Radiological Impact of Rössing Uranium Mine – Namibia http://www.facing-finance.org/en/2014/04/radiological-impact-of-rossing-uranium-mine-namibia/ April 17th, 2014 by jdub / facing finance
At the Annual General Meeting of Rio Tinto in London, 15 May 2014, two recent reports about the impact of the uranium mine Rössing near Arandis, Namibia, on the environment and health were presented to the shareholders.
In cooperation with Earthlife Namibia, the French organizationCRIIRAD (Commission de Recherhe et d’Information Independantes sur la Radioactivite) analyzed the radiation of soil, water and sediments samples taken near Rössing´s mine caused by the tailing dams and waste rock dumps. Results show elevated levels of heavy metals and uranium in the samples up to more than 2000 times higher than WHO recommendations.
In their study, Earthlife Namibia surveyed the health status of current and former workers of the mine. Many of them complained of health problems, among them respiratory problems and illnesses due to the constant exposure to radon gas and dust.
CRIIRAD and Earthlife Namibia demand more independent research on radiation at the Rössing mine, a broad independent examination of the health status of workers and access to monitoring data for experts, as well as workers´ unrestricted access to their own medical reports.
Read CRIIRAD´s report here
Read Earthlife Namibia´s report here
Irresponsible spending on nuclear weapons infrastructure http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/203685-irresponsible-spending-on-nuclear-weapons-infrastructure By Eric Tamerlani 17 April 14 Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been wasted on U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure—again. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) wasted about $600 million on the design of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The waste was confirmed by Bruce Held, NNSA administrator. In an April 8 House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing chaired by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Held said that half of the $1.2 billion spent on designing the UPF is “just gone.”
Responsible for maintaining the nuclear weapons arsenal and laboratories that support the arsenal, NNSA is a federal civilian contracting agency that oversees major construction contracts. A major contract is defined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as having a value over $750 million.
NNSA’s major contracts are on GAO’s “High Risk List,” susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. When it comes to big construction jobs, NNSA seems to have more money than sense. To their credit, NNSA has improved on managing projects less than $750 million; several smaller projects were completed on time and on budget. Unfortunately, the UPF is among the latest examples of NNSA’s failure to responsibly manage large contracts.
Half the money spent on designing the facility is gone with nothing to show for it. The start of UPF’s construction has been delayed by at least 10 years. According to Held, the facility may not be finished until 2038—“well after most people who are today working at Oak Ridge would be long retired.” Each representative and senator on the Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittees should wonder how a federal agency with several major contracts could let one project slip so perilously out of control. When mismanagement leads to exorbitant waste and abuse of the taxpayer, it is time to take a closer look. Rep. Rogers was right: it is awful.
Nuclear weapons facilities have operated on an assumption that government objectives are better met by the skill and expertise of private industry. Facilities would be owned by the government, and industry would be contracted to operate the facilities. That relationship has worked in some other functions of the Energy Department, particularly the Office of Science, but the model seems to have failed the UPF project.
The management and operating contractor for the UPF was Babcock and Wilcox Technical Services Y-12 (B&W), which has since been replaced on the project. NNSA would oversee B&W as the private contractor carried out the majority of the work to design and build the UPF. B&W was free to achieve the NNSA’s performance goals as they saw fit, which is in line with the thinking that government defers to the expertise of industry.
In the process, B&W subcontracted UPF’s design to four other companies and then failed to consolidate or supervise the subcontractors’ work. This led to an untenable design which was scrapped and over half a billion tax dollars were paid to a handful of companies for nothing the government could use. More rigorous performance standards for contractors have since been put in place. However, more can be done. A peer review process could be used at NNSA. Private engineers and managers from other contractors across the nuclear weapons complex could critique each other’s plans, under NNSA direction, before embarking on large construction projects. This would provide assessment of projects from companies that work for NNSA but are not working on the project being considered.
Additionally Congress could place the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of supervising all major NNSA construction projects until NNSA has a better track record with the GAO. The Corps has helped other parts of the government with fledgling construction responsibilities and they could teach the NNSA a thing or two.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation opposes all nuclear weapons and the facilities that support their modernization. However, you don’t have to be a Quaker or pacifist to realize the millions our government throws down the drain on the UPF and other mismanaged projects at NNSA is poor public policy.
