A ceremony to launch the work on elimination of consequences of a Soviet-era uranium mining took place in Shekaftar, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development reported.
The organization noted that, despite the global turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preparations for the project had continued in recent months to ensure the timely start of construction work.
“The first remediation work will focus on the closure of six shafts in Shekaftar and the relocation of five waste-rock dumps to an existing dump at a more remote location. Once a thriving community based on uranium mining, today the town has an unemployment rate of 70%,” EBRD said.
The work is funded by the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA), established and managed by the EBRD on behalf of the international donor community.
“Work on other sites in the Kyrgyz Republic is expected to commence soon. It will follow a Strategic Master Plan developed by a group of experts under the guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The plan sets out a detailed blueprint for the environmental remediation of priority sites in the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,” the organization says.
Central Asia served as an important source for uranium in the former Soviet Union. A large amount of radioactively contaminated material was placed in mining waste dumps and tailing sites. The contaminated material is a threat to the environment and the health of the population. The hazards include the possible pollution of ground and surface water in a key agricultural center of the region. (24.kg/Ukrainian metal)