, 1949, there were 456 tests at Semipalatinsk, 340 underground, and 116 above ground. Kazakhstan and its 1.5 million citizens have suffered from all the negative consequences of nuclear tests. Early death, lifelong debilitating illnesses, and horrific birth defects, including “jelly babies” – children born without limbs. 

With good reason, Kazakhstan signed and ratified the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and was among the original 50 states party to the treaty. On its independence day, Kazakhstan inherited 1,400 Soviet nuclear warheads, and quickly relinquished them, emphasizing that security is better achieved through disarmament and negotiation.

Kazakhstan also initiated a global moment of silence to honor all victims of nuclear weapons testing – at 11:05 Kazakhstan time on August 29. At 11:05 a.m. the clock shows V, standing for victory. 

The elimination of nuclear weapons is truly a victory for humankind. On July 9, 1955, the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, signed by 11 outstanding scientists, was issued stressing, “Here is the problem we present to you, stark, dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race or shall mankind renounce war?… Remember your humanity and forget the rest!”

………………………..  we were never as close to doomsday as we are today. Expressed by the doomsday clock, introduced in 1947 and put at seven minutes to midnight, which symbolizes the human-made catastrophe, the doomsday clock since 2020 is at 100 seconds and most likely will deteriorate. The recent conflicts in Europe and Asia will probably abbreviate it further………………………more

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan FM calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2045

Kazakhstan FM calls for elimination of all nuclear weapons by 2045, 19.06.2022

The world is now in crisis, the risk of using nuclear weapons is very high, and what is happening in Ukraine and mutual threats are prompting a ban and elimination of nuclear warheads. This statement by Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi was published on the ministry’s official Telegram channel on the eve of the first meeting of states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will be held next week in Vienna, BB-CNTV reported.

“The current military conflict on the territory of Ukraine, talk about the return of nuclear weapons and mutual threats to use nuclear weapons make us, more than ever before, think about the collective vulnerability of humanity and the urgent need to ban and eliminate these deadly weapons,” the minister said.

He called on all countries of the world to develop a phased plan that would allow the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the UN centenary—by 2045. According to Tleuberdi, the corresponding agreements could be reflected in the final documents of the first conference of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Minister referred to the data of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who earlier said that about 13,400 nuclear warheads are now dispersed around the world, and the threat of their use has become “more real than in the darkest days of the Cold War.”

“Kazakhstan’s practical contribution to nuclear disarmament gives the moral right to continue calling on peoples and governments to redouble their efforts to rid our planet of the threat of nuclear self-destruction,” Tleuberdi stressed.

Having inherited a significant part of its nuclear arsenal after the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the position of a nuclear power and in 1993 joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) with the status of a state that does not possess nuclear weapons.

The Treaty was developed in support of the NPT and fully complements its current importance in strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, the peaceful use of atomic energy and, in general, ensuring international security, the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry specified.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force in January 2021.

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as New Instrument in Nuclear Disarmament Process

It should also be emphasized that the TPNW is gaining global popularity thanks to the efforts of civil society, which encourages governments and parliamentarians of their respective countries to accede to the Treaty. Kazakhstan welcomes the decision of several European countries (Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland), including the declared intention of NATO members (Germany and Norway), to participate as observers in the First Conference of the States Parties to the TPNW.

Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as New Instrument in Nuclear Disarmament Process, June 17, 2022, By Mukhtar Tileuberdi

On June 21–23, Vienna will host a historic event in the field of nuclear disarmament – the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The entry into force of this treaty in January 2021 became a long-awaited signal that demonstrated the determination of the UN member states to take concrete measures to outlaw nuclear weapons.

This was a significant moment for Kazakhstan, which in the past experienced detrimental consequences of nuclear tests. As President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted in his speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, “today Kazakhstan is an example and a role model for the whole world as a responsible state that voluntarily abandoned its nuclear-missile arsenal and closed the world’s largest nuclear test site.”

For half a century, our land suffered atmospheric, ground, and underground tests. This impacted the health of about 1.5 million Kazakhs living near the test site with an area of more than 18,000 square kilometres. The consequences of radiation are felt to this day.

