27 September 2012

Tanzania: Local Atomic Energy Body Dispels Uranium Fears

Photo: Daily Nation
A mine site in northern Saskatchewan. Tanzania.

THE Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) Director General, Prof Iddi Mkilaha, has called upon the public to support the country's uranium development initiatives, urging that Tanzania has the capacity to safeguard against possible radiation.

According to Mkilaha, Tanzania will benefit from uranium because of growing demand for the mineral, thus emphasizing that there is need for collective voice on the matter. He said Tanzania's uranium exploration process will be carried out in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations, with strict emphasis on safety of the people who will directly be involved and the surrounding communities.

"There has been a lot of debate on the matter recently. The truth is that our lives are always exposed to various forms of radiation on daily basis. We need to embrace uranium exploration but we also need to come up with solutions of how to minimize risks."There is no need to worry. Tanzania is a member of the IAEA. We will have no option but to adhere to the IAEA regulations when mining finally begins,î" Prof Mkilaha said.

He said his commission has already embarked on capacity building for its staff, adding that up to 12 people have so far been enrolled to various institutions in the European Union (EU) and the United States, in a bid to strengthen their capacity in handling uranium aspects.Prof Mkilaha said TAEC will continue to undertake research in all uranium prospective areas and other mining areas across the country in a bid to ensure safety.

"We have worked closely with Mantra Tanzania during the first phase of its Mkuju River Project and we will continue to work closely with them when exploration finally begins. We will continue to take samples at the Mkuju site to ascertain if there are changes," he added.Prof Mkilaha, however, said TAEC is set to embark on a national sensitization campaign that will help in creating public awareness on uranium related issues.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee mid this year accepted Tanzania's request to make changes to the territory of the Selous Game Reserve to pave way for the $400 million Mkuju River Uranium Project development by Mantra Tanzania, that will give the Tanzanian coffers an annual gross turnover of at least $250 million for 15 years.

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