International conference on Chernobyl
Stop the Nuclear Timebomb
Abandon Nuclear Power Now!
Statement by the Working Group
“Global Call to Action for a Ban on Uranium Mining”
at the International Chernobyl Conference of
IPPNW 8.-10. April 2011, Berlin, Germany
As with Chernobyl, the current disaster at Fukushima I, Japan, highlights the radioactive reality of the nuclear industry. Uranium from Australia and elsewhere fuels Japanese and European nuclear reactors.
We are inspired by Yvonne Margarula, representing the Mirarr people, Senior Aboriginal Traditional Owner of land where uranium is mined in the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.
On April 6, 2011, Yvonne Margarula wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon connecting the uranium mining on Mirrar country with the Fukushima crisis. In the letter she states:
“We convey our solidarity and support with all those people across the world who see in the events at Fukushima a dire warning of the risks posed by the nuclear industry. This is an industry that we have never supported in the past and that we want no part of into the future”
She also says “it is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad.”
The conference benefitted tremendously from the presence of two members of the James Bay Cree nation of Québec (the EEYOUCH OF EEYOU ISTCHEE) Pakesso Mukash and Matthew Iserhoff, on whose land uranium mining has been proposed. Hannes Lammler described how in Falea, Mali, where uranium deposits are being explored, the Mali President, Amadou Toumani Touré, announced that uranium exploration should be stopped . The working group welcomes this decision and hopes that laws to ban uranium mining will follow.
The clear lesson of Chernobyl and Fukushima is: our future cannot be nuclear. The Declaration of Basel as well as the Resolution “Global Call to action for a ban on uranium mining”, both passed at IPPNW’s 19th World Congress in Basel, Switzerland, August 2010 are a call to the people of the world to end the use of nuclear energy and stop uranium mining.
We ask the German government to learn from their own history of uranium mining in East Germany, where the former Wismut uranium mine that stopped production in 1990 is still being rehabilitated for over six billion dollars at tax payers’ expenses. The working group calls on the German government to commit to a phase-out of nuclear power and to address the severe and unresolved environmental, cultural and human rights impacts that Germany’s uranium imports have in the countries where uranium is mined.
The Panelists: Pakesso Mukash, Matthew Iserhoff, Claus Biegert, Günter Wippel, Kerstin Schnatz
download statement (pdf)