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03.12.2007_No41 / News in Brief

Ireland Rejects Uranium Prospecting Applications

3 Dec (NucNet): The Irish government has refused to grant prospecting licences for two companies to explore for uranium in the county of Donegal.

The government of the Republic of Ireland said yesterday that the refusal “signals a wider policy decision to prohibit such activity in Ireland”. The companies involved were not named by the government.

Natural resources minister Eamon Ryan said: “A prospecting licence is the first step in the mining process. Granting a licence carries an implicit policy agreement permitting its extraction should a viable prospect be discovered. This is where my concern lies.

“The most likely end use of any uranium extracted in Ireland would be for nuclear electricity generation. It would be hypocritical to permit the extraction of uranium for use in nuclear reactors in other countries, while the nuclear generation of electricity is not allowed in Ireland, and particularly while the Irish government continues to object to the operation of nuclear power generation at Sellafield (in the UK) and other locations.”

Mr Ryan also cited unspecified “environmental and public health concerns surrounding uranium mining, including contamination of ground and surface water supplies and radiation levels”.

In October 2007 a report by the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland concluded that operations at the UK’s Wylfa nuclear power plant posed no threat to Ireland.

Earlier this year, a ‘Eurobarometer’ survey of EU citizens indicated that 27 percent of Irish favoured “increased use” of nuclear, even though the country has no domestic nuclear power programme.



>>Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers)

Operations At UK N-Plant Have ‘No Health Significance’ For Ireland, Says Report (News No. 216, 1 October 2007)

EU Survey Supports ‘Common Nuclear Safety Standards’ (News in Brief No. 4, 6 March 2007)

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