M. Batchimeg: No nuke waste to be buried in Mongolia

Our correspondent spoke with M. Batchimeg, the president’s national security adviser, about nuclear waste and other issues.
- It’s been a year since the president’s national security statement was released. Has it been implemented?

- The president’s national security statement is crucial to Mongolia’s national security policy. It is a pragmatic statement focused on resolving important issues. It is being updated and we keep working on it. And the foreign affairs statement is also being updated. But the important thing is policy, not just what is written on paper. Whenever the Government makes a decision, it must consider national security as a rule.  

- What kind of national security issues are you talking about?

- Tavantolgoi, for example. There is a certain article that the Government adheres to that foreign investment should not exceed 1/3 of total investment. This is an important policy based on Mongolia’s self-interest. It is not meant to oppose any other country. But this could limit the amount of investment from China or other countries. We must consider national security policy before accepting foreign investment in the future. I want to ask the Government if is considering the 1/3 policy when selecting bidders for the Tavantolgoi project. Tavantolgoi will show if the Government will implement or ignore the national security rules. 

- What national security issues are most important?

- There is a so-called internal security function in national security policy. The thing is, we need the Government which is promised in the Constitution. I could say that this is the most crucial issue that we face. Mongolians are now in a critical time. To manage our natural wealth and live in peace – that depends on the Government`s decision. It only depends on only a few people’s decisions. If the Government stands on Mongolian self-interest, Mongolia will see great future. 

- There is a widespread fear among the public about the possibility of burying nuclear waste from other countries in Mongolia. What is your stand on it?

- The Government and the president have clearly stated that there is no such deal. It is well known that Mongolia is a nuclear-free state. And Mongolia does not allow nuclear waste to be buried or transported, according to law. Such gossip has been around since 1990.

- What is the reason behind it?

- There are a few reasons. Firstly, Mongolia is developing its own energy industry based on our own uranium resources. And we have spoken with other countries about cooperating on this. That makes people suspicious. It has been said that some foreign countries have asked Mongolia to consider burying waste, but that does not mean there is a deal on it. Another reason is that there must be a political reason behind it because the election is approaching.

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