French nuclear firm tightens safety at Niger mine

Jan 17, 2013
Two giant towers emit steam at the Areva plant in Tricastin, France, on April 4, 2011. Areva said on Thursday it had beefed up safety procedures at two uranium mines in Niger after green activists said contaminated scrap metal from the facilities had been discovered at a local junkyard.

French nuclear energy conglomerate Areva said on Thursday it had beefed up safety procedures at two uranium mines in Niger after green activists said contaminated scrap metal from the facilities had been discovered at a local junkyard.

A nuclear association, CRIIRAD, and a group in Niger called Aghir In'Man said 1,600 tonnes of metal used in uranium extraction had been hauled out of the mine complexes at Arlit and were now in the public domain.

They said that around 1,000 tonnes of this had been found at a scrap metal dealer's, where handheld Geiger counter measurements in August showed gamma radioactivity levels to be "more than nine times greater than normal."

"There remains doubt about the fate of the other 600 tonnes," the groups said in a press release. "Part of this scrap 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."

Explore further: Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nuclear giant Areva to post 'significant' loss'

Dec 11, 2011

French state-owned nuclear giant Areva is to announce significant losses when it unveils its new corporate strategy this week, Industry Minister Eric Besson said on Sunday.

Recommended for you

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

2 hours ago

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

Peugeot hybrid compressed-air car set for Paris Motor Show

21 hours ago

An 860-kilogram concept city car from Peugeot indicates impressive fuel economy. This latest concept "has its sights set on meeting the French government's goal of putting an affordable 2.0l/100km (141mpg) car into production by 2020," said Jordan Bis ...

User comments : 0