Central Asia is characterized by strong vulnerability to various natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes, landslides and mudslides.

Legacy uranium and rare earth mining sites with both radioactive mining and processing waste (tailings ponds, dumps) show a quasi-continuous release of dissolved and particulate radioactive contamination into the hydrographic net, with a particularly strong increase during seasonal floods. Moreover, in seismically active areas and/or after extreme weather events landslides and mudslides lead to a sudden, very strong input of pollutants into rivers. On one hand, these discharges of radioactive pollutants into rivers cause national problems due to the large-scale contamination of agricultural areas. At the same time the uncontrolled discharge of radioactive contamination causes cross-border tensions and conflicts, as all mining sites are located in the catchment area of the Syr-Darya and Amu-Darya from which they drain into Lake Aral.

A cross-border monitoring and data/information management system may help to manage and mitigate these risks.


A research project funded under the CLIENT II programme of BMBF (German Federal Ministry for Education and Research) has been granted to a consortium consisting of

  • IAF-Radioökologie GmbH (consortium leader) – IAF

  • WISUTEC Umwelttechnik GmbH – WISUTEC

  • University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal - HSMD

under the title TRANSPOND (“Transboundary Pollution after Natural Disasters: Monitoring and Information System for Radioactive Pollution”)


The main objectives of TRANSPOND include the following:

  1. Development of Standard Operating Procedures for water and solid sampling, and alpha and gamma spectrometry of laboratories. SOPs shall be adapted to the technical, infrastructure and financial constraints so that they allow laboratories in UZ and KG to obtain quality-assured and traceable results within their constraints, sufficiently simple to be readily applied but robust and reliable to produce acceptable results under the prevailing local conditions – Responsible partner: IAF
  2. Development of an environmental information management system that allows participants to readily access and evaluate transboundary information (e.g., governments and regulatory authorities of UZ and KG) – Responsible partner: WISUTEC
  3. Development of a Benefit Sharing Manual as guideline for policy makers in the participating countries (UZ and KG) – Responsible partner: HSMD


An interview on TRANSPOND, its background and objectives, can be found here: Interview on www.fona.da

You can also follow the project on Twitter and Facebook or the our BMBF project website.