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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
Name of conflict:Life after the uranium mines in Buhovo, Bulgaria
Location of conflict:Buhovo
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Uranium extraction
Specific commodities:Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:10000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1943
Company names or state enterprises:Redki Metali from Bulgaria
Relevant government actors:The local mayor, Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local CSOs, Antinuclear national coalition, Za Zemiata
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Community-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-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:Proper rehabilitation of the area. Proper soil and health testing and marking of dangerous areas.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

National directive for rehabilitation of the uranium mines

EU nuclear waste Directive 2011

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Report - The state of the uranium mines in Bulgaria

WISE Uranium on Bulgaria
[click to view]

Ejolt field trip to Buhovo mine
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Todor Slavov
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:335
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