Nuclear wastes near Aktau are causing genetic mutations in rodents, Lada writes. 51 million tons of radioactive wastes are kept at the storage facility for uranium-containing wastes of Koshkar-Ata chemical production facility near Aktau.
The oblast administration has signed a contract with the scientific-technical park of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and its scientists made molecular-genetic tests. They showed that the structure of the chromosomes of the rodents leaving at the territory of the storage facility have developed morphological changes. The preliminary results certify that the changes in the DNA may have a lasting negative effect.
“Genome and chromosome mutations have started appearing; degradation of the DNA has been registered in the rodents. The changes may start manifesting themselves after several generations. The scientists recommended to speed up the work on reclamation of the soil to prevent further pollution of the territory with chemicals and radioactive substances. We will be monitoring the people’s health in the nearest villages. This will be the second stage of the research,” deputy Akim (Governor) of the Oblast Anuar Chuzhegulov said.
The administration is currently deciding on the sources of funding for the reclamation works and scraping of the nuclear wastes near Aktau. The cost estimates will be made after that. The authorities hope to perform the works in the nearest future.
Meanwhile, the administration denies that Koshkar-Ata wastes poses any real threat to the health of Aktau residents. Nevertheless, the administration’s representative said: “The medical-biological checks of the people have not been made yet and it is impossible to be certain. The scientists will have the final say.”
Around 105 million tons of the toxic wastes have been placed in Koshkar-Ata since 1965. The storage is located only a few kilometers from Aktau and is becoming a serious ecological issue. Regular discharge of water from chemical plants stopped after the collapse of the Soviet Union and suspension of production at the local sulfuric, nitric fertilizers and chemical-hydrometallurgical plants. And the toxic lake started drying out. Winds pick up the toxic dust from the dry bottom and carrying its to the nearest villages. There is no information on what harm this causes to the people’s health. Multiple researches and monitoring of the ecological situation have showed that there is currently no real threat of pollution of the Caspian Sea waters (Aktau city is located near the sea).