Oskemen, 28 December 2022 (TDI): The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has established a Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank. The bank is located in the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen, Kazakhstan.

For more than 60 years, the plant has handled and stored nuclear material, including LEU, safely and securely. The bank is currently open and fully stocked.

The bank aims to reassure nations and act as a last resort if the supply of LEU to a nuclear power plant is disrupted due to extraordinary circumstances and a Member State is unable to obtain LEU from the commercial market or by any other means.


The IAEA LEU Bank is a stock of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride that the IAEA owns and controls. Moreover, the Bank is a physical stockpile of 90 metric tons of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride.

It can be used to produce fuel for standard light water reactors. These reactors are the most common kind of nuclear power reactor in use today. The Bank’s LEU is capable of producing enough nuclear fuel to run a sizable metropolis for three years.

Establishment of the Bank

The IAEA opened LEU Bank Storage Facility in August 2017. Yukiya Amano, the former Director General of the IAEA, and Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan formally opened the bank.

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IAEA signed contracts to buy low-enriched uranium (LEU) in 2018. In addition,  IAEA opened the bank in 2019. The legal and regulatory requirements of Kazakhstan shall regulate the protection and reliability of the IAEA LEU Bank.

It will comply with all applicable requirements of the safety standards and security guidance manuals of the IAEA.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, the United States, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Norway, and Kazakhstan each contributed US $150 million voluntarily to help develop and run the IAEA LEU Bank.