Nuclear Safety

EU Special Envoy Jacek Bylica visits Astana for the IAEA LEU Bank opening

31/08/2017 - 12:50

ASTANA, 29 August – Today European Union Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation Jacek Bylica paid official visit to Astana to attend the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) Bank opening together with representatives of the USA, Norway, Kuwait, UAE and NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative).

The EU firmly supports the Non-Proliferation Treaty in all its three pillars and is looking forward to a successful 2020 Review cycle. The success of the LEU Bank project will inspire progress on the long sought for commencement of negotiations on a new treaty banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons (FMCT) – a consistent EU priority.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Bylica noted: "It is highly symbolic that this event is taking place here, on the land which has suffered so much through nuclear testing, on the International Day against Nuclear Tests. I am also very glad to see that Kazakhstan’s priorities for its historic first non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in 2017-18, along with energy security or countering terrorism, include also disarmament and non-proliferation".

The EU decided in 2011 to contribute EUR 20 million for the acquisition of the LEU. As the project advanced, last year in November 2016 the European Council took a Decision to provide additional EUR 4,3 million from the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) budget for the physical protection of the LEU in transit and storage, and for the secure management of the Bank over the next five years.


Background information

The IAEA LEU Bank will be located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) in Oskemen, a city in northeastern Kazakhstan. The funding is based on voluntary contributions from the NTI, the USA, the EU, the UAE, Norway, Kuwait and Kazakhstan, which in total equals to USD 150 million, believed to be enough to procure 90 tonnes of low enriched uranium. The EU supports this project with around EUR 25 million, out of which EUR 20 million for the purpose of acquiring the LEU and around EUR 4.3 million for safety and security related measures.


Jacek Bylica: Since 2013 the EEAS Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-proliferation, 2008-2013 Head of WMD Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO, 2004-2008 Poland’s Ambassador to UN and other international organisations in Vienna, 1989-2004 various positions in Polish Diplomatic Service, including as Director for Security Policy. Studied in Warsaw, Moscow, Beijing and Boston and holds degrees in International Relations and Law.