Earlier this month research by Greenpeace found that drinking water around the Caetité uranium mine in Brazil showed uranium contamination levels as much as seven times higher than World Health Organisation’s recommendations. In a significant move, Greenpeace activists in Brazil have been contacted by President Da Silva’s advisers requesting copies of the findings and asking to be kept informed of further developments.
The report has also been referred to the country’s Minister of the Environment and the head of Ibama who are responsible for licensing Brazil’s proposed Angra 3 nuclear reactor. The state water agency is also examining water and soil samples. The agency has stated that if contamination is confirmed it will suspend the water licence of Brazilian Nuclear Industries (INB, the company running the mine), putting the continued mining operation in doubt.
Brazil’s federal prosecutor has called a formal hearing on Novermber 6 to listen to the concerns of the local residents. The federal prosecutor has called for INB’s plans to double production at the mine to be halted. This may have a very real impact on the fuel supply for Angra 3.
Ironically, it was INB’s poor handling of Greenpeace’s finding that lead to the story escalating. It’s press release was picked up by local media and television companies which gave voice to the local community and affected workers and contradicted INB’s story.
This represents a great victory for the people living around and working at the Caetité uranium mine. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.