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Greenpeace urges gov’t to scrap plans for uranium extraction

By Mohammad Ghazal - May 28,2014 - Last updated at May 28,2014

AMMAN — Greenpeace called on the government on Wednesday to annul plans to build a plant for the extraction of uranium.

Safa Jayyousi, Arab world regional manager at Greenpeace Mediterranean, urged the government to rescind its decision as soon as possible, saying building such a plant will have disastrous consequences on mankind.

The French company AREVA ended its contract with the government last year on uranium exploration and extraction due to the availability of uranium in “low qualities and quantities”, she said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

There are also conflicting reports about the revenues Jordan would generate from the extraction of uranium, Jayyousi added, calling on the government to be transparent as uranium prices globally are “unfeasible”.

In the statement, she highlights studies indicating that uranium is harmful to human beings as well as the environment.

“Jordan does not need to extract uranium to sell it at cheap prices. It is better to use the money allocated for building the plant in developing projects to generate power from renewable, clean and safe resources,” the Greenpeace official added. 

Last week, the state-owned Jordan Uranium Mining Company (JUMCO) said the Kingdom plans to build a JD100 million plant for uranium extraction.

The government is expected to start attracting strategic partners in the plant before the end of this year, JUMCO General Manager Samer Kahook said in recent remarks.

The plant, he said, will have a capacity of 300-400 metric tonnes per year and can be expanded to 1,500 metric tonnes per year at a later stage.

The Central Jordan Area, located about 80km south of Amman, is home to 36,389 metric tonnes of uranium oxide that is easily mined and can be extracted cost-effectively, according to Kahook.

Estimates of the uranium resources in the central region are expected to increase, as more exploration is carried out by JUMCO in the 350-square-kilometre area.

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