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Uranium mining fears in arctic region.
 12.05.2013 23:57:33
Uranium mining fears in arctic region

3 May 2013

Over 50 groups, including Friends of the Earth Denmark, warned the Greenlandic and Danish governments today that they risk jeopardising the vulnerable arctic environment with their plans to allow uranium mining in the region [1].

Proposals to overturn a 25-year decision that prevents the extraction of uranium in the region coincide with several plans for mining uranium, along with rare earth minerals, in Greenland. These plans threaten to irreversibly damage the sensitive arctic environment and ecosystems, and include one open-pit mine in Kuannersuit, Southern Greenland, which alone would make Greenland the fifth largest uranium exporter in the world.

Palle Bendsen, from NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark, said: "Denmark rejected nuclear power in 1985, and in 1988, alongside Greenland, implemented a zero-tolerance policy towards uranium extraction. Now, Denmark and Greenland are u-turning on their stance towards nuclear, and risk sullying one of the last pristine environments on earth for a fuel they don't need."

Uranium mining in Greenland, in addition to causing substantial chemical pollution, will create millions of tonnes of radioactive tailings the leftovers from extraction. These tailings contain thorium, radium, radon and polonium, amongst the most radiotoxic substances known to man, and will remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.

These pollutants risk leaching into the local environment, accumulating in the food chain and causing comprehensive radioactive contamination with significant impacts on local communities, farming and fishing in Southern Greenland.

In addition, there are currently no financial resources to cover potential accidents or to restore any ecological damage as a result of extraction long-term economic costs of radioactive pollution in Greenland could exceed the short-term economic benefits of uranium mining, according to the organisation. There are no nuclear reactors, nor industries, that require uranium in the Danish realm.

The groups called on the Greenlandic and Danish government to preserve the arctic region's unique ecosystems by keeping their zero-tolerance policy on uranium extraction.



[1] List of groups: atomstopp_atomkraftfrei leben!, Austria (AUT), Australian Conservation Foundation (AUS), Avataq (GRL), Bellona (NOR), Bruce Peninsula Environment Group (BPEG) (CAN), Centre for Environmental Justice/Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka (LNK), Climate & Energy Group, Beyond Copenhagen collective (BCPH), India (IND)COECOCEIBA - Friends of the Earth Costa Rica (CRI), Council of Canadians (CAN), Det Økologiske Råd / The Ecological Council (DNK), Ecodefense (RUS), ECOMUNIDADES, Red Ecologista Autónoma de la Cuenca de México (MEX), Focus on the Global SouthFriends of the Earth Australia (AUS), Friends of the Earth Canada (CAN), Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth International, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Friends of the Earth Malta (MLT), Friends of the Earth US (USA), Greenpeace NordicgroundWork Friends of the Earth South Africa (ZAF), Haburas Foundation/Friends of the Earth Timor-Leste (TLS), Iceland Nature Conservation Association, (INCA) (ISL), Inuit Circumpolar Council, Greenland (ICC-Greenland) (GRL), International Network for Sustainable Energy INFORSE-EuropeJA!, Justiça Ambiental / Friends of the Earth Mozambique (MOZ), Jordens Vänner - Friends of the Earth Sweden (SWE), Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) / Friends of the Earth Korea (KOR), Magyar Természetvédők Szövetsége / Friends of the Earth Hungary (HUN), MAUDESCO - Friends of the Earth Mauritius (MUS), Milieudefensie - Friends of the Earth Netherlands (NLD), Mouvement Ecologique / Friends of the Earth Luxembourg (LUX), NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark (DNK), Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature - Friends of the Earth Norway (NOR), Nuclear Information and Resource Service NIRS (USA), Réseau "Sortir du nucléaire" (FRA), Sahabat Alam Malaysia - Friends of the Earth Malaysia (MYS), The Salzburg Platform Against Nuclear Dangers (AUT), The Swedish Anti-nuclear Movement (SWE), The Swedish Environmental Movement's Nuclear Waste Secretariat (SWE), uranium-network.org, Germany (DEU), VedvarendeEnergi / SustainableEnergy (DNK), WISE (World information Service on Energy) InternationalWomen Against Nuclear Power Finland (FIN), Women for Peace Finland (FIN), Women in Europe for a Common Future - WECF France (FRA), Women in Europe for a Common Future - WECF Germany (DEU)Women in Europe for a Common Future - WECF InternationalWomen in Europe for a Common Future - WECF Netherlands (NL), WWF Verdensnaturfonden - WWF Denmark (DNK)


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