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Radioactive contamination from an old uranium mine, Köprübaşı province, Turkey

The remainders of an old uranium mine in Manisa, Turkey pose great radioactive dangers to the local communities. Authorities on their side deliberately take no action.

This case form has been translated for your convenience by voluntary translators. Therefore, they may contain errors. Any discrepancies or differences created in translating this content from the original version into another language are not binding and have no legal effect. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in these translations, please refer to the original version of the case in: Turkish


Outside Turkey, the work of attorney Arif Ali Cangi for a "nuclear free world" has been recognised. One of his most recent cases for a "nuclear free Turkey" involves the villages of Kesir Jörprübasi/Manisa and Kisir Söke Aydin. In the 1970s and 1980s the Turkish government prospected for and mined uranium across the country. Near the first village the government authorities established a facility where uranium ore was turned into yellow cake. Later the contaminated site was abandoned without any safety measures. The local population knew nothing about the hazards they were exposed to. (1).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Radioactive contamination from an old uranium mine, Köprübaşı province, Turkey
State or province:Köprübaşı
Location of conflict:Manisa
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

In 2008, the measurements were made in the closest village - the village of Kasar - to the mining site, where the Gamma-Scout detector indicated 0,200 µSv/h radiation level. The value increased gradually up to 16 µSv/h as the researchers got closer to the mining site. As a comparison, the radiation level in the Fukushima was detected as 40 µSv/h high and the effect of Chernobyl disaster in the Black sea coast of Turkey was measured only at 0,50 µSv/h.

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:13,500
Start of the conflict:01/01/1970
Company names or state enterprises:General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration from Turkey - Project-runner
Relevant government actors:Mazlum Nurlu - Member of Parliament from the major opposition party, Republican People's Party (CHP) has brought the topic to the regular parliamentary meetings.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Turkey
Nuclear-Free Future Awards
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Authorities have not taken any corrective action so far and except a couple of media articles and press releases no public resistance has formed in the face of great radioactive danger.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Nuclear Technology Information Database Press Release (Tr)
[click to view]

Where are the measures? (Tr)
[click to view]

Greenpeace 'Exposure of Nuclear Scandal' (Tr)
[click to view]

Nuclear Scandal (Tr)
[click to view]

Nuclear Scandal on the parliament's agenda (Tr)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

The Nuclear-Free Future Award - für eine Zukunft frei von Atomwaffen, Atomenergie und Uranmunition
[click to view]

Radioactive measurements in the area (Tr)
[click to view]

Award to attorney Cangi, in Johannesburg Nov. 2016.
[click to view]

Other comments:The recent discussion in Turkey on this old uranium mine must be set in the context of debates on nuclear energy in the difficult political situation of 2016, 2017. An international public figure active in the discussion is attorney Arif Ali Cangi.
He was awarded the Nuclear-Free Future Awards 2016 in Johannesburg 17 Nov. 2016. Arif Ali Cangi was born in 1964 in the province of Mersin, is a leading jurist in the Turkish anti-nuclear movement. He has fought court battles against the illegal dumping of nuclear waste in Gaziemir, Izmir, against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Mersin, and against the deadly environmental contamination brought on by uranium mining at Köprübasi, Manisa. Cangi currently spearheads legal proceedings to block the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant on the Mediterranean coast between Aydıncık and Silifke. The first plans for the Akkuyu NPP were drawn up in the early seventies, only to be shelved. The current Turkish government resurrected the old plans, and recently entered into an agreement with Russian Rosatom to begin construction of the plant. On behalf of the Green Party and the Leftist Future Party (YSGP), Arif Ali Cangi has gone to court to block the plant's construction. This aside, Cangi has also lodged an environmental complaint against the former operators of the uranium mine in Köprübasi. The mine was active in the 1970s and 1980s, but the site was never remediated after shutdown, nor the local citizenry ever informed about the radioactive contamination.
Meta information
Contributor:Burag Gurden, European Environmental Bureau, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2914
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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