Czech government wants to mine uranium in Brzkov from 2022

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=> CZECH version of this article

Since June 2014, the association "Our Future Without Uranium" (NBBU) of Brzkov is trying to make the Regional Authority of the Vysočina Region and ministerial officials understand the absurdity of opening uranium mine in Brzkov and to persuade them to take appropriate measures to prevent mining. According to the latest information, the Czech government still wants to mine and the Regional Authority continues to support this intention, too. On the other hand, the opposition councillors support dialogue with NBBU and local municipalities.

Members of NBBU have had a busy spring, summer and autumn. At first - they founded their association at the beginning of June. By this they have taken a responsible role of defender of their rights and their home. Subsequently they held a first debate (co-organized by Calla), where they introduced their petition "NO URANIUM MINING IN THE VYSOČINA REGION" which was addressed to the Prime Minister Sobotka (1,700 signatories by mid-October), they signed the "Memorandum for a Future Without Uranium" together with four local authorities, organized the "March Against Uranium" in September and the photo exhibition "Faces of Uranium" (in cooperation with Calla) ongoing till the end of October. During the October excursion in the chemical treatment plant in Dolní Rožínka they established a direct contact with the leadership of the division GEAM of DIAMO, state enterprise, which was authorized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MPO) to produce study on the feasibility of opening uranium deposit in Brzkov-Horní Věžnice.

This feasibility study had been completed by the beginning of November, but neither the MPO nor DIAMO communicate it directly with locals, they rather avoid dealing with them and present them with a fait accompli. As the public was informed through a joint press release by Calla and NBBU and by Edvard Sequens (Energy Consultant and Chairman at Calla) during two public debates in November, which were organized by NBBU with the contribution of the VIA Foundation, the intentions of MPO are to expand the protected deposit area (CHLÚ) by August 2015, to establish the exploration area by October 2015, to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by October 2016, to approve the zoning by September 2017, to decide how to finance a construction of the mine (and a reconstruction of the chemical processing plant and tailings ponds in Rožná) by January 2018, to issue permits for the construction of the mine by December 2018, to implement the construction of the mine since mid-2019, and finally – to mine uranium from 2022. Mining should take place on the condition that the purchase price of uranium will rise above $60/lb U308. The only positive aspect is that less than a week after the November debates, to which two opposition councilors arrived, the Regional Council requested a feasibility study for opening Brzkov and Horní Věžnice uranium deposits from MPO and recommended the Regional Authority to ensure ongoing partnership dialogue with the affected municipalities (Brzkov, Věžnice, Polná, Přibyslav) regarding uranium deposits on their cadastral areas. Members of NBBU are aware that this would not happen without their activities. However, they also realize that they must engage the wider Czech (and possibly international) public in their efforts, if uranium mining is to be effectively prevented.

Olga Kališová, Calla (November 26, 2014)