Demanding accountability from federal contractors, requiring independent performance evaluation from across the complex, and supplementing industry expertise with the Army Corps of Engineers protects taxpayers from waste and abuse and certifies the NNSA can be effective at overseeing large projects that it delegates to industry.
Tamerlani is the program assistant for Nuclear Disarmament at the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Iran slashes nuclear stock, says UN http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=968784 April 18, 2014 Iran has cut its stock of highly-enriched uranium by 75 per cent, a new report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog has revealed.
The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed Tehran remained in compliance with a November interim deal made with world powers, drawn up as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to Iran’s controversial nuclear drive.
Under the agreement, Iran pledged to ‘dilute’ half of its highly-enriched uranium by mid-April, with the rest to be converted by mid-July.
The IAEA report also said that progress on a plant in Tehran that will be used for the conversion of low-enriched uranium had been delayed, but that Iran had said this will not prevent it from fulfilling its part of the deal by the July 20 deadline.
Diplomats who saw the document told AFP everything was in order.
The international community was ‘keeping an eye’ on progress at the conversion plant in Tehran, one of the diplomats added.
Under the November deal, Iran agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear activities, including limiting enrichment. Enriching uranium can be part of a peaceful atomic drive but can also produce weapons-grade material for a bomb.
Tehran has consistently said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, while the West believes it has a military dimension.
Iran and six world powers – the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — will next meet on May 13 in a bid to draw up a lasting accord and end the decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
A study based on questionnaires of current and former workers at the giant Rio Tinto-owned Rössing uranium mine in Namibia says that everyone questioned was aware of people who are now suffering lung infections and unknown illnesses thought to be linked to their work.
The mine, in the Namib desert, produces around 7% of the world’s uranium but was operated with rudimentary safety when it opened in 1976. “People get sick. We are seeing it in people that have worked for Rössing for a long time. They just go back and die after working at Rössing,” one man told researchers working with Earthlife Namibia and the Labour Resource and Research Institute.
The study, which is expected to be published this week, accepts that working conditions in the mine have greatly improved but says that all workers questioned said that they were exposed to high levels of dust.
“Two current workers are on sick leave since 2000 and 2003. One worked as a laboratory technician for 24 years and claims to have proof he was radiated,” says a summary of the paper seen by the Guardian.
Rössing, which mines millions of tonnes of rock a year to extract uranium, employs more than 1,500 people. “Most workers stated that they are not informed about their health conditions and do not know if they have been exposed to radiation or not. Some workers said they consulted a private doctor to get a second opinion,” say the authors.
“The older workers all said they know miners dying of cancers and other illnesses. Many of these are now retired and many have already died of cancers,” says the report.
Aerial view of the discharge channels from Rössing, the world’s largest opencast uranium mine. Photograph: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/CorbisA spokesman for Rio Tinto said that Rössing has been recognised by independent consultants as one of the world’s safest mines. “The health and safety of our employees is the top priority. We have health management systems in place to make sure that everyone goes home safe and healthy every day. Effective controls ensure that radiation exposures to employees are kept well below the Rössing standard for occupational radiation exposure.
“The company keeps detailed records of the health status of its workforce from the day of employment to the day they leave the company. It therefore does not need to speculate on health issues of its employees.”
One former worker said: “Yes, I have cancer now. In the beginning they [Rio Tinto] did not want to give money for the treatment but later when they referred me to a doctor for an operation they gave me money for treatment.”
“Doctors were told not to inform us with our results or tell our illness. They only supply you with medications when you are totally finished up or about to die,” said another.
During the first years of operation, Rössing operated with a migrant labour system which the International Commission of Jurists declared illegal and said was similar to slavery. Black workers lived on the mine premises and were exposed to dust and radiation 24 hours a day and the mine became the focus for protests by anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear groups.
Shares in the mine are owned 69% by UK-based Rio Tinto, and 15% by the government of Iran. The Namibian government has denied supplying Iran with Namibian uranium which could be used for nuclear weapons.
The Erongo region is home to Rössing mine, the oldest and third-largest producer of uranium in the world. The mine sustains the small satellite town (population 7,600) of Arandis, which is visible near the top of the image. Photograph: ALI/EO-1/NASA“Uranium companies generally deny that workers get sick because of exposure to radiation. They blame the bad health conditions to unhealthy lifestyles such as eating habits, tobacco smoking and alcohol,” says the study.
Former Rössing mineworkers and people from communities adversely affected by Rio Tinto mines in west Papua, Madagascar, Namibia, Mongolia and the US will petition Rio Tinto shareholders at Tuesday’s annual meeting in London.
