The Kazakh government has confirmed a programme for mothballing uranium companies and clean-up operations at uranium deposits up to 2010. The aim is to protect the public from radioactive waste at former uranium companies, to inventory radioactively dangerous installations and list them in order of danger level, and to decide on the required rehabilitation work and funding. The state company Uranlikvidrudnik will be responsible for the project.
Over the past 40 years Kazakhstan developed about 20 uranium deposits and accounted for about 40% of the uranium produced in the former Soviet Union. The area affected by radioactive waste from the uranium industry is estimated at 10,000 hectares, with a total activity of about 250,000 curies. Since the 1950s, Kazakhstan has had to deal with 170m3 of radioactive waste in the form of tailings from enrichment plants, pile leaching stockpiles, tailing storage facilities at hydro-metallurgy plants, waste from non-commodity and unprocessed commodity ore.