THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
International Atomic Energy Agency Low Enriched Uranium Bank
The low enriched uranium (LEU) bank will provide a dependable source of LEU to fuel peaceful nuclear power reactors for qualifying member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in case of disruptions to the open market or other existing supply arrangements for such fuel. When operational, the LEU bank will provide countries interested in nuclear energy with an alternative to acquiring a domestic uranium enrichment capability. As President Obama noted in his April 5, 2009 speech in Prague, the LEU bank is a crucial means of ensuring “that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation.”
In September 2006, the Nuclear Threat Initiative announced it would donate $50 million to the IAEA to create an LEU bank, if its grant were matched by $100 million in donations from other sources. This condition was met in 2009 with contributions from the United States Government, the European Union, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Arab Emirates. In December 2010, the IAEA Board of Governors approved establishment of the LEU bank under IAEA auspices. Additional financial support was provided by the World Nuclear Transport Institute, and Kazakhstan, which also offered to host the LEU Bank.
On August 27, 2015, IAEA Director General Yukia Amano and Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov signed an agreement for the bank to be hosted at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant. When fully operational, the LEU bank will provide a physical reserve of up to 90 metric tons of LEU, which could be used to make enough nuclear fuel to power a large city for three years.