Russian government approves draft nuclear energy agreements with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

The Russian government has approved draft agreements with the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, according to government orders.

The agreements, submitted by state corporation Rosatom, regulate the export of nuclear materials and technologies from Russia. Nuclear materials transferred to the Central Asian countries under these agreements cannot be enriched to 20 percent or exceed uranium-235 isotope, or be enriched and processed without the preliminary written approval of Russia.

The agreements also regulate the re-export and transfer of nuclear materials by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to other countries.

Under the agreements, the countries will set up joint coordinating committees on the basis of which working groups will be formed to conduct research and development work on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Rosatom and the Federal Environmental, Technological and Atomic Oversight Service (Rostekhnadzor) will be responsible for implementing the agreements on the Russian side, while on the part of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan the responsible agencies will be these countries' Energy and Industry Ministry and Emergency Situations Ministry, respectively.

The agreements will go into effect on the date that the last written confirmation is received that the parties have completed all the necessary procedures. The agreements are indefinite, and can be cancelled one year after one of the parties receives the relevant written notification.

The agreements are being signed in order to implement the intergovernmental program for recultivation of areas in EurAsEC countries affected by uranium mining operations, which will begin in 2013.

The main producers of uranium in the former Soviet Union were the Central Asian republics. Experts estimate that following the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 100 million tonnes of radioactive waste was left in uranium tailings dumps in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

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