More opposition to Berkeley’s uranium mine in Spain

Archival photo of a protest held on May 7, 2017 against Berkeley’s mine. Photo from Stop Uranio’s Twitter page.

Nuclear energy experts from a variety of countries expressed their support this week to the actions carried out by Stop Uranio, a social platform that opposes Berkeley Minera España’s plans to open a mine in the Spanish town of Retortillo.

Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, Raquel Montón, said that Spain doesn’t need nuclear plants or mines because the country is on a promising path towards developing sustainable sources of clean energy.

According to EFE news agency, Greenpeace and other organizations such as WWF, worry about the impacts nuclear debris might have on both the environment and the local population.

Nuclear physicist and spokesperson for Ecologistas en Acción, Francisco Castejón, added to the debate by saying that Berkeley’s mine poses unnecessary risks to the people of Retortillo. “They are destroying the environment and buying politicians to be able to build their mine,” he told EFE (in Spanish). “Allowing this project to go forward would jeopardize the future of this community.”

Source: Berkeley Resources.

Castejón, together with José Ramón Berrueco from Stop Uranio, says that the company has been clear-cutting oaks in order to build its facilities and the effects of such action are already visible in the farming town.

Interviewed about this topic, French nuclear engineer Bruno Chareyron, who is the director of the CRIIRAD lab, said that neither workers nor the local population are well aware of the implications of mining uranium.

In general, Chareyron said, companies do not offer appropriate solutions to protect people from the dangers of handling any kind of radioactive material extracted from uranium mines.

The Retortillo-Santidad uranium deposit is part of Berkeley’s flagship Salamanca uranium project and it is expected to produce an average of 4.4 million pounds of uranium per year.

The Australian company’s mining license for the site is valid for an initial period of 30 years, renewable for two further periods of 30 years.

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