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Kyrgyzstan has arrested seven government officials for allowing imported radioactive coal to be delivered to several schools, an orphanage, and a nursing home in the country, The Telegraph reports.The coal is from the Kulan mine in neighbouring Kazakhstan and was bought by a Kyrgyz state energy company.
The Prosecutor General’s office has begun criminal proceedings against the head of the Kyrgyz company which shipped the coal, and charged him with ecocide, according to Ria Novosti. Criminal cases were also opened against the health and sanitary officials who authorised the dangerous 9,000 ton-shipment.
While the amount of radiation in the coal is not lethal, it’s still higher than normal, government scientists say. However, nobody has fallen ill from the coal, and it is unclear why the coal has a higher than normal radioactive reading.
Prosecutors began investigating the consignment from the Kulan mine in November after activists discovered it was radioactive.
The case has caused an uproar in the Kyrgyz parliament, with opposition politicians calling for the government to resign and rival MPs accusing each other of receiving kickbacks from the coal shipment, the AP reports.
Kazakhstan has agreed to take back the coal after negotiations between the two nations’ energy suppliers.
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