Russia and the U.S. will help Kyrgyzstan restore the Kadzhisai uranium waste storage facility in the north of the republic.
Kyrgyzstan's Emergency Situations Minister Satyvaldy Chyrmashev has told Interfax that a Russian-U.S. pilot project to repair storage facilities with over 600,000 tones of radioactive uranium waste will be launched in Kyrgyzstan in 2003.
The Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry earlier reported that the Kadzhisai storage facility, built in the 1940s to the 1960s, is dilapidated and poses a threat to Lake Issyk-Kul and humans.
The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry has drawn up a feasibility study of repair and restoration work, Chyrmashev said.
"Russian experts have the most experience in this kind of work. The Atomic Energy Ministry conducted research on methods to restore and ensure the safety of waste storage facilities back in the Soviet era. Kyrgyzstan would therefore welcome Russian experts' involvement in the restoration of all of the republic's 30 nuclear waste facilities in the north and south of Kyrgyzstan," the minister said.
He announced that Russia extends grants to Kyrgyzstan and made $165,000 available for the pilot project and to a spending estimate. The remaining $475,000 will be provided by the U.S. government.
"Most of the work will be handled by Russian and Kyrgyz personnel. The repair work will begin this year," Chyrmashev said.
The Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry has announced that the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry's estimate indicates that about $30 million will be invested in repairs of all storage facilities and the restoration of 13 mining waste dumps.
Interfax, April 16, 2003