“Rio Tinto is enormous. Its history of attacks on workers’ rights, and environmental destruction has had a particularly damaging impact across the world,” said Richard Solly, co-ordinator of LondonMining Network, an alliance of human rights, development, environmental and solidarity groups.
Enough Uranium, but Nuclear Power Is Still Shrinking http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/enough_uranium_but_nuclear_power_is_still_shrinking_20140412 By Paul Brown, Climate News Network This piece first appeared at Climate News Network.
LONDON—There is enough uranium available on the planet to keep the world’s nuclear industry going for as long as it is needed. But it will grow steadily more expensive to extract, because the quality of the ore is getting poorer, according to new research.
Years of work in compiling information from around the world has led Gavin M. Mudd from Monash University in Clayton, Australia to believe that it is economic and political restraints that will kill off nuclear power and not any shortage of uranium, as some have claimed.
Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that renewables do not have the disadvantages of nuclear power, which needs large uranium mines that are hard to rehabilitate and which generates waste that remains dangerous for more than 100,000 years.
In addition, research shows that renewable technologies are expanding very fast and could produce all the energy needs of advanced economies, phasing out both fossil fuels and nuclear.
Mudd, who is a lecturer in the department of civil engineering at Monash, has compiled decades of data on the availability and quality of uranium ore. He concludes that, while uranium is plentiful, mining the ore is very damaging to the environment and the landscape.
It is expensive to rehabilitate former mines, not least because of the dangerous levels of radiation left behind. As a result many of the potential sources of uranium will not be exploited because of opposition from people who live in the area.
‘Too cheap to meter’
His paper examines the history of uranium mining and its wild fluctuations in price. These have little to do with supply, but rather with demand that is badly affected by nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, and by the political decisions by governments to embark on new nuclear building programmes, or to abandon them.
“Despite the utopian promise of electricity ‘too cheap to meter’, nuclear power remains a minor source of electricity worldwide”, Mudd writes. In 2010 it accounted for 5.65% of total primary energy supply and was responsible for 12.87% of global electricity supply. Both contributions have effectively been declining through the 2000s.
“Concerns about hazards and unfavourable economics have effectively slowed or stopped the growth of nuclear energy in many Western countries since the 1980s.”
The Fukushima accident in Japan has accelerated the trend away from nuclear power. The growth in projects in some countries, notably China, Russia and India, does not offset the fact that many more nuclear power stations will reach retirement age over the next 15-20 years than will be constructed.
Among the factors Mudd considered in the fluctuation of supply was the conversion of Russian and American nuclear weapons into power station fuel supplying 50% of American needs since the mid-1990s, and 20% of global uranium supply. This has not materially affected the long-term supply of uranium.
Another issue that is more politically contentious is the high cost of rehabilitating mines, notably in Germany and the US. In many of the countries where uranium has been mined and no rehabilitation attempted, the prospect of further mining is blighted. Mudd gives the examples of Niger, Gabon, Argentina and Brazil, where there has been considerable public opposition to opening up fresh deposits as a result.
If these resources and other uranium deposits elsewhere in the world are to be exploited, Mudd argues, the issue of rehabilitating existing and future mines needs to be addressed.
“There is a critical need for a thorough and comprehensive review of the success (or otherwise) of global U mine rehabilitation efforts and programmes; such a review could help synthesise best practices and highlight common problems and possible solutions,” he says.
The paper also examines in detail the quality of the ore and the difficulty of extracting uranium from various rocks. Mudd concludes that as time passes the richer ores in the rocks that are easiest to extract are becoming scarce.
As a result, for each pound of uranium extracted more greenhouse gases are generated, adding to the CO2 emissions of nuclear power. However, he believes, in the overall comparisons of various energy systems the increase is only marginal.
“The future of nuclear power clearly remains contested and contentious — and therefore difficult to forecast accurately. While some optimists remain eternally hopeful, reality appears to be relegating nuclear power to the uneconomic category of history.
“Overall, there is a strong case for the abundance of already known U resources, whether currently reported as formal mineral resources or even more speculative U sources, to meet the foreseeable future of nuclear power. The actual U supply into the market is, effectively, more an economic and political issue than a resource constraint issue,” Mudd says.
