Letter: Rossing uranium mine

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The Independent Online
Letter: Rossing uranium mine

GIDA Nakazibwe-Sekandi, manager of corporate affairs at the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia, (letter, 10 March) is dangerously ill-informed if he believes that uranium from the mine has been used solely for electricity generation because it is covered by International Atomic Energy Authority [UN] and/or Euratom [EU] "safeguards".

Uranium imported into the EU is technically owned by the EU nuclear materials procurement/supply agency, Euratom. This agency has two divisions, the other being the safeguards department.

In a European Parliament inquiry held 10 years ago this month it was substantiated that the Euratom supply agency had provided assistance to a private uranium broker to circumvent the oversight of its sister safeguards agency.

The wheeze was possible by a process known as "flag swapping" whereby the original batch of uranium imported to the EU would in effect lose its identifiable origin as it was replaced by another batch of different origin. The uranium consignment could be spirited away to end uses not specified by the export licence declaration.

It is thus not possible for the owners of the Rossing mine to know the destiny of their uranium with any accuracy. They ought to know that.

Dr DAVID LOWRY

Stoneleigh,

Surrey

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