What is the Save Nallamala Campaign

NaturFreunde's anti-nuclear blog

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1. Latest developments in uranium mining

After small highs it is Uranium price fallen again and stays on low, like these Graphics clearly shows. This is reinforced by the fact that in Japan After the Fukushima reactor disaster, very few reactors were put back into operation. As a result sold Operator Japan Atomic uses uranium, which was intended for domestic energy production - and thus further lowers the price due to the oversupply of uranium.

This means that projects that have already been started remain uneconomical. Cameco therefore announced that it no plans there, the mines that were mothballed in 2016 and 2017 McArthur River, Rabbit Lake, Crow Butte and Smith Rand Highland to be put back into operation. At the same time, the company has the Workforce in Canada since the Fukushima disaster halved; another sign of the continuing effects of the low uranium price. Cameco was directly affected because Tepco, the reactor operating company in Fukushima, terminated the acceptance contract with Cameco after the reactor accident

Meanwhile has A-Cap Resources Ltd proclaimed the construction the targeted Uranium mine in Botswana another time by two years move, in the hope that the uranium price will make mining profitable in 2021.

Meanwhile, will Kazatomprom, the Kazakh state enterprise, its Uranium productionfor another two years by 20 percentthrottle. The nuclear company hopes to reduce the supply and in the long term to increase the uranium price again.

Also in 2021 Oranos Akouta mine in Niger to close. This has been rumored for a long time (see also circular 2/2019). The reason given by the management of the Cominak subsidiary is the exhaustion of uranium reserves. In addition, mining here is currently uneconomical. With the opening of the mine in 1978, the city of Arlit in the north of Niger was first established. The residents now present the closure big questions to alternative source of incomen in the desert as well as the proper Rehabilitation.

The inefficiency also brings Sales with: Already had in September paladin targeted that Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi for sale. Hylea, renamed to lotus, has now 65 percent of the shares bought the mine. This has yet to be confirmed by the Malawian government. However, that has Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining first some editions made and expects better tax reports, more corporate responsibility, stronger environmental measures and responses to labor disputes. Only when these have been met does the ministry want to approve the sale. Paladin wants all the information as quickly as possible pass on.
In the course of this, as we reported, the Malawian government repaid Paladin 10 million Australian dollars that the company had invested in the Rehabilitation fund had paid. The sum should now be from Lotus within three years again paid in become. Given that the mine is currently uneconomical, however, it remains questionable how Lotus intends to generate the profit it needs to deposit the money.

For the Namibian Long Heinrich mine Has paladin on the other hand a provisional one Feasibility study submitted to the Consider reopening. As a starting chapter, this would require 80 million US dollars. With a further USD 30 million, production processes could also be made more effective. However, the company is still focusing on minimizing running costs.

As always, however, there are also developments that have led to the low uranium price defy. So is the company Katco, a Kazatomprom and Orano joint venture, his Muyunkum in situ leach Expand mine. Orano wants to secure a large part of its uranium production for the next few years. This requires 366 hectares of endemic forest cleared The clearing of the trees that only occur there is prohibited in Kazakhstan, as they are an important protection against desert erosion. The French state-owned company is also planning to open another mine in Kazakhstan in 2022.

In addition, has Orano With Uzbekistan a Partnership agreement to Uranium exploration and miningu closed. That forms the basis for a to be founded joint venture, in which Orano 51 percent and the State Agency for Geology and Mineral Resources (Goscon Geology) Hold 49 percent of the shares. From mid-2020, this is to become active primarily in the Navoiy region, in the uranium-rich province of Kyzylkum.

There is now a deal between the Ugandan and the russiangovernment. Both sides have one intergovernmental cooperation agreement in the field of civil use of nuclear power closed. The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni hopes to use this to promote uranium mining and thus to produce nuclear energy. As we repeatedly make clear for Tanzania, this is highly unrealistic due to the high costs and long construction phase of nuclear power plants. Operation would also be expensive, because the uranium mined first has to be processed, which would probably continue to happen in the Global North, so that the fuel elements would have to be imported again.

