Friday, September 21, 2012

The Argentine government's Nuclear Plan promotes the expansion of mining pollution

Argentina's Association of Environmental Lawyers (AAdeAA) FUNAM (Córdoba), Greenpeace, the Green-FEP, the antinuclear movement of Chubut (MACH), Oikos (Mendoza), the National Ecological Action Network (REBORN), the Ecologist Workshop ( Rosario) and the Union of Assemblies Patagónicas (UAP) warned today that the Nuclear Plan relaunched in 2006 by the National Government has the direct consequence, among others, the revival of uranium mining in the country.

In this direction, the governor of Chubut, Martín Buzzi, introduced in the provincial legislature a bill that opens the door to the mining of uranium and thorium. In this regard, detailed organizations that:

• The country has reserves of uranium secured by 10,400 tons. All of these reserves will be demanded by the current nuclear plan in place. These minerals can only be extracted by open pit mining and heap leaching with sulfuric acid.

• The advancement of nuclear plan is the only reason to develop uranium mining. While the increase in the international price of this mineral is an additional incentive, the construction of new nuclear plants are the engine of this extraction.

• Only the extension of the life of the reservoir atomic reactor, require about 3,000 tons of uranium over the next 30 years. To this we must add the plan to operate Atucha II nuclear plant and to acquire new plants abroad, representing a demand of 10,000 tons for 2030.

• In line with the above, articles 44 ° and 45 ° of that bill in Chubut province to declare nuclear minerals (uranium and thorium) of "strategic" and "provincial interest", thus promoting removal. The Provincial Council of Environment (COPRAM) and Chubut Legislature can not relax its mining legislation obeying the deployment of a technology inherently unsafe and dangerous as nuclear.

• In Chubut, Pichiñán uranium site has 145,000 tonnes of waste - "tailings" - from its operation between 1976 and 1980.

• Thirty years Pichiñán site closure, the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) did not advance in the treatment of waste and the remediation of the area.

• As a direct consequence of the above, the CNEA plans to revive the Cerro Solo deposit (part of the site Pichiñán), with estimated reserves of 4,600 tons of uranium. Similarly, in its 2019 strategic plan sets CNEA reactivation Industrial Mining Complex San Rafael, in the province of Mendoza. To allow uranium mining in Chubut, Mendoza will be the next district in conflict.

• In December 2010 the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation CNEA forced to remedy the Sierra Pintada liabilities before reactivating their exploitation.

For these reasons, organizations reject the new framework more flexible mining in Chubut province's position with respect to mining activity, expressed in the 5001 Act, and urge the Government to redirect investment in nuclear power to renewable energy, clean and safe.

Nuclear power threatens the population throughout the nuclear fuel cycle. Demand also exploitation of radioactive minerals in the country can only be extracted in the open, driving the expansion of mining very high impact. The only uraniferous activity required of the country is the remediation of the sites exploited.

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