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The Institute of Nuclear Physics

Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Construction of a Storage Facility for Sealed Disused Sources of Ionized Radiation at RSE INP, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Construction of a secure regional long-term storage facility for sealed disused sources of ionizing radiation (SIRs) has been completed at the Republic State Enterprise “Institute of Nuclear Physics” (RSE INP). Construction of this facility is part of a cooperative program between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the US Department of Energy (DOE U.S.). Funding of the facility construction was made possible by GAC’s Weapons Threat Reduction Program.

After completion of the design and obtaining approvals of appropriate RK organizations construction began on the facility in May 2020. Construction was delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the RK team had to overcome several issues caused by the pandemic during the construction period. Construction was successfully completed in early July 2021.

Within July 09-14, 2021, the “Acceptance Commission” headed by the Dr. Karakozov B.K, General Director of the RSE INP worked on acceptance of the Storage Facility into operation. During these activities the technology of placing packages into storage wells was demonstrated and a comprehensive acceptance of the Storage Facility was carried out. After reviewing project documentation and inspecting the facility the RK “Acceptance Commission” declared on July 9, 2021, the facility met all requirements and was ready for operation.

Appearance of storage facility

The new built Storage Facility consists of 12 wells of the silo type with a depth of 7.5 meters, in which packages with spent disused SIRs of gamma and neutron radiation will be placed. The ground part of the Storage Facility is made in the form of a metal hangar.
RK “Acceptance Commission” accepting the RSE INP Storage Facility for DSRSs – July 9, 2021.

Demonstration of placing packages into storage

Currently, the RSE “Institute of Nuclear Physics” of the Republic of Kazakhstan has a storage facility for spent disused SIRs and annually accepts about 250 SIRs, including orphan sources. The existing storage facility of the enterprise is 80% full, which significantly limits the ability of the RSE INP to accept spent SIRs.

A large number of SIRs are used in the region (~ 65% of the total number of SIRs used in the Republic of Kazakhstan), and there is no other regional storage facility that allows storing of relatively large number of SIRs for several decades until their final disposal, or until their reprocessing. Commissioning of a new regional storage facility for long-term storage of spent SIRs on the territory of the RSE INP using modern technologies will allow:

  • Security for highly radioactive SIRs in the region once they become disused in medical and industrial applications
  • Making a significant contribution to radio ecological situation improvement in the region and in Kazakhstan as a whole, and also, taking into account the production of radiopharmaceuticals at the INP for healthcare organizations, it will contribute to solution of the public health prevention problems;
  • Using more efficiently the surviving material and technical base of the RSE INP with further development and implementation of new technologies into this sector of industry.

Construction of the storage facility for spent SIRs was carried out by the licensed construction company “PROMCOMPLECT-B” in accordance with the Project Design Package, which passed through the State Non-departmental Examination in February 2020. Architectural supervision is carried out by a licensed design company “Energoholding LTD” LLP. Technical supervision of the work is carried out by the “YRYS-Expert-Kurylys” LLP company, which has a corresponding license.