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Next nuclear worry for US: Kazakhstan?

So far, the former Soviet state has cooperated with the US on nuclear issues. But a new report suggests that Kazakhstan might be looking to do business with other, less responsible regimes, too.

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Does Kazakhstan want to increase its nuclear commerce – doing deals with other nations that have mixed records when it comes to weapons proliferation? That is a sensitive issue which US intelligence appears to be following closely.

Since it gained independence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has cooperated with the US on key denuclearization activities. Nuclear weapons stationed on Kazakh territory were returned to Russia and their delivery systems destroyed.

But Kazakhstan is second only to Australia in reserves of uranium. It has cut a number of nuclear material deals with Russia, China, and other nations.

"Seemingly contrary to its promotion of a peaceful, nuclear weapon-free Central Asia, Kazakhstan foresees itself connected to the nuclear arena, and actively pursues collaborations with other countries in nuclear-related activities," concludes a new study from the US Director of National Intelligence's Open Source Center.

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