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IPPNW calls for a ban on uranium mining

19th IPPNW World Congress in Basel

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors.

The resolution follows on from a conference entitled “Sacred Lands, Poisoned People” held on August 26th, also in Basel, on uranium mining. Activists from all of the major mining regions around the world, many of them representing indigenous peoples, gathered together and exchanged information collated on health effects and damage to the environment. As a result of this data, representatives from the German and Swiss IPPNW affiliates submitted a resolution calling for a ban to the bi-annual meeting of the international IPPNW federation.

The findings of the conference in Basel show that uranium mining contaminates groundwater and radioactivity remains in the heaps, tailings and evaporation ponds. Uranium and its radioactive decay elements are highly toxic. They attack inner organs and the respiratory system. Scientific studies presented show that the following diseases are caused by exposition to radon gas, uranium and uranium’s decay elements: Bronchial and lung cancer; cancer of the bone marrow, stomach, liver, intestine, gall bladder, kidneys and skin, leukemia, other blood diseases, psychological disorders and birth defects.

IPPNW sees the connection to the proliferation of nuclear weapons as particularly relevant to their work. Also, an end to the practice of uranium mining would accelerate the abandonment of nuclear energy and increase pressure to change over to renewable energies.

Press Contact: Anne Tritschler, Tel.: 030-698074-14 e-Mail
German affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/Physicians for Social Responsibility, Körtestr. 10, 10967 Berlin, Germany.

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