[21/01/2013] About 1,600 tonnes of scrap metal originating from the uranium mine sites of SOMAÏR in Arlit and COMINAK in Akouta (both subsidiaries of Areva) have been released to the public domain. In September 2012, 1,000 tonnes were spotted at a scrap merchant in Arlit. Monitoring performed by the NGO Aghirin’man (with professional equipment provided by CRIIRAD) showed that some lots are radioactive.
According to Aghirin’man, the fate of 600 tonnes is unclear at the beginning of 2013. Some part of this scrap metal may have been sold abroad.
Questioned by AFP, Areva confirmed that last August drills, scaling machines for tunnelling and other disused tools had been taken out of the Somair and Cominak sites. “As soon as we were aware (of the practice), we immediately stopped the removal of all scrap from the sites,” it said. “These items had traces of radiological contamination that were of no consequence for public health. Levels of radioactivity were very low, as the tools had only been in occasional contact with the (uranium) mineral, which in itself has a low radioactivity level.” (AFP Jan. 17, 2013)