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BISHKEK, February 1 (Itar-Tass) —— In Kyrgyzstan, a local businessman was arrested on suspicion of providing radioactive coal for school and other social establishements boilers, the Prosecutor-General’s press-service told Itar-Tass.
“The suspect was detained and taken to a detention center in Bishkek,” the press service said. He is charged with action capable of causing an ecological disaster (ecocide) and fraud. Neither the person’s name nor the name of his firm were disclosed.
Radioactive coal was brought to Kyrgyzstan from deposits in neighboring Kazakhstan last fall. According to Kyrgyz experts, the level of radiation exceeds the tolerance limit by several times. Originally, the coal was meant for the thermoelectric power plants in Bishkek. However, when it turned out that the coal was radioactive, the authorities banned burning it. Kyrgyzstan planned to send it back to Kazakhstan, but the latter refused to accept it to this day.
“Negotiations with the Kazakh authorities over the return of the coal to the territory of the country of origin are continuing,” the press-service said.
“The legal assessment of actions by the officials concerned would be made after the investigation,” the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Kyrgyzstan said. The charges have been brought against several officials of the sanitary watchdog, the railway and customs. The Emergency Situations Ministry has been instructed to eliminate the causes contributing to the violation of radiation safety and to take the coal from the premises of the thermoelectric power plants.