ANI Photo | Kazakhstan: President Tokayev puts fate of nuclear plant on referendum

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the final decision on building a nuclear plant in the country will be made by the people through a national referendum, Astana Times reported.
Tokayev, in an interview with local daily Egemen Qazaqstan, said clean nuclear energy is vital for Kazakhstan.
This is a fundamental question for the future of the national economy, he noted.
“We rank first in the world regarding the volume of natural uranium mined and produce nuclear fuel components. Therefore, I pay special attention to the question of constructing a nuclear power plant on our country’s territory. In the end, energy security questions should be resolved based on real needs and opportunities, and, of course, scientific research, and not geopolitical considerations,” Tokayev said.
The Kazakh President outlined that among citizens, some are critical of the construction of nuclear power plants, which is ‘understandable’.
“Many still remember the tragic consequences of tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site,” he noted during the interview.
He added that other ‘complex’ factors — the cost of the project and environmental aspects — need to be taken into account before a consensus is arrived at on building the nuclear plant, Astana Times reported.
“Realizing its significance, I proposed to submit the question of building a nuclear power plant to a national referendum. (…) We will witness extensive public hearings. Citizens shall consider and discuss all the experts’ arguments for and against making a balanced, thoughtful decision during the free expression of their will. This will be the decision of the people,” Tokayev added during the interview.

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