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Kazakh Nonproliferation Cooperation


U.S. President Barack Obama, left, laughs with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their joint statement at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Coex Center, in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 2, 2012. (file)

Kazakhstan has taken bold steps toward nuclear disarmament and is a strategic partner for the U.S in the arena of nuclear nonproliferation.

Kazakhstan has taken bold steps toward nuclear disarmament and is a strategic partner for the U.S in the arena of nuclear nonproliferation.


Working with the U.S through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, as well as Russia, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, and many other international partners, Kazakhstan eliminated or removed from its territory all 1,410 cold war-era nuclear warheads, completely dismantled the infrastructure of the Semipalatinsk test site and secured its tunnels, and destroyed or removed hundreds of missiles, bombers, and tactical nuclear warheads.

The Department of Energy has complementary nonproliferation programs that are working with Kazakhstan to minimize the use of nuclear-weapon usable highly enriched uranium, and secure nuclear and radiological materials.

The State Department, through several programs, worked with Kazakhstan to improve trade controls, engage scientists with weapons of mass destruction skills so that they can put their expertise to use for peaceful purposes, secure biological laboratories that house deadly pathogens, and address the challenges posed by nuclear smuggling, including through the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

In 2006, Kazakhstan and the U.S signed a Communiqué establishing a comprehensive set of agreed steps to enhance Kazakhstan’s capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials. Since this agreement, Kazakhstan has continued to work closely with the U.S. Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative and other interagency partners to implement these steps.

The United States and Kazakhstan are strong supporters of the IAEA safeguards system and, bilaterally are cooperating on a range of nuclear security issues. The U.S. also supports the establishment of the IAEA’s Low-enriched uranium bank in Kazakhstan.

The U.S. remains concerned by the threat that nuclear or highly radioactive material could fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, the U.S. encourages all foreign partners, in addition to ‘locking down’ nuclear and radiological materials currently under government control, to strengthen capabilities to investigate smuggling networks, remove trafficked material from the black market, and arrest the criminals involved.

The U.S. is pleased by the progress that Kazakhstan has made toward strengthening regional nuclear security cooperation by pledging to establish a Nuclear Security Training Center for material accounting, control, and physical protection, which will also include a component on combating illicit nuclear trafficking.

Although many challenges still lie ahead, the U.S. and Kazakhstan are forging a united front to confront nuclear proliferation in all of its forms.
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