On the initiative of Kazakhstan, the closing date of the Semipalatinsk test site – August 29 – was declared in 2009 by the UN General Assembly the International Day against Nuclear Tests. Emphasizing the symbolism of this date, in 2019 Kazakhstan submitted to the UN Secretariat an instrument for ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Kazakhstan voluntarily abandoned the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world, which it inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 1993 joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a state that does not possess nuclear weapons. Let me note, that the TPNW was developed in support of the NPT and fully complements its objective of strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the peaceful use of atomic energy and wider international security.

In fact, TPNW reflects the dissatisfaction of most UN member states with the disregard by nuclear countries of their obligations on nuclear disarmament, enshrined in several international treaties and documents, including Article VI of the NPT. For this reason, we believe that the treaty should be mentioned in the Final Document of the forthcoming NPT Review Conference in August 2022.

The Treaty establishes several mandatory legal initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament. For example, nuclear weapons are considered illegal for the first time in human history. Secondly, the production, testing, acquisition, transfer, storage and deployment of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use of threats to use them, are prohibited.

A nuclear-weapon country can join the TPNW if it agrees to destroy its nuclear weapons in accordance with legally binding, verifiable, time-specific plans. Similarly, a country hosting nuclear weapons can join if it agrees to remove them. The Treaty does not prescribe specific timeframes or disarmament measures, as they are planned to be approved by the member states following the First Conference of the TPNW.

Kazakhstan’s active participation gave impetus to the organisation of the First Conference of the TPNW. The most important contribution of our country to this process was acting as a facilitator of substantive solutions. In particular, at the initiative of Kazakhstan and Kiribati (which suffered 39 American and British nuclear weapon test), a working group was created to develop proposals on the issue of positive obligations in accordance with Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty related to providing support for victims of nuclear testing and use of nuclear weapons, as well as environmental rehabilitation.

The positive obligations under the TPNW refer to the nodal aspects and are focused on eliminating damage from the use and testing of nuclear weapons in the past, as well as preventing possible damage in the future.

The medium-term goal of this initiative on the adoption of positive obligations is to establish an International Trust Fund to finance projects related to victim assistance and environmental restoration.

A specific mechanism is being discussed for identifying sources of funding (from TPNW member-states and non-member states, NGOs, philanthropists, and individuals) for work that requires special knowledge, materials, and equipment. It is important to note that this proposal has found support among the expert community and academic circles.

I would like to note that with the financial support of Kazakhstan and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Kazakh people affected by nuclear testing and the youth representatives from Pacific Island countries will be able to participate in the First Conference of the TPNW and share their stories from a high international rostrum to draw attention to how deplorable the consequences of the use/testing of nuclear weapons can be.

The TPNW positive obligations are of practical value for Central Asia. In accordance with Article 7 of the TPNW, states may request the assistance of other parties to the Treaty and international structures to implement the abovementioned provisions. Considering the existing problem of uranium tailing ponds in several countries of our region, this initiative would help to attract donor funds from other states and international organisations for the reclamation of tailing ponds and the implementation of preventive measures to help the population near uranium mines.

Therefore, Kazakhstan, as the only state in the CIS region that has acceded to the TPNW, is conducting systematic work in accordance with Article 12 on the universalisation of the document to expand the membership of its participants, primarily from among the countries of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ).

Let me remind that CANWFZ, established by Kazakhstan jointly with its regional neighbours through the 2006 Semipalatinsk Treaty, is the first and currently the only such zone in the Northern Hemisphere. A key addition to it was the Protocol, containing negative security assurances, which stipulates that countries possessing nuclear weapons undertake not to use them on the parties to the Treaty. In this regard, we are grateful to the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and France for completing the ratification of this important document. Last year, the foreign ministers of the states that are parties to the Treaty – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – made a joint statement on its 15th anniversary, in which they reaffirmed their unshakable commitment to its provisions and called on the United States to ratify the above-mentioned Protocol as soon as possible.

