The Official Opposition in Parliament has advised the government to direct the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission to conduct research on the risks associated with uranium extraction so as to advise on measures to safeguard people’s health.
Arumeru East Legislator Joshua Nassari made the remark when presenting the recommendations of the Opposition for the budget estimates for the ministry of Communication, Science and Technology.
Nassari said that there were reports show that there were big investors conducting research on uranium extraction at Selous Game Reserve at Mkuju , Namtumbo – Songea and people living around the area were not involved. He added that the reports also said that some people had already started being affected by the uranium.
“We advise the government to direct the TAEC to conduct research on dangers at the uranium sites so as to take appropriate action,” he said.
Nassari said TAEC has done a good job demanding explanation from the government on whether it has implemented its recommendation of giving the employees risk allowances and environmental insurance.
The Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure also advised the government to formulate a law and regulations that will govern extraction and use of uranium in the country.
Reading the Committee recommendations Prof Juma Kapuya said since extraction of the mineral will start soon the government should take precautions because it had major impact on human health and other living things.
He said the committee does not oppose the extraction of uranium but that it was the responsibility of the present generation to make decisions which will not affect them as well as the future generations.
The committee advised that there should be close cooperation between the ministry of energy and minerals and TAEC so as to coordinate extraction activities and safe keeping of uranium.
He said there was also the need to make satisfactory preparations of Atomic experts to ensure safety of the mineral and preparation of contracts which will be beneficial to the country.
Prof Kapuya noted that the extraction of uranium should not be left to foreigners alone because they were after their interests and not the interests of our country.
Tabling his budget estimates Minister of Communication Science and Technology Prof Makame Mbarawa said that following the discovery of uranium in the country the Atomic Commission in collaboration with MEM, National Environment Management Council, OSHA, and other stakeholders have continued with the preparations for supervision of the uranium mines.
He said TAEC was also expected to prepare supervisory procedures and control, as well as procedures of issuing licenses and set up a strategy of all stakeholders in uranium extraction.