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Industry of Kazakhstan

The History of the Atomic Industry of Kazakhstan

2011 Minerals Yearbook U.S


The USSR State Defense Committee ordered the Committee for geological affairs to conduct exploration of uranium deposits by all "geology" organizations. This regulation is the reference point of so called "mass" uranium exploration in the USSR.


Establishment of "Volkovskaya Expedition" (now Volkovgeology JSC).


Output of first production (thorium oxalate) from 2a Plant, later the Ulba Metallurgical Plant.


Discovery of the first uranium deposit in Kazakhstan - Kurdai.


In view of the necessity for the development of physical and applied research in the field of nuclear physics and use of atomic energy in various sectors of the national economy, as well as for the purposes of training highly qualified personnel, the Academy of Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the Physics and Technology Department of the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) was established.

Early 1960

Due to the efforts of the geological associations: "Volkovgeology", "Krasnoholmskgeology", "Steppegeology" and "Koltzovskgeology" the first stage of the establishment of a uranium mineral and raw materials base, to provide stable operation of the Tselinnyi (later TsMCC), Prikaspian ("Kaskor") and Kara-Balty ("KMPP") refineries, on the territory of Kazakhstan, was completed.


Within a short period of time and under the scientific-industrial association "Luch", on the territory of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, the research reactor IGR was constructed. It allowed, as early as 1961, for the beginning of experimental studies of pulse reactor dynamics and, in 1962, for progression on to the investigation into the behavior of fuel and structural materials of perspective reactor units, including the nuclear reactor engine: the research reactor IGR – a pulse thermal reactor with a homogeneous uranium-graphite reactor core of tht thermal capacity type. It is one of the world's oldest research reactors and is now a unique source of neutron- and gamma-ray emission, characterized by high dynamics of radiation power variation.


Under the Institute of Nuclear Physics, the test nuclear reactor BBR-KР’ was commissioned in the village of Alatau (20km south of Almaty). At the site of the reactor, in addition to fundamental nuclear-physical and materials technology research and inside reactor tests, work for production of medical radioisotopes and gamma-ray sources, neutron legation of silicium and neutron-activation analysis was being conducted. The possibility of reactor core modernization was being studied in order to allow for the use of low-enriched uranium.

Late 1970

Unique deposits suitable for uranium mining by the in-situ leaching method, such as Inkai, Mynkuduk...

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