08ASTANA616, KAZAKHSTAN – SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA616 2008-03-21 11:58 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO1336
RR RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0616/01 0811158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211158Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2115
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0451

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000616 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR OES/STC, SCA/RA, AND SCA/CEN 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: TSPL EAGR KSCA PREL PGOV KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY 
AND NATURAL RESOURCES 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (U) EST officer's January 20 - February 19 TDY visit to 
Kazakhstan provided a timely opportunity to discuss the Kazakhstani 
government's science and technology (S&T) infrastructure, 
particularly in light of continued negotiations on a bilateral 
Science and Technology Agreement.  This cable focuses on nuclear 
technology and natural resources issues.  It is one of a series of 
four cables summarizing EST officer's meetings in Kazakhstan.  End 
Summary. 
 
-------------- ------------------------- 
MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES 
-------------- ------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) EST officer met with Yevgeniy Ryaskov, deputy head of the 
Department of Technological Development and State Asset Management 
at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.  Ryaskov stated 
that the Ministry of Energy coordinates research through its 
subsidiary organizations. These subsidiaries include Kazatomprom, 
which conducts applied research into nuclear materials, and the 
National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan (NNC), which focuses on 
non-proliferation, seismic issues, and nuclear energy issues. 
Ryaskov stated the NNC currently cooperates with Los Alamos national 
labs and has a number of cooperation agreements with the U.S. 
Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy.  This 
cooperation includes management and security of the Polygon nuclear 
test site, cooperation on the decommissioning of the BN-350 reactor 
and collaboration on seismic statistics. Ryaskov stated past 
cooperation has been very helpful and he would like to see it 
expanded.  The ministry is in the process of establishing a research 
site for nuclear medicine and Ryaskov expressed interest in working 
with the National Institutes of Health.  Ryaskov added that 
Kazakhstan plans to build a number of new power stations. Kazakhstan 
would be interested in cooperation focused on personnel training as 
well as applied nuclear research. 
 
3. (SBU) Following the meeting with Ryaskov, EST officer met with 
Sergei Berezin, Head of the Co-ordination and Analysis Department, 
National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan (NNC).  Berezin said that the 
NNC currently has over 2000 employees of which 403 are of the PhD 
level and 26 are of the post-doctorate level. Berezin claimed that 
in a recent assessment of all research centers in Kazakhstan, the 
NNC was the most advanced and well equipped.  According to Berezhin, 
the NNC has not benefited much from the Bolashak scholars program, 
but there are plans to send 40 students to study abroad who will 
return to work at the NNC.  Berezin stated cooperation is good with 
the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Committee and the 
Department of Defense.  Berezin would like to see more university 
cooperation including visiting professors, lecturers and 
internships. 
 
---------------------------- 
INSTITUTE OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS 
---------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) EST officer met with Adil Tuleshev, Director of the 
Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP).  The INP is located just outside 
Almaty.  Tuleshev stated his institute is under the direction of the 
NNC.  The institute focuses on nuclear physics, radiation, solid 
state physics, applied nuclear physics, accelerator technologies, 
environmental issues, and reactor investigations.  The center has 
cooperated in the past through CRDF and according to Tuleshev has 
had strong contacts with Los Alamos, Argonne National Labs, DOE, and 
Halliburton.  He also said that the INP is currently constructing a 
center for nuclear medicine and aspires to sell nuclear medicine on 
the global market. The INP has been allocated $60 million for this 
project.  Tuleshev expressed his dissatisfaction with the 
Kazakhstani Tax Committee, noting that when INP cooperated with CRDF 
on the exchange of a particle accelerator, the accelerator was held 
up at the border because of tax problems.  Tuleshev was glad to hear 
that a bilateral S&T agreement could overcome future tax issues. 
Tuleshev was particularly interested in expanding cooperation with 
the DOE and beginning cooperation with NIH. 
 
5. (SBU) Following the meeting, Tuleshev took EST officer on a tour 
of the facilities where Tuleshev showed the WWR-K Highly Enriched 
Uranium test reactor as well as a number of labs including some of 
those recently constructed for the Nuclear Medicine Center and an 
accelerator.  The facilities maintained a high-level security with 
military guards. 
 
