Kyrgyzstan Seeks Culprits Over Radioactive Coal

Published February 2, 2012 10:27AM (EST)

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Kyrgyzstan's government says it will reprimand officials responsible for allowing contaminated radioactive coal to be imported into the country from neighboring Kazakhstan.

Emergency Services Minister Kubatbek Boronov said Thursday that 990 tons of tainted coal will later this week be shipped out of the northern Chui province back to Kazakhstan. Deputy Prime Minister Aaly Karashev said officials who failed to prevent the coal from being imported will be punished within 10 days.

News of the radioactive coal has sparked outrage among opposition politicians in the impoverished Central Asian nation. Some have accused Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov of benefiting financially from its purchase.

Government scientists have said that although the background radiation emitted by the coal is much higher than average, it is not lethal.

By Salon Staff

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