After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the newly independent states of Central Asia have confronted a number of unresolved issues related to the Soviet legacy of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) development programs. One of the most serious problems that has public health, environmental and security risk dimensions is the presence across the region of former uranium production and storage facilities such as abandoned uranium mines, related uranium tailings and waste rock dumps. These sensitive unprotected sites contain highly hazardous radioactive and toxic wastes, which were byproducts of uranium mining and reprocessing. Over the years, the Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan played an important role in the Soviet military-industrial complex hosting a large uranium industry that extracted local uranium and processed uranium transported from Eastern Europe.
Dauren Aben holds a Master’s in International Relations from Kainar University, Almaty, Kazakhstan, and a Master’s in International Policy Studies and certificates in nonproliferation studies, conflict resolution, and commercial diplomacy from the California-based Monterey Inst