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Mongolia Balances Public Opinion With Nuclear Ambitions

Monday, May 23, 2011

In recent months, news outlets in Japan and the U.S. have reported that Mongolia is negotiating with those two countries to serve as a regional depository for spent nuclear fuel. The proposed plan would permit geographically constrained countries in the region, such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, to dispose of their spent fuel in the spacious Central Asian state.

The veracity of the reporting on the negotiations is still unknown. When the story first broke in March, the Mongolian Foreign Ministry was quick to dismiss the notion that Mongolia would host Asia's nuclear waste. The statement went on to declare that Mongolia's constitution prohibits the "import of dangerous waste to Mongolian territory." As noted last month, Mongolia has good reason to take such a stance, especially in light of the nuclear shadow cast by the recent events in Fukushima, Japan. Whether the government's position is cosmetic or genuine has yet to be comprehensively determined.       ...

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