NNSA Administrator and Principal Deputy Administrator Praise U.S.-Kazakhstan Collaboration on Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation

WASHINGTON – Jill Hruby, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and Frank Rose, Principal Deputy Administrator of the NNSA, completed a successful trip to Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 5th. The trip served as a chance for Administrator Hruby and Principal Deputy Administrator Rose to thank senior Kazakhstan government officials for the strong nonproliferation and nuclear security partnership that exists between the United States and Kazakhstan, which has resulted in many notable achievements including Project Sapphire, the conversion of three research reactors, and efforts to counter nuclear smuggling.

“Cooperation on nuclear security and nonproliferation is a cornerstone of the strong relationship between our countries,” said Jill Hruby. “Our continued collaboration demonstrates our countries’ commitment to our strategic partnership to secure fissile material and counter nuclear material proliferation.”

Administrator Jill Hruby visited Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Center, where she toured the IVG.1M research reactor. In March 2022, the IVG.1M reactor was converted from using highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, the culmination of over 10 years of collaboration between Kazakhstan and the United States. This was the third research reactor converted to LEU fuel in Kazakhstan. She also toured the BN-350 Cask Storage Facility and the Experimental Field of the Semipalatinsk Test Site as part of a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the end of U.S. explosive nuclear testing.

“Kazakhstan has been an outstanding partner of the United States on nuclear security and nonproliferation for over 30 years,” said Jill Hruby. “Few places better exemplify the close cooperation of our two countries than the city of Kurchatov and the Semipalatinsk test site.”

Administrator Hruby and Principal Deputy Administrator Rose both stopped in Almaty to visit the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) and the Nuclear Security Training Center (NSTC). INP is home to a research reactor and critical assembly that were converted to LEU fuel and from which the last remaining HEU fuel was repatriated in 2017, ensuring that material from the site could never be used by terrorists for an improvised nuclear device.

Mr. Rose also met with senior government officials in Astana to discuss NNSA’s and Kazakhstan’s long-standing partnership on countering nuclear smuggling.

“We’re proud of the decades-long U.S.-Kazakhstan cooperation,” said Frank Rose. “We feel strongly that now more than ever we must continue working together to make the region safer through our commitment to nuclear security and nonproliferation.”

Kazakhstan has partnered with the Department of Energy and NNSA since the early 1990s on multiple projects related to nonproliferation, nuclear security, radiological security, and counter nuclear smuggling. Cooperation has included security enhancements, trainings, workshops, and exercises. NNSA works globally to prevent state and non-state actors from developing nuclear weapons or acquiring weapons-usable nuclear or radioactive materials, equipment, technology, and expertise.