Unguarded barrels of radioactive uranium (yellow cake) have been discovered on Swakopmund beach. Near the sewerage works at Tamariskia investigators found 4 barrels.
Tests show the content to be highly radioactive. The attempt at smuggling the barrels of uranium raise serious concerns over the possible contamination of Swakop’s water systems and the security of the current mining operations.
Nuclear waste swakopmuntReports suggest that the uranium stems from Areva’s operation near Trekkopje between Usakos and Swakopmund. The value of the uranium found near Mondesa in Swakopmund is estimated at around N$700 000,though the destination of the radioactive materials was unclear at the time of the arrest of three suspects on Friday.
The capacity of the Emergency Management Unit and the local authorities to deal with a large-scale environmental disaster has been called into question.
In a related incident last year an officer of the NDF was arrested with several other operatives as they attempted to smuggle radioactive materials out of the country. These developments have frightening implications for the safety of local residents,but also raise serious questions about Namibia’s commitment to upholding the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.