Kazakhs to conduct Aktau feasibility study

[Interfax, 10 December] During a public hearing on 7 December, the local community gave their approval for a feasibility study to be conducted into the construction of a nuclear power plant near Aktau in the Mangistau region of Kazakhstan. Speaking at the meeting, Askar Kasabekov, vice president of KazAtomProm, said that the government had already prepared a draft resolution on the project. He said that the plant, which would be sited some 10 km from Aktau, would feature OKBM's VBER-300 reactors. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources reported earlier that the feasibility study should be completed in 2009. In July 2006, Russia and Kazakhstan signed three 50-50 nuclear joint venture agreements totalling $10 billion for new nuclear reactors, uranium production and enrichment. The first joint venture with Russia's AtomStroyExport is Atomniye Stantsii for development and marketing of innovative small and medium-sized reactors. AtomStroyExport expects to build the initial one. The Mangistau region has formerly hosted a BN-350 fast-breeder reactor at Aktau, which operated between 1972 and 1999. That reactor provided 350 MW of thermal power, 150 MW of which was used to desalinate water. The remainder was used to generate electricity, resulting in a supply of about 135 MWe.