OSC Views Nuclear Commerce in Kazakhstan

10.15.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

“Kazakhstan, which is second only to Australia in uranium reserves and exceptionally appealing to nuclear nations that require uranium, has entered into agreements or joint ventures with many countries and corporations,” a new analysis (pdf) from the DNI Open Source Center observes.

Kazakhstan has embarked on cooperative civilian nuclear projects with countries including the U.S., Russia, China, Brazil, Canada, France, India, and others, possibly including Iran.

“Some serious issues lurk behind the veneer of the government’s political and commercial success,” the OSC analysis says. These include “an unclear line of power succession,… which could facilitate nuclear deals with international partners with mixed proliferation records.”

“The country is corrupt and has corrupt practices,” the OSC declares. “Kazakhstan’s mineral riches have supplied many a thief with wealth.”  See “Kazakhstan — Opening Up for Nuclear Collaboration,” Open Source Center, October 6, 2009.

Kazakhstan relinquished the nuclear weapons that it inherited from the former Soviet Union in  1995.  It has also accepted IAEA safeguards and the Additional Protocol.

Update: A Kazakhstan government official disputed the conclusions of the OSC analysis. He said that “contrary to recent reports, his country is not looking to do nuclear deals with countries that have a mixed record on proliferation,” the Christian Science Monitor reported October 19.