Life after the uranium mines in Buhovo, Bulgaria


Buhovo is known as one of the first uranium mines in Bulgaria. In 1938, uranium from the Buhovo mine was sold to the German army ‘unknown’ reasons. Some years later it was exported from here to produce the first Soviet atom bomb, according to Todor Dimitrov, a former major of the town [1].

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Basic Data
NameLife after the uranium mines in Buhovo, Bulgaria
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Nuclear
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Uranium extraction
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)10000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1943
Company Names or State EnterprisesRedki Metali from Bulgaria
Relevant government actorsThe local mayor, Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLocal CSOs, Antinuclear national coalition, Za Zemiata
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesProper rehabilitation of the area. Proper soil and health testing and marking of dangerous areas.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Rehabilitation has not been properly carried out and the population is suffering from health impacts. There are interests to restart Uranium mining in Bulgaria.
Sources and Materials

National directive for rehabilitation of the uranium mines

EU nuclear waste Directive 2011


Report - The state of the uranium mines in Bulgaria


Ejolt field trip to Buhovo mine
[click to view]

WISE Uranium on Bulgaria
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorTodor Slavov
Last update08/04/2014