IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei commended a joint project to secure nuclear fuel in Kazakhstan. The project focuses on the conversion of high enriched uranium (HEU) into commercial fuel material that is not directly useable in nuclear weapons.
The project is a joint effort of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Government of Kazakhstan.
"These efforts are bearing fruit," Dr. ElBaradei said in the statement. "By the end of this year, 2897 kilograms of HEU - enough to produce dozens of nuclear bombs - will have been down-blended to LEU and placed in safe storage. Throughout the project, the IAEA has been implementing safeguards coverage, with no difficulties experienced."
He added that the NTI-Kazakhstan effort could well serve as a model for future projects in other countries seeking to upgrade levels of nuclear security. "Many countries are making urgent efforts to address these vulnerabilities, and NTI is providing a good example of how civil society can take a leadership role," noted the Director General statement.
The statement was delivered in Kazakhstan by Mr. Kenji Murakami, IAEA Department of Safeguards.