Russia, Kazakhstan to sign deal on uranium enrichment center
ANGARSK. March 21. KAZINFORM. - Russia and Kazakhstan will sign an interstate agreement on an international uranium enrichment center in East Siberia in the near future, a senior nuclear official said Wednesday. "The contract is ready, has been agreed, and we are completing the technical checks," said Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of the Russian Federal Nuclear Power Agency. A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is visiting the Angarsk chemical plant, the site of a uranium enrichment center. Last October, Russia and Kazakhstan, which holds 15% of the world's uranium reserves, opened their first joint venture to enrich uranium in Angarsk, East Siberia. The venture, which was part of Moscow's non-proliferation initiative to create a network of enrichment centers under the UN nuclear watchdog's supervision, will also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste. IAEA Deputy Director General Yury Sokolov said the principal condition for enriched uranium deliveries is strict "observance of all international non-proliferation rules." The center will offer uranium enrichment services to countries interested in developing nuclear energy for civilian purposes. The Angarsk plant was previously removed from the list of "national strategic installations," and there are no further legal obstacles to its operation, Kazinform cites RIA Novosti.