Last update:
2021-09-24

Ezeiza Atomic Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Ezeiza Atomic Centre is a nuclear waste facility and research centre. Surrounding communities are concerned about the nuclear waste being stored on site and lack of transparency from the government about uranium contamination levels.


Description:

The Ezeiza Atomic Centre, located in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a nuclear research facility which specialises in radioisotope and nuclear fuel production and nuclear radioactive waste storage. It is operated by the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA) [1]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ezeiza Atomic Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Country:Argentina
State or province:Provincia de Buenos Aires
Location of conflict:Buenos Aires
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Ezeiza Radioactive Waste Management Area:

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Project area:2428 hectares
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:1.6 Million
Start of the conflict:1958
Company names or state enterprises:National Atomic Energy Commission from Argentina
Relevant government actors:Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN)
Ministry of Health
Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (the National Commission on Atomic Energy)
Laboratorio Químico del Instituto de Tecnología Minera (INTEMIN)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Argentina
https://www.greenpeace.org/argentina/?s=azeiza&orderby=_score

Association Against Environmental Pollution
(No website found)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
the University of Buenos Aires;
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impacts74% of wells contaminated with uranium; radioactive contamination of groundwater; Uranium levels were elevated up to 34.5mg/l – more than twice the permissible maximum level of 15mg/l set by the WHO.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsCancer : In the year 2000, several cancer cases near the Ezeiza Atomic Center prompted investigations into possible causes.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (undecided)
Development of alternatives:A study was produced by a geologist from the University of Buenos Aires who was contracted by a judge after lack of funding to have water quality tested abroad. In 2004, he produced a report over 600 pages long which became anonymously public and caught the attention of locals, but also the Argentine Nuclear Regulatory Authority (ARN). The report shows significant uranium contamination of drinking water, and other radioactive agents. In response to this, the ARN stated that they carry out regular testing and results always comply with government standards [3].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Ezeiza Atomic Centre is not disclosing most of its reports and other information regarding contamination levels, radiation levels etc, and therefore environmental justice is not currently served unless independent studies are conducted, transparency is enabled and the issues are resolved.

Moreover, residents felt angered by the lack of action once the report from University of Buenos Aires was released, as they criticised the judge who ordered the report to be conducted for not taking precautionary measures, and many say that the report was never supposed to be seen by the public [3]. The lack of concern from the ARN regarding the report findings and their arguments against the contamination levels leaves the public feeling as if no one is protecting them from the dangers.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[8] TECHNOLOGY RESISTANCE ACTIONS NUCLEAR IN ARGENTINA: MAPPING THE LAND (translated from Spanish). Agustín Piaz, 2015.
[click to view]

[11]PROTESTAS SOCIALES Y DISCUSIÓN PÚBLICA DE LA TECNOLOGÍA NUCLEAR EN LA ARGENTINA DEMOCRÁTICA: Acciones de resistencia en los casos Ezeiza y Dioxitek. Doctoral Thesis- Agustín Gabriel Piaz
[click to view]

[3]ARGENTINA: Uranium-Polluted Water Is Legally Safe to Drink. Marcela Valente. 24th March 2005
[click to view]

[4] Pagina 12. Pedro Lipcovich, 19th March 2005.
[click to view]

[7] Argentina: Threatened by uranium (translated from Spanish). Rebelion, Marcela Valente, 8th July 2006.
[click to view]

[9] Nuclear Argentina. The radioactive footprint of a very dirty industry (translated from Spanish). El Salto, Pablo Lada, 17th June 2019.
[click to view]

[10] Greenpeace protest in front of the Chancellery (translated from Spanish) La Nacion, 28th February 2002.
[click to view]

[6] Where does Latin America produce its nuclear waste and what does it do with it? (translated from Spanish) DW, Rosa Muñoz Lima, 30th September 2020.
[click to view]

[5] Agustín Piaz analyzed in his doctoral thesis the social protest and public discussion around environmental movements that question the development of atomic energy in Argentina. The cases of the Ezeiza Atomic Center and Dioxitek. (translated from Spanish) TSS, Gaspar Grieco, 13th July 2017.
[click to view]

[2] Argentina: Uncertainty about the nuclear future. Michael Álvarez Kalverkamp. 18 April 2011.
[click to view]

[1] Ezeiza, Argentina Nuclear facility

Hibakusha Worldwide
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Meta information
Contributor:Ciara Leonard, Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Last update24/09/2021
Comments
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