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EBRD sheds light on dealing with Soviet-era uranium mining sites in Uzbekistan

12 November 2021 [11:35] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

The EBRD-allocated grant to the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan will help to start preparing the necessary tender documentation for remediation works at Yangiabad and Charkesar former uranium mining sites, the official at European Bank of Reconstruction and Development told Trend.

On October 22, Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA) and the government of Uzbekistan have signed a grant agreement allowing to start preparations to completely put out former uranium mining sites in Uzbekistan.

The 2-million euro grant will support a recently established Project Management Unit (PMU), which will be dealing with the environmental remediation of the former uranium mining sites at Yangiabad and Charkesar, located in the mountains east of the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Central Asia served as an important source of uranium in the former Soviet Union. For example, located at an altitude of 1,300 metres in an area with a high risk of seismic activity, and around 70 km from Tashkent, Yangiabad was a uranium mining site for nearly 40 years. It is spread across a 50 km2 area and contains about 2.6 million m3 of radioactive waste.

Commenting on the question what Uzbek companies will take part in the work, the official noted that at this stage it is impossible to tell who the contractors will be, adding that the physical work on the ground is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2022 and will take approximately two years to complete.

"Both Yangiabad and Charkesar are former Soviet uranium mining sites. In Yangiabad planned remediation work will include closing four shafts, demolishing contaminated buildings and processing facilities, relocating several waste rock dumps to a central covered dump and other associated activities. In Charkesar planned remediation work to include the closure of two shafts and the demolition of abandoned buildings," the official said.

Previously, Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA) and the government of Uzbekistan signed a grant agreement allowing to start preparations to completely put out former uranium mining sites in the country.

The EBRD has been managing nuclear safety and decommissioning funds on behalf of the international community since 1992, when the G7 requested the creation of the Nuclear Safety Account to deal with the legacy of Soviet-era nuclear facilities.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/regions/212081.html

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