There is also something new on the part of the critics: one financed from federal funds US study found a high level at radioactivity in Women and Childrenthat the Diné and on whose reservation uranium was mined during the Cold War. Of 781 women who were examined in the first phase of the study, 26 percent had a higher uranium concentration than the 5 percent US citizens who had the highest concentration. To facilitate further research, the Diné also decided to exchange data with researchers in order to build a large database on health problems in children and radiation exposure.

As usual there is also from the Protest front a lot to report. In October, 300 people demonstrated against the uranium enrichment plant and the fuel assembly in Lingen. Again and again there are protests against the export of nuclear fuel to neighboring Belgium. This increased after the European Court of Justice ruled at the end of July that the decision of the Belgian government to extend the running times of Doel 1 and 2 without environmental studies was unlawful.

Sometimes it takes time for resistance to pay off. Such is the case in Colorado, USAwhere in July that Appeals court the closure and rehabilitation of the Van 4 uranium mine decided. Legislation dictates the rehabilitation of mines no later than ten years after production was halted. The Van 4 mine has been temporarily mothballed since 1989. The Information Network for Responsible Mining, Sheep Mountain Alliance, and Earthworks sued the Colorado Mining Area Remediation Committee after agreeing to extend the temporary closure. Well must Piñon Ridge Mining LLC, Subsidiary of Western Uranium & Vanadium Corporation, are tackling the redevelopment. But above all, it has to be lawwhat the renovation plans ten years after the production stop, can finally be enforced.

2. EU: lobbying for nuclear energy in Parliament, Commission and Council

As we have already warned, nuclear power is playing a growing role in how best to tackle climate change, including in the European Union. Than Eu Parliament At the end of November Climate emergencyexclaims, can be found in the resolution a passage that Nuclear power as part of future-oriented energiesidentifies: The European Parliament "Believes that nuclear energy can contribute to the achievement of climate protection goals, since its generation does not emit greenhouse gases and it also ensures a significant part of the EU's electricity generation". Such a classification could far-reaching consequences to have.

In the one presented by the EU Commission President von der Leyen Green Deal nuclear power has not yet been classified as a “clean technology”. But the Czech Republic, Hungary and France want that to change. Austria's government in particular is clearly against it. At the end of EU summit on December 12th and 13th, was now the first time agreedthat some countries cling to nuclear power. A decision was not made.

It is also still open whether nuclear power is considered climate-friendly and sustainable financial product in a List of EU which is currently being negotiated. The list is intended to determine which financial products meet criteria that support efforts against climate change, as investors * increasingly wanted such products. So far, the French government has been able to convince the EU Commission and put nuclear energy on the list. If the EU Commission prevails in the ongoing negotiations with the EU Parliament, the nuclear industry could open up Millions of EU funding access, as well as possibly from 2022 European Investment Bank loans receive. In addition, the nuclear industry could raise funds from United Nations Climate Fund to get. We only say: Don’t Nuke the Climate!

3. International impact on uranium mining in Tanzania and elsewhere

We reported that the EU with its project MC5.01 / 15B states in the Establishment of nuclear safety standards supported. The project, which began in November 2016, is part of the European Commission for Nuclear Safety and officially aims to strengthen nuclear safety and regulations in southern Africa. However, indirectly it contributes to Preparation of uranium transports in southern Africa.

The Kazakh International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is responsible for the implementation and clearly promotes nuclear power. The institute was co-founded by the EU and will tw. also financed by them. It organizes meetings for “young Africans” or wants to promote the “participation of women in the nuclear sector” in African countries. Specifically, it supported the Tanzanian government with new regulations for handling radioactive substances to work out.

In October, ISTC organized its second African Youth Atomic Summit. Here it became clear at the latest that - although no uranium is currently being mined in Tanzania - a Transport from Tanzania via Zambia and Malawi to Namibia is being considered and that the national regulations should be adjusted for this. The background to this is that so far no port in East Africa has licenses for the shipping of radioactive raw materials.

At the end of November now found that first meeting takes place where representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) participated. A few days earlier there was one Extension of the project has been approved in order to continue to promote the alignment of national regulations with regard to uranium transports through the region and the establishment of security systems for transport. In this respect, the project is preparing steps for uranium mining - not only in Tanzania.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has its finger in the game in Tanzania. So names them in their Energy Series 57 entitled "Redesigning the Uranium Resource Pathway" das Mkuju River project as a source of uranium, which is to be used for nuclear power and refers to in-situ leaching as a mining method. The Commission is clearly concerned with promoting uranium mining, but the Tanzanian project is the only one mentioned.

