10 May (NucNet): Kyrgyzstan’s parliament is considering the introduction of a moratorium on the exploration, development, and mining of uranium deposits in the Central Asian republic, a statement by parliament said earlier this week.
The statement said the bill aims at ensuring the radiation and environmental safety of the Kyrgyzstan’s population.
“It is likely that safe methods for the extraction of uranium and thorium will be developed in the future, but let our descendants decide the feasibility of developing uranium deposits”, said Almambet Shykmamatov, one of three deputies who submitted the proposal.
Earlier this month, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament adopted a resolution banning all exploration, development and extraction of uranium resources in the country, despite previously issuing licenses to a number of overseas companies, including Canada-based Azarga Uranium.
According to Reuters, the move may expose the Kyrgyz government to compensation claims from foreign investors.
The parliament’s decision came after a series of protests against uranium mining and exploration received the backing of Kyrgyzstan’s president Sooronbai Jeenbekov earlier last week.
Kyrgyzstan has a history of uranium mining and milling during the Soviet Era and is currently in the process of carrying out overseas-sponsored remediation work at several Soviet legacy sites.
The proposed ban will therefore exclude the reprocessing of waste in Soviet-era uranium tailings.