Namibia’s uranium mines have mining output potential: Mthombeni

• By Uaueza Kanguatjivi

COMMUNICATION expert and nuclear specialist, Princess Mthombeni believes that with strong government support for expanding uranium mining and research in nuclear power possibilities, Namibia can adopt radioactive waste management regulations.

Mthombeni questioned why Namibia, the second-biggest uranium producer in the world, has not adopted a radioactive waste management regulatory body.

“Uranium lives among us. Government is responsible for making sure people are not exposed to uranium by holding those with uranium licenses accountable. Radiation exposure is an everyday occurrence. Although we cannot see or feel the presence of radiation, it lives among us. The world needs uranium, which is used in X-ray machines, cellphones, and nuclear facilities as they use uranium to produce electricity, meaning European countries such as France would get their uranium from Namibia,” Mthombeni said.

Namibia is the second-biggest uranium producer in the world, making up 10 percent of uranium produced only behind Kazakhstan, which produces 46 percent of the world’s uranium output.

She said international exposure standards recommend a dose limit of 20 millisieverts per year averaged over five consecutive years.

“When we have radioactive facilities, it is easy to contain or measure the amount of radiation. Radiation is found in areas where there are not even nuclear facilities because it does not come from nuclear facilities as such. Essentially Namibia has uranium and traces of it can be found in building materials, meaning exposure to natural radiation may occur from indoors as well as outdoors. This is from the granite, the cupboards, and the bricks that you build your houses with,” Mthombeni explained.

Mthombeni highlighted that limiting mining companies from exploring uranium activities provides further risk to people in the area uranium is found, saying if the uranium is mined, companies will be responsible for waste management.

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