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Kazakhstan’s 'Nuclear Renaissance'

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Growing energy demand world-wide coupled with concerns about climate change are pushing many governments to consider either introducing nuclear energy to their countries’ energy mix or increasing its existing share. A renewed interest in nuclear energy calls for a careful examination of the challenges and advantages of a ‘nuclear renaissance.’ While there are some universal pros and cons of building nuclear power plants and producing nuclear energy, there are also country- and region-specific factors that have to be taken into consideration by each country deciding about a nuclear energy option. Kazakhstan provides an interesting case study of the global ‘nuclear renaissance’ since it is about to participate in it both domestically (by introducing indigenous nuclear energy to meet the country’s energy demand) and internationally (by striving to be one of the key players on the international uranium, nuclear fuel, and power reactors market). This paper considers the pros and cons of Kazakhstan’s nuclear energy push. It presents all major aspects of the country’s nuclear plans for the future and makes an attempt to assess potential advantages and challenges associated with these plans. However, before considering Kazakhstan’s nuclear future, a glimpse into its nuclear past is necessary. This helps to highlight an already existing nuclear infrastructure and to put current nuclear plans into the context of Kazakhstan’s overall nuclear non-proliferation policy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2009

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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