The United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan reached a new milestone in a multiyear joint project to irreversibly decommission the Soviet-era BN-350 fast breeder reactor located at the Kazakhstani port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea.
The participating governments completed a sodium processing facility that will be used to dispose of coolant from the reactor core. This action demonstrates and reinforces the strength of the U.S.-Kazakhstani strategic relationship, and our joint commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials.
A ceremony to celebrate the completion of the construction of the Sodium Processing Facility was held at the facility on November 5, 2008. Representatives from the government of Kazakhstan attending the ceremony included the Deputy Chairman of the Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Committee, Alexander Kim; the Director of the Labor Safety and Environmental Protection Department of the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom, Marat Nurgaziev; the Executive Director of the Nuclear Technology Safety Center (NTSC), Irina Tazhibayeva; and the Director BN-350 at MAEC-Kazatomprom, Genadi Pugachev.
The U.S. was represented by U.S. Embassy to Kazakhstan Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin Milas and Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund Senior Project Manager John Beaseley. Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy in Kazakhstan Michael Welch represented the government of the United Kingdom.
In collaboration with experts from Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom, the U.S. Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory engineers served as U.S. technical experts on the design and construction of the facility. Nuvia, a British firm, provided additional technical support.
Additionally, the Nuclear Technology Safety Center (NTSC), a Kazakhstan non-governmental organization, provided in-country project management for the government of Kazakhstan that ensured the facility was being constructed in a sound, safe, and ecologically responsible manner.
The construction of the sodium processing facility was funded by the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund, a fund available to the U.S. Department of State to address unanticipated nonproliferation and disarmament opportunities and emergencies. The United States appreciates the cooperation of the government of Kazakhstan, the government of the United Kingdom, the NTSC and Nuvia in this successful effort.