The members of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world are at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament process. The main goals and objectives of establishing these zones are in line with the principles of the TPNW. This means that a state party to the Semipalatinsk Treaty can accede to the TPNW without assuming additional obligations. Besides, if a state that is party to the Semipalatinsk Treaty has already adopted relevant national regulatory legal acts to implement the provisions of the Semipalatinsk Treaty, then this will probably be sufficient to fulfil the obligations that the state will assume by joining the TPNW. This is confirmed by leading international NGOs and experts in the field of nuclear disarmament.

It should also be emphasized that the TPNW is gaining global popularity thanks to the efforts of civil society, which encourages governments and parliamentarians of their respective countries to accede to the Treaty. Kazakhstan welcomes the decision of several European countries (Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland), including the declared intention of NATO members (Germany and Norway), to participate as observers in the First Conference of the States Parties to the TPNW.

The Treaty is another effective platform for our efforts to build a world without nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan will continue to show an example of high responsibility to the present and future generations of humankind.

In this context, it’s worth noting the UN Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, adopted at the initiative of Kazakhstan at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in 2015. The Universal Declaration calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as the only guarantee against their use or threat of use. Last year, the resolution received a record number of 141 votes from UN member states, indicating its positive momentum. Particularly noteworthy was the support from India and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which possess nuclear weapons, as well as from Iran, which was among the co-sponsors of the resolution.

If nuclear weapons are declared to be outside of international law, the call for nuclear-weapon states to take urgent steps in the field of nuclear disarmament will increase significantly. To this end, Kazakhstan continuously encourages dialogue between nuclear countries and the TPNW supporters in order to align their views and strengthen trust between them, which is especially important given current geopolitical conditions. Such work is also being carried out within the framework of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament and specialised platforms within the UN, including the First Committee of the General Assembly, where our country will take over the chairmanship during the 77th session.

The possibility of signing the TPNW and its entry into force have given many countries additional hope for a safer and rational world, which is currently in a serious crisis. As noted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, with about 13,400 nuclear warheads around the world, the possibility of using nuclear weapons is more real than in the darkest days of the Cold War. The current military confrontation in Ukraine, discussions about proliferation of nuclear weapons and mutual threats to use them, raise the question about the collective vulnerability of humanity and the urgent need to ban and eliminate the deadly weapons.

The practical contribution of Kazakhstan to nuclear disarmament encourages us to continue calling on nations and governments to redouble their efforts to rid our planet of the threat of nuclear self-destruction by strengthening mutual trust. With that in mind, Kazakhstan has nominated its candidacy for the position of Vice Chair of the First Meeting of the TPNW in 2022 and Chair of the Third Meeting for 2024–2026.

We call on all states, including nuclear-weapon powers, to develop a phased plan for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by 2045, to the centenary of the UN. The proposals and agreements to achieve this goal could be reflected in the final documents of both the First Conference of the TPNW and the NPT Review Conference.

Kazakhstan realizes that there are many political and technical obstacles on the way to achieving this noble and ambitious goal. We consider it necessary to embark on a practical work in this direction.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan calls on CANWFZ states parties to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons 

Kazakhstan calls on CANWFZ states parties to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons  4 February 2022

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Akan Rakhmetullin, held a meeting with the ambassadors of the States Parties to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CAWFZ Treaty), accredited in Nur-Sultan, Kazinform has learnt from the press service of the Kazakh Foreign Affairs Ministry.

During the meeting, the Kazakh diplomat, taking into account the existing relations of friendship and brotherhood, called on the partners from the Nuclear-Weapon-Free zone in Central Asia to become parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and thereby make a significant contribution to strengthening international security.

Rakhmetullin noted that participants of Nuclear-Weapon-Free zones around the world are at the forefront of the nuclear disarmament process. He stressed that the main goals and objectives of establishing Nuclear-Weapon-Free zones are in line with the spirit and principles of the TPNW. Moreover, the obligations that a State Party to the TPNW must undertake are already being fulfilled by the participants in the CANWFZ. Thus, a State Party to the CANWFZ Treaty can join the TPNW without undertaking additional substantive obligations. This is evidenced by a comparative analysis prepared by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Kazakhstan, as a staunch supporter of nuclear disarmament, took an active part in the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Today, our country, together with other parties to the Treaty under the chairmanship of Austria, is preparing for the First Meeting of the States Parties to the TPNW in Vienna. At the initiative of Kazakhstan and Kiribati, as the countries most affected by nuclear tests, a working paper on positive obligations under the TPNW providing for measures to rehabilitate the population and the environment exposed to radiation contamination after nuclear tests was developed and supported by the presiding party.

