On the Successful Completion of the U.S.- Kazakhstan BN-350 Nuclear Spent Fuel Program

Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
November 18, 2010

The United States congratulates Kazakhstan on this week’s historic completion of the BN-350 Spent Fuel Program. Kazakhstan safely shut down the BN-350 plutonium production reactor in Aktau, secured material containing 10 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and three metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium, and transported it to a new secure storage facility in Eastern Kazakhstan. In securing enough nuclear material for 775 nuclear weapons, Kazakhstan, under the leadership of President Nazarbayev, has made a significant contribution to global security and nuclear nonproliferation.

We commend the dedicated team of hundreds of Kazakhstan and U.S. scientists, engineers, and safety, security and transportation experts who worked tirelessly to accomplish an extremely difficult and ambitious undertaking with the highest standards of safety and security. We also thank the United Kingdom for its contribution to the later stages of this project. The completion of this program is one of the many highlights of the 15-year track record of partnership and close cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United States in reducing nuclear threats in Kazakhstan and around the world.

The United States welcomes efforts to intensify our bilateral partnership with Kazakhstan and promote international cooperation on nuclear safety and nonproliferation.

These activities were conducted in accordance with U.S.-Kazakhstan Presidential Joint Statements in 2006 and 2010 and the goals of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit this past April in Washington. At the new long-term storage facility, the BN-350 spent fuel will continue to be under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

PRN: 2010/1679