The Slovak Parliament will consider a petition opposed to uranium mining at its December session, the parliamentary committee for agriculture and the environment decided on November 24. The petition, signed by more than 113,000 Slovak citizens and 41 local authorities from areas between Nové Mesto nad Váhom (Trenčín Region) and Zemplín (Košice Region), was submitted in September by environmental organisations Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and civil associations Sozna and Brečtan.
The director of Greenpeace in Slovakia, Juraj Rizman, told the TASR newswire that Greenpeace welcomes the committee’s decision as well as the fact that the petition was supported by all the MPs on the committee.
The civic initiative is trying to persuade MPs to take all the environmental, health-related as well as economic risks of uranium mining into consideration. Members of the initiative have also prepared proposals for legislative amendments that would widen the access of local governments to information concerning geological research. According to the activists, the main risk from mining uranium comes from the handling of enormous amounts of radioactive materials. Bearing in mind the presence of several radioactive elements in the planned mines, the waste left after ore processing could still contain as much as 85 percent of the initial amount of radioactivity. Uranium waste rock also contains several toxic substances such as arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, they said. Several mining companies have been surveying for uranium ore throughout Slovakia in recent years. Ján Foltýn from the Slovak Mining Chamber responded to the objections by pointing out the state will have a role as the owner of the areas where mining could potentially take place after geological exploration.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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25. Nov 2009 at 10:00