IAEA Fuel Bank Accepts First LEU Delivery

The first delivery of low-enriched uranium (LEU) has been deposited at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear fuel bank at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in eastern Kazakhstan, the agency said Friday.

IAEA trainThe bank is a depository for LEU meant to offer countries with nuclear power plants an alternative supply in case their primary supplier falls short or fails to meet their needs for any reason. The bank is to operate as a supply depot when standard supply chains fail.

With the delivery of LEU, the depot becomes, ipso facto, operational. The 880-square-meter warehouse for the fuel can hold up to 90 metric tons of LEU fuel, the World Nuclear Association reported. The first delivery of 32 cylinders is enough to supply the average light water reactor with enough LEU for one fuel cycle.

This delivery took four weeks to complete. The LEU canisters were purchased from Orano Cycle in France. The shipments began with trucks taking the LEU to a French port, where they were shipped to Russia. They were carried to Kazakhstan by train.

The IAEA produced a Youtube video marking the event. Here is the link to that video: