The world’s first IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank opened in Kazakhstan
Published: August 30, 2017
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched the world’s first IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) bank at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) in Oskemen, Kazakhstan. The $150 million facility will help ensure a steady supply of low enriched uranium for countries’ nuclear power programmes.
The bank is owned and managed by IAEA. It is the first of its kind LEU bank not to be under control of any individual country. The IAEA LEU Bank will be a physical reserve of up to 90 metric tons of low enriched uranium suitable to make fuel for a typical light water reactor, the most widely used type of nuclear power reactor worldwide.
The LEU Bank will serve as a last-resort mechanism to provide confidence to countries that they will be able to obtain LEU for the manufacture of fuel for nuclear power plants in the event of an unforeseen, non-commercial disruption to their supplies. The LEU can be used to make enough nuclear fuel to power a large city for three years.