A flood through Moab uranium tailings could poison Las Vegas drinking water An unseasonable flood through a 17 million ton uraniam tailing pile 500 miles upstream in Moab, Utah could spell the end of Las Vegas valley’s drinking water supply. Isn’t it about time mainstream science started paying attention to radiation remediation methods? by Sterling D. Allan Pure Energy Systems News , 13 April 14
Fukushima saw a situation in which the engineers who built the facility did not properly anticipate the magnitude of storm that ended up hitting the facility on March 11, 2011. Their having put the emergency pumps in the basement further shows their total denial about what mother nature could do.
Such a catastrophe actually hangs over Las Vegas as well, and the extend of mother nature’s unleashing wouldn’t be that high above normal. Ninety percent of Vegas valley’s drinking water comes from the Lake Mead reservoir, which is in the Colorado River drainage (source) — about 500 miles downstream from a 17 million ton uranium tailing pile in Moab, Utah. There is no containment berm protecting the pile from an unseasonably flooding Colorado River. Below is an email I received today from my New Energy Congress associate, Gary Vesperman, who lives in Boulder City, Nevada, neighboring Lake Mead. I share this for two reasons. One, to hopefully prevent such a thing from unfolding by spurring remedial measures; and second, to get you scientists among us thinking more about how we can remediate radiation in general.
It’s an email Gary wrote to John Hutchison, who has working on nuclear remediation for several years, and is coming up with some promising results……..http://pesn.com/2014/04/13/9602470_Flood-through-Moab-Uranium-tailings_could-poison-Vegas-drinking-water/
South Dakota groups urging cleanup of uranium mines http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/04/09/south-dakota-groups-urging-cleanup-uranium-mines/7499621/ Associated Press, @ap7 April 9, 2014 RAPID CITY — Some environmental groups plan to use Earth Day to call attention to old uranium mines in South Dakota and elsewhere.
Defenders of the Black Hills and Clean Up The Mines say they’ll announce a nationwide campaign to clean up all abandoned uranium mines in the United States.
The event is scheduled for April 22 near Hermosa.
The groups say South Dakota has at least 270 abandoned, open-pit uranium mines.
Uranium Miners in Namibia Face Rise in Water Price, Paladin Says http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-04/uranium-miners-in-namibia-face-rise-in-water-price-paladin-says By Felix Njini April 04, 2014 Uranium miners in Namibia, already coping with water shortages in the semi-arid Erongo region, face a steep rise in costs, Paladin Energy (PDN) Ltd. said.
“When we get it, sometimes we have problems with the quality of the water and the cost,” said Simon Solomons, managing director of Paladin’s Langer Heinrich mine. “At the moment there is no long-term solution to the water-supply situation.”
The mines operated by Paladin, Rio Tinto Plc and China General Nuclear Power Group rely on water from a 20 million-cubic-meter capacity desalination plant operated by Areva SA, a French reactor maker. Areva is in talks to sell a majority stake in the plant to state utility Namibia Water Corp. after shelving its Trekkopje project in 2012 as uranium prices slumped in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Namwater has “to look for finance to buy the plant,” Solomons said yesterday during a tour of the Subiaco, Western Australia-based company’s mine. “They will pass on those charges to the uranium mines.”
Calls to Namwater weren’t immediately answered.
The three mines, which require as much as 10 million cubic meters of water a year, were previously supplied by the Omaruru Delta aquifer, which has dwindling volumes as demand from the mines and surrounding towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay rises.
Langer Heinrich, which consumes 130,000 cubic meters of water a month, has had “no long-term and no firm discussion” with Namwater over supplies, Solomons said.
Namibia is the fourth-largest uranium producer after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.
To contact the reporter on this story: Felix Njini in Windhoek at email@example.com
Environmental group sues uranium mill operator,http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/environmental-group-sues-uranium-mill-operator/article_2293f9e6-bc40-11e3-8d5a-0019bb2963f4.html Annie Knox – Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY 4 April 14 — An environmental group is suing the operator of a southern Utah uranium mill, alleging it has hiked pollution levels in neighboring communities.
Grand Canyon Trust filed the suit in Utah federal District Court Wednesday against Energy Fuels Resources over operations at its San Juan County White Mesa Mill.
The group says the mill’s radon emissions in 2012 and 2013 surpassed federal standards and alleges the company ran more waste pits during that time than federal regulations allowed.
Trust attorney Anne Mariah Tapp says emissions from the nation’s last operating conventional uranium mill pose serious health risks.
