The Nuclear Power Industry in KazakhstanToday the power industry is the most important driving-force for world progress. The greatest contribution to meeting the power demand and providing stable socio-economic development, for humanity, in the 21stcentury will be made by the nuclear power industry. World experience seems to prove that energy problems in Kazakhstan, both in the nearest and distant future, are unlikely to be decided without nuclear power.
It is obvious, therefore, that Kazakhstan's power industry development will, sooner or later, follow this route. The economic attractiveness of the nuclear power industry, which is stronger than that of hydrocarbon industry, as well as the depletion of hydrocarbon energy resources (despite their enormous reserves) and environmental issue connected with limitations on greenhouse emissions, and observation of international environmental protection standards, will also play its role.
The Republic of Kazakhstan can boast significant potential for nuclear power industry development and has the following objective preconditions for this:
- Close to 19 % of the world's explored uranium reserves are concentrated within the Republic of Kazakhstan ;
- It has its own developed uranium mining and processing industry;
- Fulfillment of Kazatomprom’s strategy, related to creation of a company with a complete nuclear fuel cycle, will allow for the provision of a nuclear power industry, in Kazakhstan, with nuclear fuel produced within the country. It will allow for the possibility of setting up lower tariffs for electric power;
- Qualified personnel, who have been providing continuous work at the world's first pilot commercial fast breeder reactor BN-350, for over a quarter of a century, are still working in Kazakhstan . Since 1999 the reactor has been under decommissioning;
- Since Soviet times Kazakhstan has had a unique scientific base for research in the sphere of nuclear physics, as well as qualified scientific and technical staff;
- The Republic continues to operate, successfully, three research nuclear reactors, for scientific purposes;
- There is the infrastructure for fundamental and applied research, within the sphere of the nuclear power industry and nuclear physics, including work on justification of nuclear power industry safety, testing of advanced fuel for nuclear reactors and development of nuclear engineering projects;
- A national system of nuclear and radiation safety integrated with the IAEA;
- A legal and normative framework regulating main aspects of activity relating to peaceful use of nuclear power.
A consequential transition from the traditional power industry to nuclear power technologies will have a significant synergetic effect:
- Nuclear power industry development will promote a power energy safety in the country, the attainment of which is impossible without the diversification of power generation. This will allow for a considerable degree of reduction, or the liquidation entirely, of the dependency on imported electric power, which is a particulaly positive move in the foreseen conditions of possible fluctuation of prices of raw materials and the forecasting of multiple increases in electric power demand;
- Today's NPP is one of the most environmentally friendly energy generators. Nuclear power energy will allow for an increase in produced power energy volumes and for keeping the ecological balance. This will lead to the exclusion of additional hazard air emissions and to the fulfillment of accepted international commitments with regard to the solution of global ecological problems;
- The main advantages of a nuclear power industry are the economic attractiveness of tariffs and the stable prices of electric power for a long period of time;
- Nuclear power industry development will lead to improvement of domestic manufacturing engineering, the strengthening of the scientific and technical potential of the country and the establishment of new technology intensive branches of the economy;
- Industrial enterprises will integrate toward international cooperation with NPP equipment producers;
- The export structure will be changed in direction toward a share increase of high technology products– energy power and reactor fuel, and new NPPs in future;
- Ensured energy resources will promote stable social and economic development in the regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Generally, the nuclear power industry has considerable perspectives in the Republic of Kazakhstan and its development will significantly increase the potential of the whole power branch.