BISHKEK, February 14 (Itar-Tass) —— Kyrgyzstan sent back to Kazakhstan the first batch of radioactive coal, a spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“Ten freight cars with coal weighing 675.3 tons have been sent to Kazakhstan via the Lugovoye station,” the spokesman said. “As of now, five more cars have been loaded with a total of 325.1 tons of radioactive coal. They will soon be dispatched as well.”
The radioactive coal was supplied to Kyrgyzstan last fall from the Kulan deposit in neighboring Kazakhstan. In all, about 9,000 tons of radioactive coal reached Kyrgyzstan. Originally, the coal was meant to be used by the Bishkek heat plant but ultimately was found at schools and kindergartens of Kyrgyzstan’s Chui region. After it was established that radiation levels exceeded natural background levels by 15-24 times, the coal was urgently removed from children’s establishments to the Bishkek power plant and talks were launched with Kazakhstan to take this coal back where it originated from. The Kazakh side also agreed to reimburse the Kyrgyz side for transportation and storage costs.