Bishkek, April 18. An international conference devoted to problems dealing with the environmental and security risks posed by remnants of the Soviet-era nuclear industry ended in Bishkek today. Its participants appealed to international donor organizations to help Kyrgyzstan to deal with the issue in order to avoid any future ecological disaster in the Ferghana valley.
Experts of the World Bank told Kyrgyz officials that the bank will consider the allocation of $5 million to Kyrgyzstan for these purposes next month. Representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Germany said that they will contribute to projects related to the uranium waste storage sites in the town Mailysuu in Southern Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan's Ecology and Emergency Situations Minister, Satyvaldy Chyrmashev, told the conference on Wednesday that $40 to 50 million is needed to rehabilitate an area polluted by waste from the uranium mines. He noted the risk of ecological disaster in the area. Chyrmashev pointed out that uranium waste storage sites could be destroyed by earthquakes and pollute the Kyrgyz and Uzbek parts of the Ferghana valley.
There are about 23 storage sites left from the uranium mines used during 1946-1967 for the Soviet nuclear industry.
Russia and the United States have allocated some 600,000 dollars for preliminary work on the polluted sites.
Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev and edited by Antoine Blua in Prague