On January 22, 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. On March 2, 2018, Kazakhstan signed the TPNW, becoming the 57th country to sign this historic document. On August 29, 2019, Kazakhstan handed over the instrument of ratification of the TPNW to the depositary – the UN Secretary General. Our country is the first and so far the only State Party of the CANWFZ that has joined the TPNW.

February 5, 2022 Posted by | Kazakhstan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bitcoin miners in Kazakhstan will rely on government building new nuclear power plant

Kazakhstan bitcoin miners could use nuclear energy as gov’t might build power plant, Kazakhstan’s government is discussing a plan to build a nuclear power plant, which might boost the country’s Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto mining industries in the long run. By Jet Encila -January 2, 2022…….. construction might take up to 10 years……..

Since September’s crackdown, an estimated 88,000 mining rigs have been smuggled across the border from China, increasing electricity demand in many places, based on multiple sources.

Not only in Central Asia, but also in the United States and Europe, the cooperation between mining and nuclear energy providers is deepening. 

In the United States, a handful of miners have already begun getting power from nuclear reactors, while in Ukraine, the national nuclear energy supplier has been collaborating with miners at Europe’s largest nuclear plants in an attempt to mitigate financial losses.

January 3, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Kazakhstan, politics | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan may build nuclear power plant to provide electricity for energy-guzzling Bitcoin mining.

Kazakhstan Mulls Nuclear Power to Deal With Electricity Shortages Blamed on Crypto Miners,, 31 Dec 21,  The government in Kazakhstan is considering building a nuclear power plant to overcome an electricity deficit allegedly caused by the booming crypto mining industry. Problems with power supply are driving away miners that saw the Central Asian country as a new home when China recently cracked down on the industry.

NPP Project Revived Amid Short Supply of Energy for Crypto Mining Sector in Kazakhstan

Authorities in Kazakhstan are now thinking of implementing a decade-old plan to construct a nuclear power plant (NPP) in order to solve the country’s pressing issues with a growing electricity deficit. With capped tariffs and a crypto-friendly attitude, the former Soviet republic attracted a throng of Chinese miners chased away by Beijing’s offensive against the crypto industry launched in May of this year. However, some of them are now leaving the country as their hardware is idling.

Two locations are currently under consideration as potential sites for a nuclear station, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Magzum Mirzagaliev revealed this week. These are the village of Ulken in the Alma-Ata region and the city of Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan region…………

January 1, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Kazakhstan, politics | Leave a comment

 At the Global Alliance of Leaders for Nuclear Security and Nuclear-Weapons-Free World (GAL) meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposes  Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

Nazarbayev proposed to launch the Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

Astana Club , Nov 29, 2021, NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Alliance of Leaders for Nuclear Security and Nuclear-Weapons-Free World (GAL) was held on the platform of the VI meeting of the Astana Club in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Addressing the members of the GAL, Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that negotiations on nuclear strategic stability on inter-state level are facing a stalemate, and there is a strong need for an alternative form of dialogue on this issue.

To break this deadlock, Mr. Nazarbayev proposed to set up the Global Forum on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Forum should bring together all key international NGOs and world moral authorities in the anti-nuclear field to forge a unified global agenda.

In his statement Nazarbayev also called on the world community to develop a step-by-step Plan for a comprehensive reduction of strategic offensive arms with the participation of all nuclear states under the auspices of the UN.

Nazarbayev expressed confidence that the GAL can become the central platform and driving force in the development of this document.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also addressed the Alliance members with the support of the Nazarbayev’s initiative and noted that without the elimination of the nuclear threat, the world community will never be able to guarantee its security.

The address of the former President of the USSR, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev to Nursultan Nazarbayev and members of the Alliance became a significant moment at the GAL session.