The UNECE is one of five regional commissions responsible for the Associated with the UN Economic and Social Council are. It deals broadly with economic issues; so the European roads go back to the Commission. Other states can join the proposals or agreements, which makes the Commission's charisma very clear. As within the EU (see I.2.), There are also governments here who are committed to defining nuclear power as sustainable and assigning it to UN Sustainability Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy).

The more than 50 member states also include Israel, Russia and the USA. It is therefore little wonder that the UNECE has a pro-atom position relates. Since the Mkuju River Project is for Russian state companyRosatom heard, the emphasis on the project is hardly surprising, but quite noticeable.

4. Uranium waste from Gronau in Russia re-enriched

Urenco has resumed its uranium hexafluoride (UF6) shipments to Russia since May 2019. The UF6 is waste that arises in the uranium enrichment plant in Gronau. According to the NRW Ministry of Economics, it should be enriched again in Russia and then sent back to Gronau. A total of 12,000 t of UF6 are to be transported to Yekaterinburg by 2022.

The previous transports of 3,600 tons were accompanied by large protests. In Russia, too, there is resistance to Germany giving up Sends nuclear waste abroad. After all, Urenco pays for the transport. However, the UF6 will be delivered to Novouralsk, where highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons is produced. The enrichment facility is known for storing UF6 containers in the open air, where they are eaten away by rust. Not only does Germany get rid of its nuclear waste in this way - it is not even safely stored.

5. Ban uranium mining: Kyrgyzstan on the advance, USA pending, lawsuit against Sweden

Committees repeatedly demand a complete ban on uranium mining and exploration. That's how it was spoken US House of Representatives At the end of October Prohibit uranium mining and geothermal exploration in and around the Grand Canyon. The law will soon be senate submitted. While MPs from all parties in the House of Representatives voted 236 to 285 for the project, the poll in the Senate uncertain. If the law gets through, the 2012 moratorium imposed by the Obama administration will now apply long-term.
According to survey are scarce 60 percent of the population in Arizona For a Continue to restrict uranium mining in and around the Grand Canyon. This is also due to reports on environmental impacts, such as the risk of groundwater contamination Flood the Canyon mine due to drilling.

Against it is Kyrgyzstan a little further: at the end of October the Kyrgyz parliament held a longer discussion Ban on mining and exploration of uranium and thorium decided. According to the provisional law, this also includes Ban (Vein Reprocessing of radioactive waste, as well as (b) des Imports of raw materials and waste, which contain uranium and thorium. The initiative for the ban was promoted by anti-nuclear activists when a company wanted to conduct uranium exploration near Lake Issyk-Kul in the spring. As a result, Prime Minister Muhamedkaliy Abilgaziyev had already issued a ban in June, but this did not include the waste. So the law signed by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov on December 16 is a great success!

At the same time, a ban can lead to Investors up for one legal action decide. So had Aura Energy Ltd announced lawsuit against the Swedish state to insert. Sweden introduced a ban on uranium mining on August 1, 2018. Aura Energy is hoping for compensation payments and is referring to the International Energy Charter Treaty.

6. India: mining, exploration and protests

In India, due to international geopolitics and energy security, more is expected to return Looking for uranium become. Targeted exploration projects are in Betul, in the state Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, in the state Chattisgarh and Nallamala in the state Telangana. Everywhere residents are fighting, whose livelihoods are endangered by exploration and mining. In Meghalaya, strong resistance has prevented exploration work from beginning for thirty years.

The Indian government has a keen interest in producing more of its own uranium. The state company UCIL is responsible for this.Government mining is therefore hardly more sensible than privately organized mining: Resistance is often violently tackled and, as the example of the Tummalapalle uranium mine shows (see below), the environment and the population suffer just as elsewhere.

The current is resistance against the planned exploration of uranium in Nallamala forest in the Telangana State extraordinary big. The Amrabad Tiger Reserve is part of the 83 km2 large area where the search for uranium has been approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The forest is one of the largest in the world and is the habitat for the Chenchu ​​society. Mining would not only destroy their livelihoods, but of course also bring with it further environmental hazards. Close to the targeted area is the Krishna River, which would be affected by the mining activities. In addition, 70,000 people would have to be resettled.

