BISHKEK (TCA) — The EU welcomes the swift ratification by Kyrgyzstan of an agreement that allows environmental remediation in a number of uranium legacy sites in the country to go ahead, the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic said on August 18.
All the basic conditions are now in place to start actual remediation work. Support has been provided to the Kyrgyz Government on the matter as part of the EU’s environmental strategy for Central Asia. The importance of these initiatives was once more confirmed in June when the EU discussed the overall progress of this environmental strategy.
The areas concerned are the uranium legacy sites of Min-Kush, Shekaftar and Mailuu-Suu. The EU has funded technical studies and environmental impact assessment. These studies allow remediation work to first start in Min-Kush and Shekaftar.
It is now clear what needs to be done to improve the living conditions in the areas. Remediation work will be implemented through the EBRD managed multilateral Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA). The EU is currently the only contributor to the ERA fund with an initial contribution of €16.5 million.
The preparatory work done so far is also supported by a Strategic Master Plan for Environmental Remediation of Uranium Legacy Sites in Central Asia. This plan was prepared under the leadership of the IAEA and it has further strengthened the technical basis on which the activities are to be done.
As a next step, the Kyrgyz Government is asked to set up the necessary structures to manage the projects. Technical assistance will be provided.
The Strategic Master Plan will be signed in September during the IAEA’s General Conference. At the same time in New York a special event will take place to further explain and discuss the progress made following a UN resolution of 2013 calling for international support to mitigate the risks in Central Asia as a result of the uranium legacy.