Mr. Gorbachev expressed his full support for the initiative of the First President of Kazakhstan to establish GAL, noting that “there can be no other final goal than a world without nuclear weapons.”

He also noted that the meeting of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in June this year in Geneva marked a positive trend. According to Gorbachev, it is extremely important that the meeting of two presidents reiterated the idea that there will be no winners in a nuclear war,” which was first voiced in 1985 at his meeting with US President Ronald Reagan.

The meeting of GAL was also attended by the leaders of the global anti-nuclear movement such as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mohamed ElBaradei and ICAN Executive Director, Beatrice Fihn, as well as former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and UN Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane, and many others.

All the meeting participants unanimously acknowledged that Kazakhstan, which voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth largest nuclear military arsenal of 1,200 atomic warheads in 1990s, has the full moral right to undertake such global anti-nuclear initiatives.

This year’s GAL meeting refers to the Doomsday Clock, the symbol of likelihood of nuclear war – One Minute to Midnight: Time for Action for the Nuclear Dialogue. This is because at the beginning of 2021, the Doomsday Clock moved the closest it has ever been in its history since 1947: 100 seconds to midnight.

Nursultan Nazarbayev.

GAL’s mission is to provide impetus to the anti-nuclear agenda through the joint efforts of the leaders of major international NGOs, well-known politicians, and world moral authorities in the anti-nuclear field.

In 2020, GAL’s Open Call to world leaders to demand the need for strengthening joint efforts on nuclear safety, non-proliferation and disarmament was registered as an official document of the UN and the IAEA.

To date, the GAL is supported by over seventy prominent international figures, including politicians, experts, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates..   

November 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Crypto currency mining is rampant, so Kazakhstan looks to nuclear energy, despite its dreadful history there.

Kazakhstan is now home to 50 registered and an unknown number of unregistered crypto mining companies.    The decision to build new nuclear power plants is a serious one for a country that suffered severe nuclear fallout from weapons testing during the Soviet occupation. Kazakhstan’s last nuclear power plant closed in 1999.

Bitcoin mining power crunch: Kazakhstan looks toward nuclear solution, CoinTelegraph, 25 Nov 21

The country saw a great influx of miners this year, but it might have to sacrifice the immense tax revenue from Bitcoin miners if power grid issues are not resolved.
–The exodus of Bitcoin miners from China into Kazakhstan has contributed to an energy crunch that the central Asian country’s president has proposed solving with nuclear energy.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy has attributed the 8% increase in domestic electricity consumption throughout 2021 to Bitcoin miners. The country received at least 87,849 Bitcoin mining machines from Chinese companies so far this year, following China’s crackdown on crypto miningaccording to data from the Financial Times.

The substantial increase in demand has led to a deficit in the domestic power supply and contributed to unreliable electricity services, according to the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company. President Tokayev told bankers at a Friday meeting that he thinks building a nuclear power plant will help ease the stress on his country’s electrical infrastructure:………………

Kazakhstan is now home to 50 registered and an unknown number of unregistered crypto mining companies.    The decision to build new nuclear power plants is a serious one for a country that suffered severe nuclear fallout from weapons testing during the Soviet occupation. Kazakhstan’s last nuclear power plant closed in 1999……..

November 29, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Kazakhstan, politics | Leave a comment

Mohamed bin Zayed Receives Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World and Global Security


NUR-SULTAN – Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohamed bin Zayed received the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World and Global Security on Oct. 28 for his contribution to peace, regional stability, and sustainable economic development during the meeting with Former Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, reports the press service of First President.

The award was established in 2016 with a goal to urge international actors to pursue more vigorous efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. King Abdullah II of Jordan was the first person to receive the prestigious award back in 2017 during his visit to Kazakhstan. ………..

November 2, 2021 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan’s moves toward a world free of nuclear weapons

Leading the way to a world free of nuclear weapons, Today more than ever, the world needs leadership in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Kazakhstan keeps providing this leadership, writes Jonathan Granoff.  28 Aug 20, Jonathan Granoff is the president of the Global Security Institute.In 1949, the first of over 450 nuclear explosive tests, surprised the residents in towns and villages in the northeast corner of Kazakhstan. The sky lit up with a blinding flash of light followed by an enormous mushroom cloud. In houses books falling from shelves and the crashing of dishes could be heard. They had not been forewarned.

