MAC: Mines and Communities

International scientists call for a global uranium ban

Published by MAC on 2010-09-05
Source: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has issued a strong and clear statement, requesting a ban on uranium mining and the production of "yellowcake".

For accompanying story this week, see: Canadian First Nation and Quebec citizens unite against uranium

Statement of the Pre-Congress ´Sacred Land, Poisoned Peoples´ to the 19th International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) World Congress

Read by Rebecca Wingfield-Bear (Australia) and Charmaine White Face (USA) to the Closing Plenary

29 August 2010

University of Basel, in Basel, Switzerland - Indigenous Peoples and their representatives attending the Pre-Congress ´Sacred Land, Poisoned Peoples´, at this critical time of intensifying destruction to Mother Earth and human health by nuclear resource development, have gathered and shared stories of resistance to uranium mining across the globe.

From Canada and the USA to Niger, Mali, Namibia, Tanzania and Malawi, from Russia, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India, communities facing dramatic impacts from this toxic industry have come together in unity.

Past, present and future generations of Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately impacted by uranium mining, nuclear weapons and the nuclear power industry. The nuclear fuel chain radio-actively contaminates our peoples´health, land, air and waters, and threatens our very existence and our future generations.

Uranium mining, nuclear energy development and international agreements that foster the nuclear fuel chain violate our basic human rights and fundamental natural laws of Mother Earth, endangering our survival and spiritual well-being.

The dangerous health impacts of radioactive exposure begin with uranium mining. We reaffirm the Declaration of the World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, Austria, in 1992, that uranium and its radio-active decay products must remain in the ground.

We stand in solidarity with those working for an end to uranium mining and processing, irresponsible radioactive waste management, nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

We dedicate ourselves to a nuclear free future for all people.

Global call to action for a ban on uranium mining

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

19th World Congress – Basel, Switzerland


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 pressure globally to force a change over to renewable energies.

Describing how this resolution might be implemented and by whom:

In order to achieve the goal of an international ban, IPPNW will strengthen its public education on this issue and exert influence on both national and international political decision makers.

Estimate for amount of staff time and resources required to implement this resolution:

Minimal staff time will be required, mainly for coordination of activities and communication between activists.

Estimated expenses and sources of funding:

Minimal cost for shipment of information material.

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