---------- ---------------------------------- 
CENTER FOR EARTH SCIENCES, METALLURGY AND ORE 
---------- ---------------------------------- 
 
 
ASTANA 00000616  002 OF 003 
 
 
6. (SBU) EST officer met with Nuraly Bekturganov, Director-General 
of the Center for Earth Sciences, which is headquartered in Almaty. 
Bekturganov stated the center is in charge of seven institutions 
covering the fields of
 geology, hydrology, geography, 
nanotechnology, testing of technology, renewable energy, and 
metallurgy and mining.  In the past, the center was part of the 
Ministry of Education, but after restructuring is now considered a 
government-owned joint stock company which reports to Especca, a 
government holding company.  According to Bekturganov, the center 
was granted $2 million to begin a research program on nanotechnology 
and $500,000 to research renewable energy, including solar, wind, 
hydro, and bio-energy. Although Bekturganov expressed his dismay, 
saying that these amounts were not adequate to begin such a program, 
he was hopeful that if the center were to establish partnerships 
with the U.S., it could receive more funding.  In Bekturganov's 
opinion, possible areas for cooperation include nano-technology, 
metallurgy, uranium extraction, and the copper industry. 
Bekturganov also mentioned the Managesa "cosmic rays station" 
located near the Baikinor Cosmodome.  Bekturganov would like to see 
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) cooperate in this effort to 
form an international cosmic ray station. 
 
------------------- 
EURASIAN UNIVERSITY 
------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) EST officer met with Dr. Askar Zhussupbekov, President of 
Eurasia University in Astana.  Zhussupbekov was very interested in 
future cooperation with U.S. universities.  He stated that Eurasian 
University currently has a joint degree program with the University 
of New Mexico and would like to expand this program to other 
universities.  Zhussupbekov noted that Eurasia University is one of 
two universities in Kazakhstan that is internationally accredited 
with a three-tier western degree structure (BA, MA, PhD). 
Zhussupbekov expressed interest in cooperation in the fields of 
physics, math, biology, chemistry, humanities, Turkic history, 
economics, and nuclear-track research.  Zhussupbekov introduced EST 
officer to Kazbek Baktybekov, Vice-Rector of Research, who showed 
the particle accelerator the university procured last year. 
 
---------- ------------------------ 
KAZAKH-BRITISH TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY 
---------- ------------------------ 
 
8. (SBU) EST officer met with Professor Baigunchekov, assistant to 
the Rector of the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU). The 
university is located in Almaty in the old Supreme Soviet of the 
Kazakhstan SSR.  Founded in 2002 as a joint venture with Great 
Britain, the university issues western-modeled degrees and has over 
1500 students. The major departments of the university are 
economics, ITC, and energy.  According to Baigunchekov, KBTU 
cooperates extensively with several universities in Great Britain, 
including the London School of Economics, Imperial College, and 
Cambridge University. The bulk of the university's research is 
conducted via commissioned grants from the Ministry of Education and 
Ministry of Industry and Trade. KazMuniaGas (KMG) also provides 
substantial funding through contracts for research in the oil and 
gas sector.  KMG's main interest areas include boring, exploring, 
processing, and collecting oil and gas. Baigunchekov stated he is 
very interested in future cooperation with U. S. universities and 
experts. 
 
------------------------------------ 
KAZAKH NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY 
------------------------------------ 
 
9. (SBU) EST officer met with Dr. Malis Absametov, Vice-Rector for 
Research at the Kazakh National Technical University (NTU) in 
Almaty.  Absametov stated that the university's priority areas of 
teaching and study include mining, metallurgy, geology, energy, ITC, 
machinery, and ecology.  The university has over 18,000 students and 
a staff of over 1,000.  According to Absametov, the university is 
currently working with the National Innovation Fund to establish an 
ITC park outside Almaty. Absametov stated that NTU has very strong 
cooperative ties with the University of Colorado, MIT, and Stanford. 
 NTU is also engaged in sea floor mapping of the Aral and Caspian 
Seas; as a landlocked country, Kazakhstan would welcome additional 
cooperation on related issues. Absametov is interested in further 
cooperation with U.S. universities. 
 
------------------------- 
OTHER UNVERSITIES VISITED 
------------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) EST officer visited Karaganda State Technical University, 
E.A. Buketov Karaganda State University, and Al-Farabi University. 
Each of these universities had limited contact with U.S. 
researchers.  The reaction to possible cooperation was positive. 
 
ASTANA 00000616  003 OF 003 
 
 
There was mention in Karaganda about both universities participating 
in the creation of a research center focused on coal gasification. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11. (SBU) In the nuclear sector, Kazakhstan already has a number of 
established contacts with the Department of Energy, Department of 
Defense, and the Nuclear Regulatory Committee.  As Kazakhstan seeks 
to expand into other areas of nuclear science, namely nuclear 
medicine, it would be worthwhile to foster contacts with the 
National Institutes of Health and the National Science Fund, as both 
sides could potentially benefit from additional collaborative 
research projects. 
 
ORDWAY

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