For the next forty years, silently, in the bodies of at least one and half million citizens the consequence of the radioactive fall-out of those hundreds of explosions inflicted numerous diseases such as cancer and horrible birth defects. Not only did the explosions cause cracks in houses and roads.

It caused the crack of tragedy in the hearts of millions. The people of Kazakhstan, because of those nuclear tests in the windswept steppe test site at Semipalatinsk, know all too well the reality of nuclear weapons

Millions of activists worldwide in the late 1980s protested nuclear testing, prominent amongst those protests was the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Movement, bringing together the voices of citizens of the USA and the then Soviet Union.

The protesters in Kazakhstan demonstrated enormous courage for they were still living in a system where political repression posed serious dangers.

But times changed and that became very clear when Kazakhstan’s First President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, came into office. He did not ignore or avoid addressing these dreadful devices and their national and global impact.

He set out to bring his sense of responsibility as a witness to the reality of nuclear weapons into meaningful action, not only for his nation but also for the world.

First and foremost, he supported the brave activists who protested the testing in Kazakhstan and he signed the historic Decree shutting down the Semipalatinsk test site on 29 August 1991.

It should be noted Kazakhstan was then still part of the Soviet Union. In his speeches, Nazarbayev has always emphasized that the closure expressed the will of the people.

This bold gesture helped stimulate a moratorium on testing which has to this day restrained the five permanent members of the Security Council and holders of more than 97% of the world’s nuclear arsenals (the P5) – United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France from further testing.

It also gave momentum to the global movement to create a treaty to end all nuclear testing, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). 29 August is now the International Day against Nuclear Tests. It was established on December 2, 2009 at the 64th session of the United Nations General

Soon after the Soviet Union collapsed, Kazakhstan, under the leadership of Nazarbayev, set a precedent in world history by abandoning the world’s 4th largest nuclear arsenal and the status of a de facto nuclear power.

This decision was crucial not only for the formation and further development of Kazakhstan but also had far-reaching global consequences. Kazakhstan had inherited more than 100 stationary-based missiles with about 1,400 nuclear warheads.

In addition, 40 strategic Tu-95 MS bombers with 240 cruise nuclear missiles were deployed in Kazakhstan. Giving up this powerful arsenal gained the nation enormous international good will and recognition, and the moral credibility to demand progress on legal duties of all nuclear weapons states to negotiate the universal elimination of nuclear weapons.

Nazarbayev’s strategic decision was instrumental in stimulating confidence in the maturity of independent Kazakhstan. It remains an action of national pride and international respect.

Kazakhstan also set out to address the nuclear non-proliferation problem. In 2017, under the leadership of Nazarbayev, it created the world’s first bank for low enriched uranium under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This unique mechanism provides countries around the world with the opportunity to develop peaceful nuclear energy without the need to create their own uranium enrichment programs, which represents a proliferation danger.

Kazakhstan has also become an active participant in absolutely all basic international treaties and institutions in the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and a strong contributor to stability in the world.

For example, under Nazarbayev’s leadership, it was a leading contributor in the creation of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (CANWFZ) signed into force by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on 8 September 2006.

Current President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is continuing the country’s nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament commitments. The world needs leadership today in this field more than ever.

The Nursultan Nazarbayev Foundation has established the “Nazarbayev Prize for Nuclear Weapon Free World and Global Security”, which is awarded every 2 years on 29 August for outstanding contributions to non-proliferation and disarmament.

It was first presented in 2017 to King of Jordan Abdullah II. In 2019, the laureates were the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Lassina Zerbo and former IAEA Director-General Yukio Amano (posthumously).

In 2012, Nazarbayev announced the launch of the ATOM Project (Abolish Testing – Our Mission). ATOM is an online petition to world governments to forever abandon nuclear testing and to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into force as soon as possible.

Speaking at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, Kazakhstan’s First President called for making the construction of a world without nuclear weapons the main goal of mankind in the 21st century and the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.

