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Czech minister of industry: Revive U-mining!

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#504
18/12/1998
Article

(December 18, 1998) Only a few months after the largest single cost overrun was announced at Temelin, Czech Minister of Industry Miroslav Gregr announced in September that more reactors should be built: either additional blocks at Temelin or revive the long- cancelled communist plan to build reactors in Ostrava region, north Moravia. No wonder that this unbelievable statement initiated a strong wave of opposition from almost all sides.

(504.4964) WISE Brno- Unable or unwilling to learn from mistakes, Gregr recently came up with an even more absurd plan: to revive Czech uranium mining, as an industry that, according to Gregr, foresees a bright future in the next century.
The Czech uranium industry has a unique record of environmental damages and economic losses. For example, the leaching method implemented near Straz pod Ralskem left behind the underground filled with over four million tons of sulphuric acid, in a liquid mixture of almost all chemical elements. Tens of millions of tailings and sludge are stored in unsecured ponds at several other locations. The Ministery of Environment estimates in its studies that the cleanup costs would amount to 60 billion CZK (US$2 billion).

All governments established after the fall of communism in 1989 supported the plans for uranium mining phaseout. The official plans agreed to by previous governments have effectively closed most of the mines during the 1990s, with the target to close the remaining ones in 2001. However, now Gregr has come up with an opposite plan. He supports the idea to reopen mines that were already phased out in past years, arguing for the need to secure energy independency and miner's employment.

Jaroslav Makovicka, general director of the state-owned uranium company DIAMO, opposed the minister's plan due to its incompetence. Consequently, Gregr fired him and installed a new director, Jindrich Slosar (member of Social Democratic party). Slosar immediately announced that the plans for revival of uranium industry are good. He also announced to the labor unions that no more miners would lose their jobs. The vice-director, Josef Hurt, said the state should invest 1.2 billion CZK to buy new machinery necessary for increased uranium production, because the existing one was dismantled during the phaseout program in the past several years.

Although DIAMO started to take steps reversing the phaseout, the final decision has to be taken by the government. Unless government supports Gregr's plans, the uranium industry has to follow the valid phaseout plans.

Source: Temelin Information Service 85, 10 December 1998
contact: WISE Brno, Jan Beranek. Fax: +420-5-42210347
email: [email protected]

 


Protest Temelin completion!
Czech and Austrian antinuclear organizations are calling again for international protest against the completion of Temelin. Sign on to a protest letter and send it to Plattform gegen Atomgefahren (Platform against nuclear dangers). The first wave of letters will be handed over via the Austrian government to the Czech government before Christmas, but signatures are to be collected till March 1999.
Send signatures & protest letters to:
[email protected] or by fax: +43-732-785 602
More information: Josef Pühringer
Plattform gegen Atomgefahr
Landstrasse 31, A-4020 Linz, Austria