PR:Will Government unblock the way to a new uranium mine?

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=> CZECH version of this press release

Joint press release of associations Our Future Without Uranium and Calla - Association for Preservation of the Environment dated December 12, 2014
http://www.calla.cz/index.php?path=hl_stranka/tiskovky/2014&php=tz141212.php

Will Government unblock the way to a new uranium mine?

Ministers will decide at their Monday's meeting of the Minister Mládek’s plan to initiate the approval procedure, which would enable the construction of a new uranium mine at Brzkov and Horní Věžnice deposits between the towns of Polná and Přibyslav in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. In case of approval of a controversial proposal DIAMO would conduct more geological surveys, extend the protected deposit area at the expense of the municipalities and try to get a zoning permit for construction. Thus, all essential should be ready and by the end of 2017, the government will take a decision on where to obtain more than 2 billion Czech crowns for the necessary investments. Mine should then start to be built in 2019, and uranium should be extracted from 2022 [1].

The decision is to be done on the basis of erroneous arguments:

  • Unemployment assistance: in the state enterprise DIAMO’s underlying study for the Government [2] is asserted that unemployment rate in the concerned districts of Jihlava, Havlíčkův Brod and Žďár nad Sázavou is between 10-11%. In fact, the unemployment rate in the long term is considerably lower, namely between 5.8 and 6.8%. It's even less than the average unemployment rate in the Czech Republic [3]. In Brzkov there are only 2.8 % of people unemployed, in Věžnice there are 2.7% unemployed! Twenty years after this potential uranium mining out there would be suddenly a social problem, with several hundred unemployed miners.
  • Acquisition of strategically important raw materials, contribution to energy self-sufficiency: the best years of mining in Brzkov (265 tonnes of uranium per year) would not even cover half the needs of our two nuclear power plants. The total amount of extractable uranium ore in Brzkov would only serve for 7 years of operation of the reactors at Dukovany and Temelín NPPs. There should be mined just 0.4 % of the world production of uranium. Enrichment and production of nuclear fuel would still be completely dependent on foreign suppliers.
  • The price of uranium produced will be "in a range of world prices": the price of uranium mined in Brzkov should be 2.5 times higher (90 USD/lb U3O8 in realistic scenario) than the price on global markets. Based on the world nuclear industry outlook, the surplus of uranium supply over demand is predicted even in the horizon of uranium mining in Brzkov [4]. In addition, the costs calculated according to the future price do not clearly involve the reconstruction of tailing ponds in Dolní Rožínka and price loss coverage for operators of photovoltaic plants which are located there [2].

A proposal to start mining is definitely not liked by the inhabitants of the affected municipalities - mayors and associations signed a joint "Memorandum for Future Without Uranium" [5], in which they have asked for stopping all the efforts to prepare uranium mining. Also, 1,700 people signed the petition "No Uranium Mining in the Vysočina Region", which was received by the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The problem is the future significant impact on life in municipalities around a potential new uranium mine, which had experienced mining in the past. The intent means the risk of loss and groundwater pollution, dust, noise, radon release, damage to landscape and a substantial increase in heavy goods traffic.

Edvard Sequens of Calla said:"The costs that would DIAMO thanks to the government's decision spend on preparing the mining site instead of mitigating the effects of uranium mining, would be paid from the state budget. The bigger the bill for recultivation after uranium mining and processing in Dolní Rožínka requested by DIAMO from the Minister of Finance in the future, given that DIAMO did not need to generate the necessary funds for this purpose."

Marie Vencová of association Our Future Without Uranium said:"To this day, nobody has given us a persuasive argument for opening the mine. We still believe that mining will the environmental burden, uneconomical, the problem of unemployment will only be postponed and the Czech Republic will not be energy self-sufficient. Residents near the mine will be affected by uranium dust and radon release. In the event that we were offered financial compensation, which did not happen, I ask: Is there any financial compensation in exchange for damaged health? Why should we become victims?"

Further information could be provided by:

Notes:

  1. MPO document "Report on the proposal of further advancement in uranium mining of the Rožná deposit in Dolní Rožínka and prerequisites for further possible uranium mining in the Czech Republic" written in November 2014, which is going to be discussed by the Government on Monday December 22, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Feasibility study for opening the Brzkov deposit - Summary Report", GEAM, April 29, 2014
  3. Unemployment rates in the regions and districts in November 2014, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
  4. "Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand", Joint Report by OECD/NEA and IAEA - http://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/pubs/2014/7209-uranium-2014.pdf
  5. "Memorandum for Future Without Uranium" - http://www.temelin.cz/images/PDF/memorandumbrzkov.pdf
  6. For protection against automatical email address robots searching for addresses to send spam to them this email address has been made unreadable for them. To get a correct mail address you have to displace "AT" by the @-symbol and "DOT" by the dot-character (".").
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