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Mailuu-Suu is located in Kyrgyzstan
Location in Kyrgyzstan
Coordinates: 41°15′36″N 72°26′59″E / 41.26000°N 72.44972°E / 41.26000; 72.44972
CountryFlag of Kyrgyzstan.svg Kyrgyzstan
RegionJalal-Abad Region
 • Total120 km2 (50 sq mi)
1,300 m (4,300 ft)
 • Total22,853
 • Density190/km2 (490/sq mi)

Mailuusuu (Kyrgyz: Майлуусуу) is a mining town in Jalal-Abad Region of southern Kyrgyzstan. Its area is 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi), and its resident population was 22,853 in 2009,[1] it has been economically depressed since the fall of the Soviet Union. From 1946 to 1968 the Zapadnyi Mining and Chemical Combine in Mailuu-Suu mined and processed more than 10,000 short tons (9,100 t) of uranium ore for the Soviet nuclear program.[2] Uranium mining and processing is no longer economical, leaving much of the local population of about 20,000 without meaningful work.[3]

Uranium mills[edit]

The USSR left 23 unstable uranium tailings pits on the tectonically unstable hillside above the town.[4] A breached tailings dam in April 1958 released 600,000 cubic metres (21,000,000 cu ft) of radioactive tailings into the Mailuu-Suu River.[5] In 1994, a landslide blocked the river, which flowed over its banks and flooded another waste reservoir. A flood caused by a mudslide nearly submerged a tailings pit in 2002.[6] Mailuu-Suu was found to be one of the 10 most polluted sites in the world in a study published in 2006 by the Blacksmith Institute.[7]

The World Bank approved a US$5 million grant to reclaim the tailings pits in 2004,[6] and approved an additional $1 million grant for the project in 2011.[8] However, grave threats still persist.[9]

Coordinates: 41°15′36″N 72°26′59″E / 41.26000°N 72.44972°E / 41.26000; 72.44972


  1. ^ "2009 population census of the Kyrgyz Republic: Jalal-Abad Region" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  2. ^ Djenchuraev, N. Current environmental issues associated with mining wastes in Kyrgyzstan. Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy of Central European University, Budapest, 1999.
  3. ^ Trilling, David (May 26, 2009), "Kyrgyzstan: Radioactive Legacy Vexes Bishkek", EurasiaNet
  4. ^ "Uranium in OshKyrgyzstan | Mailuu-Suu Legacy Uranium Dumps". Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  5. ^ Birsen, N.; Kadyrzhanov, Kairat K. (6 December 2012). Environmental Protection Against Radioactive Pollution: Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Environmental Protection Against Radioactive Pollution Almati, Kazakhstan 16–19 September 2002. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 59. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b Sarah MacGregor (2004-02-04). "Finding a solution for uranium waste in Kyrgyzstan - OSCE Centre in Bishkek". Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  7. ^ "Missing Controller". Blacksmith Institute. Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  8. ^ "News & Broadcast - 28, 000 Inhabitants of Mailuu-Suu Valey [sic] in the Kyrgyz Republic to Benefit from Improved and Safer Access on the Road to Villages". 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2014-01-30.
  9. ^ "Uranium in Central Asia: Poisoned legacy". The Economist. Retrieved 10 July 2015.

External links[edit]