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Mailuu-suu, Kyrgyzstan, May 2022

After the Second World War, the Soviet Union, which at the time included territories from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, decided to implement its investments in the research and extraction of uranium (the primary material for the construction of atomic bombs).

The city of Maliuu-Suu, in the Jalalabad region (in southern Kyrgyzstan) was secretly born in the Soviet era under the name of Mailbox 200 and was used to extract uranium from the mountains of the valley above. The mines remained active from 1946 until about 1970 but were managed improperly due to negligence and unfavorable geological conditions (floods causing landslides carrying nuclear waste into the surrounding waters).

By 1968, when mining operations in the area ended, they had produced more than 2 million cubic meters of tailings, or mining waste, which was hastily buried on the mountain slopes along the Mailuu-Suu River.

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