HC Deb 27 February 2001 vol 363 c586W
21. Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps(a) the UK and (b) the European Union are taking to tackle environmental pollution and nuclear contamination problems in the former Soviet central Asian republics. [149723]

Mr. Battle

We are aware that water quality is one of the major environmental problems in Central Asia. The UK, in co-operation with other international donors, is encouraging improved regional water co-operation. We will also be supporting a project in the Nura-Ishim river basin in Kazakhstan to reduce industrial pollution levels.

We will be supporting a £600,000 project to produce a land use plan for the nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. We are also considering funding a decommissioning plan for the Aktau Nuclear Power Plant, and UK experts are transferring technical know-how to the plant.

The EU is supporting various projects to tackle environmental problems in Central Asia, such as water management and air pollution. It is also helping to fund the safe enclosure of the Aktau plant.