The world's first low enriched uranium (LEU) Reserve, located at the International Uranium Enrichment Centre in Angarsk, Russia, opened its doors today. The LEU Reserve, currently valued at more than US$300 million helps ensure an uninterrupted supply of LEU for nuclear power generation.
The Russian Federation funded the 120-tonne reserve's establishment, as well as the costs of maintenance, storage, safety, security and safeguards. The LEU Reserve serves as a last-instance supplier to IAEA Member States at market prices; proceeds from the LEU sales will be used to replenish the LEU stocks.
"This week, IAEA inspectors completed their first inspection of the LEU Reserve, which constitutes now a part of the existing mechanisms of assurances of supply of LEU for nuclear power generation," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement delivered on his behalf at the LEU Reserve's inauguration ceremony at Angarsk.
"The LEU Reserve would be made available for back-up supply to any eligible IAEA Member State that might face a non-commercial disruption of supply of LEU to be used in nuclear fuel for power reactors thereby facilitating the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," he said.
In November 2009, the IAEA Board of Governors authorized the IAEA Director General to sign and implement an agreement with the Russian Federation to establish the LEU Reserve. The agreement was signed on 29 March 2010. By assuring supply for peaceful uses of nuclear power, the LEU Reserve in Angarsk fulfils a key element of the IAEA's Statute.
On 3 December 2010, the IAEA Board of Governors further authorized the IAEA Director General to establish an IAEA LEU bank that will be owned and managed by the IAEA, supporting the multilateral effort to assure a supply of LEU for power generation. Donors to the IAEA LEU bank have pledged about US$125 million and €25 million to cover the establishment and initial operational expenses of the IAEA LEU bank. A location for the IAEA LEU bank has not yet been identified.