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The Uranium Atlas

Uranium mining mostly takes place on the land of indigenous peoples in the Global South and poses extreme risks to the environment and to people’s health. Nuclear power is extremely costly, and scientists are still unsure about how to store radioactive waste. The Uranium Atlas provides an overview of data and facts that are important to answer questions about Uranium.

Dangerous and in high demand- why is uranium an indispensable for many countries.

The appeal of uranium is that it can be extracted without significant risk. Nuclear power is promoted as a supposedly climate-neutral energy source that allows countries to be independent of other suppliers. Uranium is also important for the military, because as a raw material for nuclear weapons it could potentially be used to destroy opponents in one fell swoop. Whatever way you look at it, global politics today is also nuclear politics. And everywhere, the nuclear power industry is trying to take a seat at the table.


A Sneak Peek at the Atlas...

A “Stone Age” Document Protects the Interests of the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear energy in the EU countries and Swizerland
With the EURATOM Treaty, the European Atomic Energy Community was established on 25 March 1957 by representatives from Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. The aim of the treaty was to make the use of atomic energy more widespread and to develop it further. When the European Union was reformed in 2007 with the Lisbon Treaty, the 50-year-old EURATOM Treaty remained an unchanged component of the revised agreement. Nuclear research today is still funded on the basis of EURATOM. All EU member states pay into a common fund, regardless of whether they operate nuclear power plants.

Contradictory Facts

Number of nuclear weapons on US military bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands
In 2009, US President Barack Obama spoke about a world free of nuclear weapons. Rather than following this vision, global nuclear powers have been modernizing their arsenal. Replenishing their supplies of plutonium or enriched uranium was unnecessary for this, since they already had 70,000 nuclear warheads as early as the mid-1980s. While three-quarters of these have been dismantled, the majority of explosives have not been destroyed. Under Donald Trump, there was a push to develop new, smaller, and “more tactical” nuclear weapons. However, these “smaller nuclear weapons” still provide the same destructive capacity as the Hiroshima bomb—the bomb that killed between 70,000 and 80,000 people instantly on 6 August 1945.

Using the Ocean as a Disposal Zone

Nuclear waste disposed of in the oceans
At an early stage, the USA demonstrated a fast and cheap method for disposing of nuclear waste: in 1946 they filled 200-litre barrels with radioactive waste and dumped them into the Pacific Ocean near the Farallon Islands, around 50 kilometres off the Californian coast. The ocean was used as an nuclear waste dumping ground. Decades later, the US government admitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the country had disposed of around 90,000 barrels by 1970 in various locations in the Pacific and the North Atlantic Oceans. As can be seen from statistics compiled by the IAE, several countries have followed the USA’s example: Belgium, Switzerland, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and especially the UK have misused the Atlantic as a nuclear disposal site, and have disposed of over 100,000 tonnes of radioactive waste there.

The Uranium Atlas is published jointly by the Nuclear Free Future Foundation, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Greenpeace, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation), and the NGO .ausgestrahlt.


Use It and Share It!

With the exception of cover photos, the Uranium Atlas is published under the Creative Commons license: Namensnennung – 4.0 international (CC BY 4.0 (external link, opens in a new window)). The individual infographics in the Atlas may be used if the copyright “Nuclear Free Future Foundation/Hoffmann, CC BY 4.0 (external link, opens in a new window)” appears next to the graphic (if the graphic is edited, please use “Nuclear Free Future Foundation/Hoffmann (M), CC BY 4.0”).




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