Energy Fuels has announced plans to in summer halt processing ore from regional mines, including ones near the Grand Canyon, and possibly restart next year.
It did not immediately return phone messages Friday afternoon.
Westinghouse, Ukraine Near Deal on Nuclear Fuel for Reactors Extension of Contract Could Also Lessen Reliance of Other Former Communist States on Russia WSJ, By SEAN
CARNEY April 3, 2014 The United States and Ukraine are on the verge of deepening their ties in nuclear energy while lessening the influence of Russia on the former Soviet state’s economy and geopolitical orientation.
Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse Electric Co. on Thursday said it’s in negotiations to extend its contract with Ukraine’s Energoatom and supply nuclear fuel for three reactors, a deal that would bolster Ukraine’s commitment to long-term cooperation with the West.
“Westinghouse is currently in discussions with Energoatom to agree on an amended fuel supply contract,” Westinghouse spokesman Hans Korteweg said.
Ilona Zayets, spokeswoman for state-owned Energoatom, said the two sides were in final negotiations on the deal and added that Energoatom hopes to sign the contract next week……….
The nuclear contract being negotiated would renew and extend for an unspecified number of years an existing fuel contract between Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp, and Ukraine’s state-owned Energoatom. ……..
A senior Westinghouse official late last year said the fuel deal is worth roughly $100 million for a five-year supply and that a renewal of the Ukraine supply contract was essential for the company in keeping its Swedish fuel processing plant in operation.
The Swedish plant is the sole non-Russian facility globally that produces fuel for use in Russian-designed reactors used in EU countries, and it is a crucial outpost as the West aims to check Russian influence in Europe’s eastern regions.
If the deal goes through as expected, it would also provide the Czech Republic and Bulgaria—which both have Russian VVER 1000-type reactors—with an alternative supplier of nuclear fuel in years to come.
Russia’s state-owned Rosatom and Westinghouse are the only producers of fuel for this reactor type.
Czech utility CEZ AS early in the last decade used Westinghouse fuel but later switched to Russian-made fuel.
Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, which is the primary nuclear fuel supplier to Ukraine as well as most post-communist countries in Europe that use Russian VVER-type reactors, wasn’t immediately available to comment. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303847804579479543798143068?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303847804579479543798143068.html
Navajo to benefit from $1B for uranium cleanup http://www.chron.com/news/science/article/Navajo-to-benefit-from-1B-for-uranium-cleanup-5374413.php By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press | April 3, 2014 FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — More than $1 billion is going to help clean up abandoned uranium mines that have left a legacy of disease and death on the Navajo Nation.
The money is part of a $5.15 billion settlement that the federal government reached with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for the cleanup of thousands of long-contaminated sites nationwide. The settlement announced Thursday resolves a legal battle over Tronox Inc., a 2005 spinoff of Kerr-McGee Corp. that Anadarko acquired in 2006.
Kerr-McGee once operated about 50 uranium mines in the Lukachukai Mountains of northeastern Arizona near Cove and a uranium mill in Shiprock, N.M. Uranium waste was thrust over the mountain side and carried by rainwater across the land used by hikers, anglers, medicine men and Navajo shepherds, said David Taylor, an attorney with the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.
“I have a feeling of just deep appreciation for the Navajo children, who literally are playing in uranium piles today who aren’t going to have to do that in the future,” he said.
But, Taylor added: “The path before us is still monumental. We’ve got a good start now, and I hope we can build on that.”
The more than $1 billion will address about 10 percent of the tribe’s inventory of abandoned uranium mines. About 4 million tons of uranium ore were mined from the reservation from 1944 to 1986 for wartime weapons. Many families still live among the contamination and fear drinking water polluted by uranium. Navajo President Ben Shelly said the settlement will ease some concerns about public health.
About $1 billion of the money benefiting the Navajo Nation will be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco. Of that, nearly $87 million will be set aside specifically for two sites known as the Quivira Mines near Church Rock, N.M. The Navajo Nation separately will receive $43 million to address Shiprock mill, where uranium ore was processed near the San Juan River, the EPA said.
The federal government has been working for years with the Navajo Nation to address the more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the reservation, but they’ve been hampered by the costs of remediation and the unwillingness of some companies to pay for cleanup of their previous operations.
Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator in San Francisco, said federal agencies spent about $100 million as part of a five-year cleanup plan. The EPA is drafting a second, five-year plan, but the budget is expected to be much less, he said.
