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Sabina GriffithFollowing a formal letter from 15 May 2007 notifying Kazakhstan's intention to join the ITER project, members of the ITER Organization including Director General Kaname Ikeda undertook an "exploratory mission" in October to assess the country's technical and scientific competence. Kazakhstan has a rich history in nuclear research and engineering that is tightly connected to the former USSR and subsequent close cooperation with the Russian Federation. Kazakhstan possesses large mining resources in beryllium, tantalum, niobium and uranium. Therefore Kazakhstan's researchers are particularly interested in the beryllium First Wall for ITER and the study of hydrogen interaction with other materials. The IO members reported their "positive findings" to the ITER Council that will prepare a "proposal for accession" by the next Council meeting in summer 2008.