Kazakhstan operates one nuclear power reactor at its plant in Aktau.
The Soviet-designed BN-350 is a sodium-cooled, fast-breeder reactor that began operating in 1972. It was a key source of electricity and heat for Aktau, a city on the banks of the Caspian Sea in sparsely populated western Kazakhstan. The reactor also bred high purity weapons grade plutonium in its blanket — whose elements were subsequently stored in the plant’s spent fuel pool. The disposition of these spent fuel elements is the subject of a separate bi-lateral project between the U.S. and Kazakhstan.
The intention was formally announced on April 22, 1999, to shutdown the reactor and take those actions necessary to place the plant in safe storage (‘SAFESTOR’) for 50 years, at which time final decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) will be performed.