One of the world’s oldest uranium mining regions becomes venue of the International Uranium Film Festival 2019 in Portugal.
From 13 to 15 September 2019, the International Uranium Film Festival will take place for the second time in Portugal. But this time, the festival did not choose Lisbon as the venue, but one of the oldest uranium mining regions in the world: Urgeiriça (Nelas) in the center of Portugal.
If you hear or read about „uranium mining“ most people think on the huge open pit mines in Australia, Canada, USA or in Namibia. However one of the oldest uranium mines on earth is in fact located on the „old continent“ in central Portugal, about 300 km north of Lisbon in the district of Viseu. Mining started here in Urgeiriça more than a hundred years ago in 1913 to export the radioactive minerals radium and uranium to nuclear scientist Marie Curie in Paris. A few decades later, uranium from Urgeiriça was exported to England and USA to fuel the Manhattan project and to make Britains first nuclear Bomb, that exploded 1952 in the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia. Finally, in 2000, uranium (yellow cake) production in Portugal ceased altogether, but it had left behind a deadly legacy of hazardous ore tailings and a contaminated environment. In 2005 started the Clean-up process (also called decommissioning or remediation) financed by the European Union. Much of the rehabilitation work in Urgeiriça has been completed, and the region is preparing for a new economic future: sustainable tourism and the establishment of a museum center for uranium mining.
This is one of the reasons why the International Uranium Film Festival takes place here in the historic uranium mining region for the first time now in September 2019. Uranium Film Festival partner and local organizer is the association of former uranium miners of Portugal (ATMU), who fought for years for compensation of the victims and remediation of the more than 60 abandoned portuguese uranium mines and its tailings. From 13 to 15 September, the world's most unique film festival will feature a dozen films on uranium mining, nuclear power and radioactive risks in Urgeiriça and the neighboring mining towns of Viseu and Mangualde. All screenings are free, and panel discussions with filmmakers, uranium experts, scientists, former uranium miners and activists complete the program. Beside of that participants are invited to visit the closed uranium mine and the clean-up process.
"You Won't Leave Here Like You Came."
„The Uranium Film Festival in Portugal this year will not yet be a huge film festival like we use to organize it annually in Rio de Janeiro or Berlin“, says festival director and founder Norbert G. Suchanek, "but it's the beginning of a hopefully long partnership with Portugal." Nonetheless, the Festival Director is confident that the Urgeiriça Uranium Film Festival will be an important and interesting event for both the local population, which has been suffering from uranium mining for decades, as well as for uranium mining and nuclear experts, filmmakers and environmental activists. And even without the Uranium Film Festival, a visit to Urgeiriça would certainly be interesting and valuable for anyone involved in nuclear energy, uranium mining and its consequences. And even without the Uranium Film Festival, a visit to Urgeiriça would certainly be interesting and valuable for anyone involved in the question of nuclear energy, uranium mining and its consequences.
Suchanek: "In Urgeiriça you can experience the history of uranium mining, its consequences and the attempt to rehabilitate the environment damaged by uranium mining and the clean-up of the radioactive tailings first hand. I am pretty sure: You won't leave here like you came."
In addition, just a two hours drive from Urgeiriça you find the medieval town Nisa, another important, but very different example of uranium history and anti-uranium movement in Portugal. Just outside the ancient walls of Nisa build by the crusaders lies one of the largest, yet unexploited uranium deposits in Portugal in the ground. But instead of exploring it, the people of Nisa and its local politicians decided a few years ago, in 2008, just the opposite and banned any uranium mining in their region! The people of Nisa opted for a sustainable income from local natural resources such as extensive sheep and goat farming and the production of cheese and meat instead of the production of yellow cake (uranium oxide). For that, Nisa and his movement against uranium mining MUNN (Movimento Urânio Em Nisa Não) has received in 2012 the Nuclear-Free Future Award.“
email@example.com www.uraniumfilmfestival.org and António Minhoto Associação dos Ex-Trabalhadores das Minas de Urânio (ATMU) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Festival
Since 2011 the International Uranium Film Festival (IUFF) shows movies and documentaries about all nuclear risks from uranium mining to nuclear waste and nuclear accidents around the world. From Rio de Janeiro, where it started to Berlin, New York and New Delhi. During the past nine years more than 60 International Uranium Film Festivals has successfully been organised in 8 countries and about 40 cities. However the Uranium Film Festival has no big sponsors from the industry. It depends mainly on donations by concerned people. For that we kindly ask for your support. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 2000 atmospheric atomic bomb tests and their consequences, uranium mining and uranium contamination, nuclear or radioactive accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Goiânia or Fukushima shall never be forgotten nor repeated.