Press Release: August 28, 2019
What are the risks of uranium mining? And how can we clean-up uranium mines?
International Uranium Film Festival brings nuclear films and movies about uranium and its risks from Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Spain, UK (Scotland) and the USA to Portugal now in September 2019.
Several important films from 7 countries about uranium and its risks will be shown for the first time in Portugal, thanks to the International Uranium Film Festival. For example „HALF LIFE: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S LAST URANIUM MILL“ by Justin Clifton from USA and „URANIUM – TWISTING THE DRAGON’S TAIL“ by Wain Fimeri from Australia.
The International Uranium Film Festival in Portugal will take place from 13 to 15 September 2019 in one of the oldest uranium mining regions in the world, Urgeiriça (Nelas).
„If you hear or read about uranium mining most people think on Australia, Canada, USA or Namibia“, says Uranium Film Festival founder Norbert G. Suchanek. „However one of the oldest uranium mines on earth is in fact located on the „old continent“ in central Portugal, about 300 km north of Lisbon in Nelas in the district of Viseu.“
Uranium mining started in Urgeiriça more than a hundred years ago in 1913 to export the radioactive minerals radium and uranium to nuclear scientist Marie Curie in Paris. A few decades later, uranium from Urgeiriça was exported to England and USA to fuel the Manhattan project and to make Britains first nuclear Bomb, that exploded 1952 in the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia.
In the year 2000, the uranium mine was closed, but it had left behind a legacy of hazardous tailings and a contaminated environment. In 2005 started the Clean-up process (also called decommissioning or remediation) financed by the European Union. Much of the rehabilitation work in Urgeiriça has been completed, and the region is preparing for a new economic future: sustainable tourism and the establishment of a museum centre for uranium mining.
This is one of the reasons why the International Uranium Film Festival takes place here in the historic uranium mining region for the first time now in September 2019. Uranium Film Festival partner and local organiser is the association of former uranium miners of Portugal (ATMU), who fought for years for compensation and remediation of the more than 60 abandoned uranium mines and its tailings in the region.
Now the Uranium Film Festival will screen a dozen films on uranium mining, nuclear power and radioactive risks in Urgeiriça (Nelas) and the neighbouring mining towns of Viseu and Mangualde. All screenings are free, and panel discussions with filmmakers, uranium experts, scientists, former uranium miners and activists complete the program. Beside of that participants are invited to visit the closed uranium mines and the clean-up process.
Suchanek: "In Urgeiriça you can experience the history of uranium mining, its consequences and the clean-up first hand.“
In addition, just a two hours drive from Urgeiriça there is the medieval town Nisa, another important, but very different example of uranium history and anti-uranium movement in Portugal. Just a few hundred meters outside the ancient walls of Nisa lies one of the largest unexploited uranium deposits in Portugal in the ground. But instead of exploring it, the people of Nisa and its local politicians decided a few years ago, in 2008, just the opposite and banned any uranium mining in their region! The people of Nisa opted for a sustainable income from local natural resources such as extensive sheep and goat farming and the production of cheese and meat instead of the production of yellow cake (uranium oxide). For that, Nisa and his movement against uranium mining MUNN (Movimento Urânio Em Nisa Não) has received in 2012 the Nuclear-Free Future Award.
About the International Uranium Film Festival
Since 2011 the International Uranium Film Festival (IUFF) shows movies and documentaries about all nuclear risks from uranium mining to nuclear waste and nuclear accidents around the world. From Rio de Janeiro, where it started to Berlin, New York and New Delhi. During the past nine years more than 60 International Uranium Film Festivals has successfully been organised in 8 countries and about 40 cities. However the Uranium Film Festival has no big sponsors from the industry. It depends mainly on donations by concerned people. For that we kindly ask for your support. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 2000 atmospheric atomic bomb tests and their consequences, uranium mining and uranium contamination, nuclear or radioactive accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Goiânia or Fukushima shall never be forgotten nor repeated.
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