The ethics surrounding the nuclear industry are curious things and worthy of study. Just look at the levels of cover-ups, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda that gush from its public relations departments. You wouldn’t trust some of these people to look after a cat let alone a nuclear reactor.

To that list you can also add exploitation:

African communities are gathering to take up the fight against international companies which are mining uranium on their land and their own governments, as they are driven off their land, suffer exposure to radiation and toxic waste at mining sites…

Namibia’s Citizens for Justice tried to sue one mining company, Australia’s Paladin. The company decided to settle out of court and ‘made some concessions like agreeing to pay US$10 million for social development projects and clean water provision to the rural communities in the mining area’.

The question that needs to be asked here is why did Paladin have to be dragged to court to ‘make some concessions’? Why were Namibian citizens not able to rely on their government for protection and had to form a civil society organisation? Why are these safeguards not in place from the beginning of any mining operation? Who is it exactly who decides that a group of people’s homes and health are forfeit in the name of uranium?

There is a disturbing pattern here where people living near uranium mines seem to be regarded as having far less rights that the consumers of the electricity produced by that uranium. And we see it with the Native Americans. And with Australia’s Aborigines.

The nuclear industry is notorious for having to conduct large and expensive clean-up operations. It’s time it realised its human rights record is also contaminated.