PR:New Draft Raw Material Policy: Uranium Comeback to the Past Century?
Joint Press Release by Our Future Without Uranium (NBBU)  Association and Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment of December 15, 2015
The new Draft Raw Material Policy: Uranium Comeback to the Past Century?
The new Draft Raw Material Policy of the Czech Republic, prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, intends to significantly change the direction which was set after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 to gradually phase out problematic uranium mining. It considers desirable starting preparations to open a new mine for the extraction of insubstantial uranium reserves from the Brzkov-Horní Věžnice deposit. Mayors , the residents of the affected communities and environmental associations fundamentally oppose the preparation of mining in this area. The problem is the future significant impact on life in villages in the vicinity of a new uranium mine, which already have experience with mining. The plan involves risks in terms of groundwater loss and pollution, dust, noise, the emission of radon, damage to the landscape and a substantial increase in heavy goods traffic.
Investment of several billion crowns into new mine and chemical processing plant of uranium ore would only increase the debt that we pay after the previous era of uranium extraction. Just to eliminate the damage caused by in-situ leaching of uranium in Stráž pod Ralskem, the government has committed to pay 31.3 billion Czech crowns  over the next thirty years. Ongoing remediation of mining sites, waste dumps or tailings ponds will cost more billions. In accordance with the Act, GEAM in Dolní Rožínka where mining will be completed by 2017 has no necessary financial reserve for remediation and reclamation after finishing its activities because it is officially in mining slump.
Any prospective mining in Brzkov would be meaningless to increase our energy self-sufficiency: the best years of mining (265 metric tons of uranium per year) in Brzkov would not cover even half the needs of our nuclear power plants. The total amount of exploitable uranium reserves in Brzkov would serve only for 7 years of operation of the Dukovany and Temelín NPPs. We are supposed to mine only 4 per mille of uranium that is produced in the world. Concerning enrichment and production of nuclear fuel, we are still completely dependent on foreign suppliers.
Edvard Sequens of Calla said:"Paying off debts for plundering uranium will go on for decades. Yet more billions should be poured into opening new mines and chemical processing plant. In the case of uranium, claims about the contribution to energy autonomy of the Czech Republic are just a pretext, because its volume today does not cover even half the needs of operating power plants and we are not able to produce nuclear fuel out of it either."
Lucie Drahošová Stránská of NBBU said:"As residents living just a few dozens of meters from the planned pit we refuse mining. However, we do not think that this is just a local problem. Negatives, which would be brought by opening the mine, will also affect residents living kilometres away. We see the big problem, among other things, in the loss of groundwater, which is very quality around Brzkov. During this year's hot days, we all realized that water is irreplaceable. Various measures to retain water in the landscape are being invented - and we can lose water because of mining?"
Further information can be obtained from:
- Edvard Sequens, email: edvard DOT sequens AT calla DOT cz, tel.: +420 602 282 399
- Lucie Drahošová Stránská, email: lucik DOT stranska AT seznam DOT cz, tel.: +420 728 375 619
- Memorandum by the mayors of Přibyslav, Polná, Brzkov and Věžnice "We Reject Mining in Brzkov": http://www.temelin.cz/images/PDF/stanovisko_starostu_brzkov.pdf
- Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 34 dated 11 January 2012 on reporting the results of the updated risk analysis and its impact in the total costs and expenses associated with solving the consequences of in-situ leaching of uranium and related activities in Stráž pod Ralskem and the way of financing it for the period of 2012-2042
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