Kazakhstan continues negotiations with potential suppliers for Nuclear Power Plants

This article is translated from the original that was published by Kursiv Media.

The Kazakh authorities continue negotiations with potential service providers within the framework of the planned NPP construction. This was announced during a webinar on the topic "Nuclear energy in Central Asia - the key to sustainable development" on September 5, by the chief project manager of Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP, Asset Makhambetov.

According to him, the Kazakh side has received relevant proposals from several foreign companies: EDF, CNC, Rosatom, KHNP, GE-Hitachi, and NuScale Power.

We continue negotiations with all of them. According to the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the choice of technology is expected in late 2022 or early 2023,” Makhambetov said.

He noted that, according to the official forecast of the Ministry of Energy, by 2028 the deficit of electricity in the southern zone will be 1,400 MW. In this regard, he believes, the construction of a nuclear power plant will solve energy shortage issues, as well as help achieve carbon neutrality goals by 2060. Such a goal has been set by Kazakhstan.

Makhambetov said that work on the possibility of building a nuclear power plant in the country began in 2014.

In recent years, we have worked out sales issues and technical studies for the possibility of the United States, France, China, and South Korea. Various commercial proposals were considered. We also received and analyzed proposals from vendors. We are now working with them to update these proposals,” he said.

He recalled that two points are being considered for the construction of a nuclear power plant: the city of Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan region and the village of Ulken in the Almaty region. At the same time, the settlement of Ulken looks more preferable for the construction of a nuclear power plant.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a meeting of the Council of Foreign Investors on June 9 said that Kazakhstan had identified a site for the construction of a nuclear power plant. At the same time, the head of state did not announce exactly where the nuclear power plant would be built.

Vice Minister of Energy Zhandos Nurmaganbetov at a briefing on August 3 said that after the start of construction of the first nuclear power plant, Kazakhstan might begin to build a second one. According to him, discussions are underway about how many nuclear power plants there will be in Kazakhstan. “It is quite possible that a second nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan may appear on the Irtysh near the town of Kurchatov,” he said.

On February 17, Nurmaganbetov announced on the sidelines of a meeting of the Senate of the Parliament that a decision on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan would be made this year. According to him, the site for the nuclear power plant has not yet been selected. Previously, the list of places included the village of Ulken in the Almaty region (on the banks of the Balkhash), the city of Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan region, and the city of Aktau, where the Mangyshlak power plant operated on nuclear energy in 1972–1999.

The issue of building a nuclear power plant is being considered, but the site, dimensions and volumes have not been determined. I think a decision on this will become known in 2022,” he said.

Earlier, the Ministry of Energy reported that according to the plan, by 2035, 2.4 GW of nuclear power will be built in Kazakhstan.

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