Govt allays fears over effects of uranium mining

The government yesterday sought to allay fears over human and environmental effects of uranium mining in the country.

According to the acting commissioner for minerals, Mr Ally Samaje, steps will be taken to prevent such effects, including not allowing processing of uranium in the country.

Mining have started at the Mkuju River project, in Namtumbo District, Ruvuma region and there have been concerns that the country was not well prepared to handle the effects of uranium mining.

Another step taken to reduce effects of uranium include, according to Mr Samaje, was blocking issuance of uranium dealer licences to reduce risks in handling the minerals by bypassing dealers and middlemen.

“Uranium mining activities in the country will end up at the level of ‘yellow cake’. Further processing will be done in Japan, France and Russia, because we cannot handle highly enriched uranium wastes,” said Mr Samaje.

He noted that transportation of yellow cakes has no side effects unless vandals get their hands on the cakes and mishandle them.

According to him, Uranium mines will be highly monitored to ensure that they adhere to proper procedures in exploration, mining, transportation and sales of the highly radioactive materials.

Presence of the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (Taec) which would ensure that there is a control of radiation levels that can be harmful to human beings was also another measure to control the effects of uranium, he added.
Source: The Citizen reported by  Abela Msikula from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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