A delegation from the United Arab Emirates attended the signing of an agreement today between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Kazakhstan to set up the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen, Kazakhstan.
A delegation from the UAE, headed by Ahmed Juma Al Za'abi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, attended the signing ceremony in Astana, along with the signatories, Erlan A. Idrisov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, and Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director General.
Other attendees included Kuwait's Representative to IAEA, officials from the countries which supported the project, representatives of the five permanent United Nations Security Council member countries and of the European Union and Norway.
Al Zaabi said the UAE will continue to support international efforts towards developing nuclear fuel safely and to provide political and financial support to the LEU Bank.
"IAEA's LEU Bank will be a physical reserve of LEU and will contribute to the efforts in preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons," he added.
Al Zaabi said Kazakhstan had become a role model state after the country made a wise decision to rid itself of the inherited massive nuclear arsenal. Today's agreement is yet another proof of Kazakhstan's responsible adherence to non-proliferation.
"I am confident that the IAEA LEU Bank will operate safely and securely, in line with the applicable IAEA nuclear safety standards and nuclear security guidance," said IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano.
"A lot of work must still be done, but after the signing of the relevant documents today, the legal framework is fully in place and we can move ahead with full-scale implementation," he added.
Safety and security of the IAEA LEU Bank will be governed by Kazakhstan's legal and regulatory requirements, and will meet the applicable provisions of the IAEA's safety standards and security guidance documents. The LEU will also be subject to IAEA safeguards.
The establishment and operation of the IAEA LEU Bank is fully funded through US$150 million of voluntary contributions from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Norway and Kazakhstan.
"I am grateful to all of the donors, including the Government of Kazakhstan," Amano said, adding, "Their contributions will make it possible to establish the IAEA LEU Bank and will cover its costs for the first ten years of operation."