In 2016, in his Manifesto: The World, The 21st Century”, Nazarbayev sets forth a comprehensive vision to move toward a world without reliance on militarism and war, but based on a cooperative human-centred approach to security. Now, a recognized official UN document, it contains realistic policy proposals worthy of serious debate today.

The solution of many problems in the field of global security, conflict prevention and resolution, and especially nuclear disarmament depend on the availability of environments and platforms for honest debate and dialogue.

President Nazarbayev thus established the Astana Club – a forum where annually more than 50 world renown politicians and experts discuss current security issues in Eurasia and beyond.

In November 2019, as part of the fifth meeting of the Club, Nazarbayev initiated the creation of an authoritative political platform, the Global Alliance of Leaders for a Nuclear-Free World.

GAL is an alliance of leaders that will allow for an open dialogue with members of the “nuclear club” and make a feasible contribution to strengthening global security.

Kazakhstan, within the framework of the GAL, will act as a neutral dialogue platform for both nuclear and non-nuclear states.

Those who have already supported the project and expressed their readiness to contribute to the implementation of this initiative include former heads of state, heads of international organizations and famous experts: Heinz Fischer (Austrian Federal President 2004-2016), Mohammed El-Baradei, IAEA Director General 1997-2009, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Lassina Zerbo (CTBTO Executive Secretary), and others of similar stature.

Nazarbayev, stimulated by perestroika and President Mikhail Gorbachev’s new thinking, developed a vision of a peace loving, open minded, dynamic nation respectful of the rule of law that could be a responsible actor in world affairs.

A bold perspective given the turbulence of these times, it requires diligent and courageous perseverance and a people of enormous dynamism to help advance it, including finding a path to ensuring that the ethnic and religious diversity of their nation can remain harmonious and not lead to conflict as it has been the case so many times in other places. Again, Kazakhstan is providing a good example.

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Kazakhstan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear test health toll – cancer and birth deformities in Kazakhstan

This Is What Nuclear Weapons Leave in Their Wake  
A remote area of Kazakhstan was once home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear testing. The impact on its inhabitants has been devastating.

Decay and desolation scar the landscape of a remote corner of the Kazakh Steppe. Unnatural lakes formed by nuclear bomb explosions pockmark the once flat terrain, broken up only by empty shells of buildings. It appears uninhabitable. And yet, ghosts – living and dead – haunt the land, still burdened by the effects a nuclear testing program that stopped nearly 30 years ago.

The site, known as the Polygon, was home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear tests during the Cold War. The zone was chosen for being unoccupied, but several small agricultural villages dot its perimeter. Though some residents were bussed out during the test period, most remained. The damage that continues today is visceral.

Photographer Phil Hatcher-Moore spent two months documenting the region, and was struck by the “wanton waste of man’s folly.”

His project ‘Nuclear Ghosts’ marries the wasted landscape and intimate portraits of villagers still suffering the consequences.

The figures are astonishing – some 100,000 people in the area are still affected by radiation, which can be transmitted down through five generations. But with his intimately harrowing pictures, Moore sought to make the abstract numbers tangible.

“Nuclear contamination is not something we can necessarily see,” he says. “And we can talk about the numbers, but I find it more interesting to focus on individuals who encapsulate the story.”

Moore interviewed all his subjects before picking up his camera and learned that secrecy and misinformation plagued much of their experience.

“[During the 50s] one guy was packed up with his tent and told to live out in the hills for five days with his flock. He was effectively used as a test subject to see what happened,” says Moore. “They were never told what was going on, certainly not the dangers that they may be in.”

Though human stories were central, Moore also documented the scientific test labs that are still uncovering the damage. The juxtaposition of these labs alongside portraits of people disfigured by radiation makes for uncomfortable viewing. But this proximity is deliberate.

“There was a history of humans being used as live subjects,” says Moore. “I wanted to marry these ideas together; the way people were used by researchers at the time and how that trickles down into every day life – what that looks like, what that means.”

