The Anti-Uranium Events in Prague and Brzkov

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=> CZECH version of this article

On Wednesday November 4, there were two interesting events taking place that had two things in common: uranium mining and the presence of the mayor of Brzkov, where on 18th December 2014 the Czech government gave permission to the preparation process of uranium mining.

The morning seminar in Prague was organized by the Centre for Transport and Energy (CDE), Calla and the Czech branch of CEE Bankwatch Network. It was moderated and interpreted by Ondřej Pašek from CDE. The lecturers were: Bertschen Kohrs (German epidemiologist and a founder of EarthLife Namibia (ELN)), Josef Jadrný (Deputy Governor of the Liberec Region and founder of the Naše Podještědí association), Miroslav Šuta (MD and co-founder of the Centre for Environment and Health) and Edvard Sequens (energy consultant and Calla’s chairman). Mrs. Kohrs presented results of the March 2015 study, which, for example, found out that levels of radioactivity nearby the Rössing tailings pond and mine owned by a mining company Rio Tinto greatly exceeds the permissible limits for drinking water quality according to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO allows concentration of uranium in drinking water of 30 µg/l (micro grams per litre). For comparison, the measured concentration of uranium 238 in groundwater a few kilometres from the mining village of Arandis at depth below the tailings pond was 3164 µg/l (!). The experience with groundwater contamination in Stráž pod Ralskem after uranium mining in situ (ISL) between 1967 and 1996 was shared by Mr. Jadrný. Mr. Šuta talked about zero monitoring of the effects of radon on the health of residents near the uranium mines in the Czech Republic. And Mr. Sequens dedicated most of his presentation to planned uranium mining in Brzkov.

The evening debate in Brzkov, which was co-organized by the villages of Brzkov and Věžnice, and the towns of Polná and Přibyslav in collaboration with the Our Future Without Uranium association (Naše budoucnost nez uranu, NBBU) was visited by about half of owners whose land is located within the borders of the newly expanded Protected Deposit Area (CHLÚ) Brzkov-Horní Věžnice. They came to get to know what legal options they have got if they, represented by a lawyer Luboš Kliment, along with mayors Bořil, Málek, Skočdopole and Kamarád and NBBU, decide to defend themselves against the government's decision to mine after 2022. Councillor Martin Hyský, on behalf of Vysočina Region Authority, is against uranium mining like the others, because the mining not economically viable according to the feasibility study and the study itself does not contain information on the health, environmental and social impacts, neither on housing prices effects in the community. A much-discussed topic was also that the currently valid Mining Act of 1988 does not allow land owners, municipalities and associations to take part in the administrative proceedings before the EIA process starts, and at that point it is already too late. The second most discussed topic was in connection to the borders of CHLÚ, which the state enterprise DIAMO proposed in the feasibility study. For example, the mayor of Věžnice, Málek, said that DIAMO has never explained to him why the borders of CHLÚ lead through places where exploration boreholes have never been drilled. Also, another possible argument against uranium mining that was mentioned was reference to the Raw Material Policy of 1999, which bans new uranium mining in the Czech Republic.

Presentations from Prague workshops are available on:[3213]=i-3213-2451558. Presentation by Bertschen Kohrs in English is here.

Olga Kališová, Calla (November 6, 2015)