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Niger - uranium mining

Greenpeace reveals dangerous radiation in Niger

Article published on the 2009-12-02 Latest update 2009-12-02 17:20 TU

Areva's uranium mine at Arlit in Niger(Photo: AFP)

Areva's uranium mine at Arlit in Niger
(Photo: AFP)

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has released a report which shows dangerously high levels of radiation near two uranium mines in Niger operated by Areva, the French nuclear company.

Investigators from Greenpeace visited the mining towns of Arlit and Akokan at the start of November.

Rianne Teule from Greenpeace told RFI that, “we collected a lot of information and one of things we identified was dangerous levels of radiation in the street of one of the mining towns”.

Interview: Rianne Teule, Greenpeace

02/12/2009 by Jessica Phelan

Independent surveys on the uranium mines in Niger, which accounts for more than five per cent of total world uranium supplies, began in 2003 and hazardous radiation was measured in Akokan.

Areva confirmed this in 2007 and local NGOs then began a cleanup operation, which Areva announced was successful in September 2009.

However, as this latest investigation reveals, the problem has not been addressed. Greenpeace measured “500 times more than normal background” radiation.

They call for further independent assessment, and although they’ve approached the French company, they have “not received any response”.

“There should be a comprehensive cleanup,” says Teule.

Niger provides the European Union with 10 per cent of its uranium supplies.