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19th World Congress – Basel, Switzerland
March 25‐30, 20010
Adopted on August 29, 2010
Title of Resolution: Global call to action for a ban on uranium mining
Submitted By: Helmut Lohrer
Affiliates: IPPNW Germany and PSR/IPPNW Switzerland
Date Submitted: August 18, 2010
Uranium ore mining and the production of uranium oxide (yellowcake) are irresponsible and represent a grave threat to health and to the environment. Both processes involve an elementary violation of human rights and their use lead to an incalculable risk for world peace and an obstacle to nuclear disarmament.
The International Council of IPPNW therefore resolves that:
IPPNW call for appropriate measures to ban uranium mining worldwide.
Reasons for Above:
Uranium mining contaminates groundwater and radioactivity remains in the heaps, tailings and evaporation ponds. Uranium and its radioactive decay elements are highly toxic. They attack inner organs and the respiratory system. Scientific studies have shown that the following diseases are caused by exposition to radon gas, uranium and uranium’s decay elements: Bronchial and lung cancer; cancer of the bone marrow, stomach, liver, intestine, gall bladder, kidneys and skin, leukemia, other blood diseases, psychological disorders and birth defects.
Approximately three‐quarters of the world’s uranium is mined on territory belonging to indigenous peoples. The inhabitants of affected regions are (for the most part) vulnerable to exposure from radioactive substances that threaten them with short‐ and long‐term health risks and damaging genetic effects.
As well as the direct health effects from contamination of the water, the immense water consumption in mining regions is environmentally and economically damaging – and in turn detrimental for human health. The extraction of water leads to a reduction of the groundwater table and thereby to desertification; plants and animals die, the traditional subsistence of the inhabitants is eliminated, the existence of whole cultures are threatened.
This is not all. Ending uranium mining also because of its relevance to the processing of uranium, its military use, the production of nuclear energy and the unresolved problem of how to permanently dispose of nuclear waste would represent a provision of preventive health care, as well as a policy of peace and reason.
Banning uranium mining would reduce the risk of proliferation. It would make uranium resources more scarce, thus accelerating the abandonment of the civil use of nuclear energy. The pressure on political decision makers to find safe methods of permanently disposing of nuclear waste would increase. Banning uranium mining would thus promote the phasing out of the irresponsible practice of using nuclear energy and increase ressure
globally to force a change‐over to renewable energies.