February 23, 2018
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Conference in Norway highlights threat of nuclear proliferation

 File photo showing Erlan Idrissov, the former foreign minister of Kazakhstan (L), during the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Ministerial Meeting in New York, United States on Sep. 21, 2016. EFE/Miguel Rajmil

File photo showing Erlan Idrissov, the former foreign minister of Kazakhstan (L), during the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Ministerial Meeting in New York, United States on Sep. 21, 2016. EFE/Miguel Rajmil

Madrid, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- The Nuclear Security conference began Thursday in Oslo with a focus on finding solutions to the danger of the spread of nuclear weapons.

Erlan Idrissov, the former foreign minister of Kazakhstan, pointed to what he described as difficulties between the world's two largest nuclear powers, the United States and Russia.

"For us, this is a matter of concern. We have to unite. We have to come up with one voice to press on them and press with others who have, who possess nuclear weapons, to get rid of this disaster and danger forever," he said during the event in the Norwegian capital.

Idrissov, who now serves as the Kazakh ambassador to the United Kingdom, referred to his own country's strong stance against nuclear weapons.

"We are very young, we are 25 years old. But we, at the start of our independence back in 1992, were the fourth-largest nuclear power in the world," he said.

By the mid-1990s, Idrissov said, Kazakhstan had destroyed all of the roughly 1,400 nuclear weapons the country inherited after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"And we have destroyed other means of nuclear threat, the infrastructure for the delivery of nuclear weapons, the infrastructure for testing nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan was the first to close, in the Soviet days, at the end of Soviet days, to close the largest nuclear testing ground in the world, the Semipalatinsk testing ground, where 500 nuclear explosions took place," he said.

Another topic was the Low Enrichment Uranium (LEU) Bank, established in Kazakhstan by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"The Low Enrichment Uranium Bank is one good example of how Kazakhstan continues to try to help to address this deadly matter," Idrissov said.

"This is an important tool, a practical step in making sure that the world is a little bit safer in terms of the nuclear threat," he said.

The bank is intended to provide a reserve of LEU - the basic ingredient of nuclear fuel - that will be available to eligible IAEA member-states at market prices, serving as a last resort in case countries are unable to obtain LEU for power generation on the global commercial market.

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