While some of Moore’s subjects are severely deformed, many suffer from less visible health issues like cancer, blood diseases or PTSD. And the hidden, insidious nature of the thing is what is perhaps most troubling. “For a long time there hadn’t been much nuclear development but it is a very real issue right now,” says Moore. “But we don’t talk about what it takes to renew these weapons. These people are legacy and testament to what was done to meet those ends.”

See more of Phil Hatcher-Moore’s work on his website and follow him on Instagram.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | health, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Kazakhstan local residents may be stuck with costs of decommissioning nuclear reactor

March 2, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

“Chernobyl” TV series gets high rating, highly viewed in Russia and Ukraine

BBC 12th June 2019 , Hours after the world’s worst nuclear accident, engineer Oleksiy Breus
entered the control room of the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear
power plant in Ukraine. A member of staff at the plant from 1982, he became
a witness to the immediate aftermath on the morning of 26 April 1986.

The story of the reactor’s catastrophic explosion, as told in an HBO/Sky
miniseries, has received the highest ever score for a TV show on the film
website IMDB. Russians and Ukrainians have watched it via the internet, and
it has had a favourable rating on Russian film site Kinopoisk. Mr Breus
worked with many of the individuals portrayed and has given his verdict of
the series.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Kazakhstan, media, Resources -audiovicual, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia keen to market nuclear reactors to Kazakhstan

Putin Offers Russian Help To Build Kazakh Nuclear Plant, April 06, 2019 Radio Free Europe, By Bruce Pannier

Rosatom does the same thing. The company boasts a $100 billion portfolio, and its website says it has 36 nuclear reactor projects in 12 countries — in places like Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Belarus, Iran, Turkey, Hungary, and China. Rosatom submits bids for every nuclear-power-plant contract worldwide. And Rosatom also has nuclear cooperation agreements with countries in South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The cost of a nuclear power plant starts at around $8 billion, and that is in cases where there is only one reactor, such as Rosatom’s VVER-1000. During Putin’s visit to India in October, Rosatom signed a contract to construct six VVER reactors at a new site in India, in addition to the four other reactors Rosatom is already contracted to build at India’s Kudankulum site. Two VVER reactors are already in operation there.

Russian financial institutions usually loan most, or nearly all, of the money to those countries for the construction of such plants, and Russian nuclear-fuel provider TVEL frequently receives the contract for fuel supplies.

Different Sort Of Customer

Kazakhstan would be a different sort of customer for Rosatom. It has been the world’s leading uranium producer and exporter since 2009. And Kazakhstan does more than just extract uranium. State company Kazatomprom has worked for years, and is now able to take uranium through all the cycles, from raw uranium to nuclear fuel. From 2007 to 2017, Kazatomprom owned a 10-percent stake in Westinghouse.

So Kazakhstan has a large domestic source of uranium and can produce its own nuclear fuel; and Kazatomprom has nuclear technicians trained mostly by Russia but also some trained in Japan, France, and other countries.

Russia and Kazakhstan cooperate to mine uranium in Kazakhstan. Putin mentioned “six Russian-Kazakh enterprises for extracting and enriching uranium.”
Kazatomprom exported nearly 15,290 tons of uranium in 2018, and about 17 percent of that went to Russia.

Kazakhstan and Russia established the International Uranium Enrichment Center in Angarsk in 2007. As its name suggests, the center will provide low-enriched uranium (LEU) to interested parties. The center has been internationally hailed as ensuring a steady supply of uranium for nuclear reactors while not transferring the technology to enrich uranium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Kazakhstan’s government also established an LEU bank at Kazakhstan’s Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen, “a physical reserve of up to 90 metric tons of low enriched uranium suitable to make fuel for a typical light water reactor.”

The IAEA and Russia have an agreement on transporting the uranium to the LEU bank in Oskemen.
The April 4 statement from Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry said nuclear-power-plant technologies from five countries, “including Rosatom,” were being studied. But the ministry also said other projects were being reviewed, such as more gas-fired plants, hydropower projects, and coal-fired thermal plants.

Proposed Locations
Russian news agency Interfax noted in its report that Russian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Aleksei Boroodavkin said in February, “We are hopeful that a decision will be taken soon for the construction of an atomic power station that we hope Rosatom will construct.”……….

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Kazakhstan, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment