Nuclear energy in Central Asia, the key to sustainable development

On 5 September NNWI held a webinar on the subject of nuclear energy in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. This was the first event to reflect NNWI’s new focus on Central Asia.

Four leading nuclear energy experts from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia made presentations to an online audience which included senior people from the academic world and from industry.

Introducing the webinar Tim Yeo, NNWI Chair, explained why increasing Central Asia’s nuclear energy capacity will help to meet the rising demand for electricity in the region, improve energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Baurzhan Ibrayev, former Executive Board member of Kazatomprom and Chair of its Supervisory Board, described the challenges facing the energy industry in the region and the huge potential for expansion. Looking ahead he outlined how new nuclear power plants will enable the target of net zero emissions to be reached by 2060.

Mr Asset Makhambetov, Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants Chief Project Manager, referred to the country’s experience of successfully operating a nuclear plant in the last century and its world leading role as a uranium producer. He explained Kazakhstan’s plans for the construction of two new nuclear reactors.

Professor Alisher Sanetullayev from New Uzbekistan University emphasised the advantages of generation 3+ nuclear plants and addressed the issues surrounding site selection. He described Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and its work to ensure that universities provide appropriately qualified staff for the nuclear industry.

Ms Tserendorj Otgontsetseg from the Mongolia Nuclear Energy Commission referred to the important benefits of nuclear technology which extend beyond the power sector. She outlined Mongolia’s preparations for the development of nuclear energy capacity including work to increase public acceptance.

The presentations were followed by a discussion in which the speakers answered a wide range of questions which had been posted online by the audience.

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