Have been for some time Calls by civil society organizations, the political opposition, environmentalists and tiger protectors against the planned exploration. Within two months there were 22,000 signatures for one Petitition together. There was also one on September 9th General strike against uranium exploration and mining, during which shops, banks and educational institutions remained closed and people from the wider area came together to block the roads to the forest for several hours. A few days later, activists successfully prevented UCIL staff from conducting uranium tests.

A first success is that that State parliament for one Request agreed that calls the central government that Uranium exploration not permitted. But that won't stop the central government from sticking to its plans. Indeed violate this against that Nature Conservation Act from 2006, which prohibits mining or other unsustainable land use in tiger reserves. Other laws They also protect societies whose livelihoods are threatened by changes in land use.

The concerns of the local communities are also due to the known consequences of the Tummalapalle uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh. The mining industry has high water requirements led to, that the Groundwater level dropped is and in many places no more water for agricultural cultivation remains.

Since August, scientists and environmentalists have also been warning of the Groundwater contamination in several villages around the mine. It is assumed that the cause of the contamination is the tailings dam of the mine and that radioactive, alkaline wastewater that contains magnesium, chromium and nickel, among other things, is continuously seeping away from there. In the surrounding villages the values ​​of these metals are higher than allowed. The uranium concentration is also extremely high: in August 2019 it was 4,000 ppb, although only 600 ppb are allowed.

What is particularly explosive is that the mine dated state-owned Indian uranium company (UCIL) is operated, but does not seem interested in repairing the damage. The villagers suffer from skin diseases and no longer have access to drinking water. A committee of experts has already called on the state government to offer medical treatments on site as soon as possible and to set up sewage treatment plants to ensure safe drinking water. The latter only happened after residents blocked UCIL cars in October to finally get drinking water available.

In addition, there is always a need for intervention from the state pollution control agency (APPCB). The APPCP directed the UCIL company to conduct studies on the health effects of radioactivity. In addition to other requirements, UCIL must also take measures to prevent the continuous seepage of radioactive waste water.

7. The first World Nuclear Waste Report for Europe

The Heinrich Böll Foundation published the first in November World Nuclear Waste Report (WNWR), the World Nuclear Waste Report, with a focus on European countries. The report is dedicated to the repository of European countries that have been targeted or used so far and comes to the observation that geological disposal is the main aim. This requires a detailed selection of a location, which is often accompanied by lengthy and important co-determination processes. Since only Finland is currently in the process of building a repository, and only Sweden and France have a facto storage facility for highly radioactive substances, more and more temporary storage facilities are being considered. This requires standards and regulations in order to seriously counter the risks.

The report also provides figures on high, medium and low levels of radioactive waste. For example, France, Great Britain, Ukraine and Germany together are responsible for 75 percent of the nuclear waste in Europe.

If the 150-page report is too long for you, the Short version get an overview.

1. Report I: Counter-conference to the IAEA conference in Vienna in October

On the morning of October 7th, 40 people gathered in front of the UN building in Vienna to hold a vigil. Inside found from October 7-11 the "International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power", organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the OECD and the Atomic Energy Agency (NEA). According to the organizers More than 500 participants from 79 countries and 17 international organizations came together, which means that they have their finger on the pulse (see I.2.).

Global 2000 and Don't Nuke the Climate took this as an opportunity to create a Counter conference on the subject "Climate Crisis - Why Nuclear Power Doesn't Help“To organize to Facts to discuss nuclear power and Strategies to develop to get out of nuclear energy. Because of course nuclear power is by no means “green” and “emission-free”. It is the most expensive technology with the most risks for nature and humans. In addition, uranium mining requires so much co2 clear that nuclear power simply cannot compete with renewables. The detailed examination of the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) played a special role.

In addition to participants from Austria and Germany, there was also Makoma Lekalakala from South Africa on site, which focused on the nuclearization tendencies in Africa. All presentations can here downloaded. It was a very successful and inspiring meeting. Even if the road to phasing out nuclear power worldwide is long: we are ready.