ASTANA – Kazakh radioecology experts and representatives of non-governmental organisations recently discussed the rehabilitation of land at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, the use of green technologies in uranium mining and the operation of Kazakh enterprises in the nuclear industry at the Atomic Energy Kazakhstan pavilion at EXPO 2017.
The event was organised by the Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan. Director of the society Natalya Zhdanova highlighted that the event aimed to encourage honest and objective talk about the work of different organisations and companies in the nuclear field and discuss problems and solutions.
Most pressing were the reports by state and non-state participants on the rehabilitation of Semipalatinsk land and the use of green technologies in the extraction of uranium. Solar batteries and wind turbines, issues of civil society development, the preservation of Kazakhstan’s natural environment and the participation of children in environmental projects were discussed as well.
According to Zhdanova, such frank, first-hand discussions are not common, but very important.
International Ecological Academy President Musagali Duambekov said the round table was very successful.
“A distinctive feature: most of the participants were from non-governmental organisations. We spoke a lot about reality, about facts and about the truth, which NGOs usually do. Energy and the nuclear industry should be developed, but we should not forget about the environment. There was a very good discussion; many expressed their opinions, representatives of state organisations reported about their operation. I hope in the future, this honest mutual understanding will continue, and we will work together,” Duambekov said.
“The event was unusual: it became a platform for public organisations to talk about their projects and problems. This is an interesting approach,” said Yuriy Strilchuk, representing the Kazakhstan Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology.
He noted such events could be improved by participants asking more questions, to discuss more topics.
“One of our positions: we cover information about the test site, because we want as many people as possible to actually find out what is happening there. … Unfortunately, radiophobia in Kazakhstan is still at a fairly high level. Therefore, we are ready to discuss anywhere the testing ground, research on it and its rehabilitation. The more people that know about this, the better,” Strilchuk said.