Environmental remediation work is to commence at two former uranium mining sites in Uzbekistan,Trend reports via European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
This became known following the signing of a grant agreement between the Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA), which is EU's initiative, and the government of the country.
A 7 million euro grant provided by ERA and managed by the EBRD will finance the remediation of the facilities at Yangiabad and Charkesar located in mountains to the east of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.
The grant agreement was signed by EBRD Director of Nuclear Safety Balthasar Lindauer and Chairman of the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of Uzbekistan Narzullo Oblomurodov.
The work at the two sites is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023 and will take approximately two years to complete.
Located at 1,300 meters above sea level, in an area with high seismic risk and around 70 kilometers from Tashkent, Yangiabad was a uranium mining site for nearly 40 years. It is spread across an area of 50 square kilometers and contains about 2.6 million cubic meters of radioactive waste.
Planned remediation work at the Yangiabad site will include the closure of four shafts, the demolition of contaminated buildings and processing facilities and the relocation of several waste rock dumps.
The village of Charkesar, in mountains 140 kilometers east of the Uzbek capital, was a uranium mining site until 1995 and is still home to approximately 3,500 inhabitants. Planned remediation work at this site will include the closure of two shafts as well as the reconstruction of two water diversion channels.
The ERA, established in 2015 at the initiative of the European Union (EU) and managed by the EBRD, addresses the legacy of Soviet uranium mining in Central Asia.