You are here

IAEA Reviews Uzbekistan’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development

Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Bakrhom Mansurov, First Deputy Director General, Uzatom Agency; Mirzamakhmudov Jurabek, Director-General, Uzatom; Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, International Atomic Energy Agency; Milko Kovachev, Section Head Nuclear Infrastructure Development, International Atomic Energy Agency (from left to right) during the closing session of the INIR mission. Photo: IAEA. 

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded a 12-day mission to Uzbekistan to review its development of infrastructure for a nuclear power programme. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) was carried out at the invitation of the Government of Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan, a Central Asian country of 33 million people and a major global uranium supplier, is looking to nuclear power as a low carbon energy source to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost electricity generating capacity. In 2017 the country signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Russian Federation to construct two VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors to be commissioned by 2030. In 2019 Uzbekistan initiated the process to select a site for its first nuclear power plant (NPP).

The INIR team reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using the Phase 2 criteria of the IAEA’s Milestones Approach, which provides detailed guidance across three phases (consider, prepare, construct) of development. The Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan hosted the mission.

The INIR team said the country’s nuclear power programme benefits from strong governmental support and shows a clear commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation. The team added that Uzbekistan has made significant progress in NPP project development and taken steps to enhance its legal and regulatory framework and strengthen the regulatory body.

The team made recommendations and suggestions to assist Uzbekistan in preparing to construct its first NPP.

“Uzbekistan has made substantive progress in the development of its nuclear power infrastructure,” said team leader Milko Kovachev, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section. “It is essential that the Government remains well-focused in further advancing the necessary legal and institutional framework.”

The team comprised one expert from Brazil and one expert from Bulgaria, and eight IAEA staff. It reviewed the status of 19 nuclear infrastructure issues using the IAEA’s Milestones evaluation methodology.

Prior to the latest mission, Uzbekistan submitted a Self-Evaluation Report and supporting documents covering all infrastructure issues to the IAEA.

The team highlighted areas where further actions would benefit Uzbekistan, including the need to adhere to international legal instruments to which it is not yet a party, such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and its Protocol. The Government should ensure a consistent and complete national legal framework for nuclear safety and nuclear security by consolidating and strengthening legislation. Uzbekistan also needs to ensure adequate human and financial resources for the nuclear regulatory body. While the country has made significant progress in NPP project development, work remains to be completed on project related studies, environmental assessment procedures, stakeholder engagement activities and construction management capabilities.

The team also identified good practices that would benefit other countries developing nuclear power in the areas of human resources, finance, and nuclear security.

Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy attended the Mission’s closing meeting.

"Developing the infrastructure required for a safe and sustainable nuclear power programme requires time and effort," he said. "Uzbekistan already has considerable nuclear-related experience, gained through its research reactors and other nuclear research facilities and its progress towards nuclear power is commendable."

The Director-General of the Uzatom Agency, Mirzamakhmudov Jurabek, said: “Our technical working groups have worked hard over the past 12 months. The results of the INIR Mission will help the Republic of Uzbekistan to ensure the safe development of a national nuclear programme. The outcome of the Mission will also help us develop an action plan which in turn will contribute to the development of the national nuclear infrastructure. By receiving the INIR mission, Uzbekistan demonstrated its complete openness and interest in obtaining an objective professional assessment of the readiness of its nuclear infrastructure. The INIR mission has become a valuable tool for identifying areas and fields requiring improvement and ensuring the availability of the necessary infrastructure for the development of nuclear technologies.”

About INIR Missions:

Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions are based on the IAEA Milestones Approach, with its 19 Infrastructure Issues, three phases (consider, prepare, construct) and three milestones (decide, contract, commission and operate). INIR missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in different countries. In developing its recommendations, the INIR team considers the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team's recommendations and suggestions is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The results of the INIR mission are expected to help the Member State to develop an action plan to fill any gaps, which in turn will help the development of the national nuclear infrastructure. The IAEA publishes the INIR mission report on its website 90 days after its delivery to the Member State, unless the State requests in writing that the IAEA not do so.


Stay in touch