“The mess that’s on the Navajo Nation in terms of abandoned uranium mines should never have been put there, and all of us have been waiting for this day to start to make a big dent in the cleanup,” he said.
The mountainous sites near Cove rarely are visited, but a network of roads established for mining, logging and firewood gathering provide access. Tribal officials say Navajo medicine men gather plants and herbs for prayer and healing purposes from the mountains, and families set up summer camps where sheep graze nearby.
The federal government initially sought $25 billion to clean up decades of contamination at dozens of sites. A U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York ruled in December that Kerr-McGee improperly shifted its environmental liabilities to Tronox and should pay between $5.15 billion and $14.2 billion, plus attorneys’ fees.
Anadarko CEO Al Walker said the settlement eliminates the uncertainty of the dispute.
Blumenfeld said Navajos have struggled with the legacy of uranium contamination for too long. He said dozens of tribal members already have been trained in how to properly dispose of and transport contaminated waste, and they soon can be put to work.
“It’s one of those environmental justice burdens that has garnered a lot of attention and, thankfully, now it’s garnering a lot of money,” Blumenfeld said.
Clamping down on tweets Mar 26th 2014, by Economist.com Thorium the wonder fuel of Tomorrowland by Oliver Morton HOW the Doppler effect helped locate the likely remains of MH370, why thorium will not be the fuel of tomorrow and how Turkey (tried to) shut Twitter down
Serbian Minister, UN representatives discuss depleted uranium http://inserbia.info/today/2014/03/serbias-minister-un-representatives-discuss-depleted-uranium-sites/sites BELGRADE – Serbia’s Minister without portfolio for Kosovo-Metohija Aleksandar Vulin has discussed with UN representatives in Belgrade the progress made in research on locations in Serbia where higher levels of depleted uranium have been detected. Vulin on Thursday met with Peter Due, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade, and UN Resident Coordinator Irena Vojackova-Solorano, the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo-Metohija said in a statement.
Following field research in 1999 and 2002, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published reports on locations with higher levels of depleted uranium, the statement said.
During the 1999 bombing campaign, NATO forces used banned depleted uranium ammunition and Yugoslav Forces figures said that 30,000 to 50,000 rounds of depleted uranium ammunition were scattered on 112 locations across the country, but mostly in Kosovo-Metohija.
On the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Vulin discussed with the UN representatives the progress made in research on locations with higher depleted uranium levels in the territory of central Serbia, but also in Kosovo-Metohija.
Such research is helpful not only to Serbia, but also to other countries, Minister Vulin said.
Vojackova-Solorano said that the reports were the first of their kind and that the time has come to monitor the situation again, especially if the Serbian government has evidence of an impact of the bombing campaign on the health of the population in Serbia, the statement said.
She said that the UN agency will strive to provide support to Serbia’s health care system in the coming years.
Due also inquired about the progress in the technical negotiations on establishing the community of Serb municipalities and organising judicial authorities in northern Kosovo-Metohija.
Minister Vulin reiterated that any armed force in Kosovo-Metohija other than Kfor – the force envisioned by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 – is absolutely unacceptable to Serbia.
Uranium Mining http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2014-03-28/article/41964?headline=Uranium-Mining—-By-Tejinder-Uberoi March 28, 2014 In a stark example of environmental racism, Native Indians have become the target of toxic uranium mining. Energy Fuels Resources recently obtained federal approval to reopen a mine in close proximity to the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim entrance.
Environmental activists have joined forces with Native Navajos to protest the decision siting serious health risks. Earlier uranium mining has scarred the landscape and left deposits of radioactive waste from 1,000 closed mines. The mining companies failed to adequately remove the radioactive wastes which have resulted in a dramatic increase in cancer and other serious ailments.
One native Indian activist, Klee Benally, remarked that “this is really a slow genocide of the people, not just indigenous people of this region, but it’s estimated that there are over 10 million people who are residing within 50 miles of abandoned uranium mines.” The long term impact of contaminated water seepage into groundwater and its impact on wildlife have been ignored. The five-year cleanup plan initiated by the EPA has also been ignored.
San Francisco Peaks, an area considered sacred by 13 Native tribes, has been severely impacted; to compound health concerns is the practice of using treated sewage water to make snow at the popular Snow bowl resort. The future of indigenous tribes has been railroaded over the interests of corporate greed and government watchdogs have fallen asleep at the wheel.
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