Saturday, May 22, 2010

‘Hot’ drinking water near uranium mine in Brazil

In October 2008, Greenpeace published data showing that drinking water around the Caetité uranium mine in the state of Bahia, Brazil was contaminated with uranium levels up to seven times higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.

The Bahia Institute of Water Management and Climate (Ingá) opened its own investigation in the matter. In November 2009 they suspended the use of water from six wells preventively, because radioactivity in the wells was found to be above allowed limits.

On 21 January 2010, Ingá and the Department of Health of Bahia notified local authorities in Caetité that another three wells need to be closed, and clean water should be supplied to the local community.

Radioactivity was again found to be too high.

Greenpeace went to the uranium mining area and discovered that the wells had not been closed yet. The mining company INB (Industrias Nucleares Brasileiras) as well as the Brazilian nuclear regulator CNEN (note: also shareholder of the mining company (!)) shamelessly claim the Ingá results to be false…

Greenpeace offered a bottle of water from one of the contaminated wells to the Secretary of the Water Resources, the local body responsible for the supply of safe drinking water. Surprisingly, Mr. Nilo Joaquim de Azevedo did not drink the water labelled “INB water: deadly delicious”….

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