Uranium impacts ‘must be explained’

To avoid misconceptions from infiltrating in the manner in which Uranium resources are handled in the country, further education to the masses is imperative, it has come to light.

So far communities near Mkuju River -- where Uranium exploration activities are going on -- have been airing concerns including whether Uranium related activities rendered men impotent  while causing infertility among women.

This was said by a coordinator working with the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (Taec), Mr Denis Mwalongo.

Speaking at the training workshop for journalists last Wednesday, Mr Mwalongo said: “These claims are based on wrong perceptions. We have dispatched experts to study the impact of Uranium mining at Mkuju River and found that there were no such incidences,” he said.

For his part, the Taec director general, Prof Iddi Mkilaha, said: “Uranium mining has not affected fertility among women and men in Mkuju River as some people think. We did a study and found that those claims were unfounded,” said Prof Mkilaha.

He said that unprocessed Uranium was harmless to human health and the environment.

“We also work closely with experts of International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that international standards governing Uranium related activities are followed,” said Prof Mkilaha.

So far, a thorough environmental impact assessment -- as stipulated in the Mining Development Agreement (MDA) between the government and Mantra Resources Tanzania Limited, the developer of the Mkuju project -- is yet to be concluded.

“I have personally been involved in talks during the MDA phase for Mkuju River Uranium Mining Project and from what I know negotiations were still going on. The government has yet to offer the company a mining licence,” said Prof Mkilaha.

He urged stakeholders, especially, human rights activists, not to instil fear in surrounding communities.
Source: The Citizen, www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Ludger Kasumuni in Dar es Salaam
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