Saami representative calls for a ban on uranium exploration

WFF International Arctic Programme: Ulla Klotzer - January 2009

WWF Arctic Bulletin No.4.08 page 4

The Saami Council representative on the board of the Arctic Council Indigenous People's Secretariat is calling for a ban on uranium exploration in Saami reindeer herding areas. Stefan Mikaelson says the environmental and health risks of uranium development are too great. He says that Saami parliaments and municipalities should have the right to veto any uranium development activities.

Mikaelsson says even the fact that uranium in Saami reindeer herding areas raises image problems for their products. The explosion at the Chernobyl was catastrophic for Saami reindeer herders. The radioactivity absorbed by the reindeer led to the labelling of much reindeer meat as unfit for human consumption, and caused a major image problem for reideer meat. Mikaelsson says that rather than encouraging uranium exploration, national governments in the region should invest more in renewable energy and in energy conservation projects.

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