The Czech Republic’s last uranium mine in Rožná located about 50 kilometres northwest of Brno, officially closed on Thursday with a ceremony marking 60 years of uranium mining in the location. The Rožná mine, which is also the last uranium mine in Europe, went into operation in 1957 and has produced around 17 million tonnes of uranium since then. The Radioactive Waste Repository Authority has turned one part of the mine - beneath the village of Bukov into a special laboratory for tests that will help it build a final repository for spent nuclear fuel from the Temelín and Dukovany plants.
Czech Political Prisoners: Recovering Face is the title of a book of photographs and texts by Jana Kopelentová-Rehak, a Czech anthropologist based in the US city of Baltimore. When the Šumava-born academic was in Prague recently we discussed the political prisoners, or “mukls”, she met and how they were marked by their experience of brutal communist labour camps. But first we spoke a little about her own life, starting with a key encounter in the 1980s, when she was taken in by Charter 77 signatory Miloslava Holubová.
In this week’s Czech History we will be looking at three civic initiatives to try and save aspects of the country’s past where the state and other institutions have failed to deliver. The projects all relate to aspects of Czechoslovakia’s totalitarian past, in particularly as regards the Jáchymov complex of uranium mine camps, though the history of the Uherské Hradiště prison, and the Svatobořice internment camp go back a lot further in the past. Leading members of projects aimed at regenerating all three sites got together recently at a seminar
Two police officers died – and a third suffered serious injuries – in a car crash in the region of Česká Lípa on Monday. In the tragic incident, shortly after 8 AM, the police officers’ van collided head-on with a truck on the I/38. The driver of the other vehicle suffered light injuries. The surviving officer was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Liberec. The crash is under investigation but witnesses said it was the police van which had swerved into the opposite lane. Fresh snow and ice patches have made conditions treacherous in places.
The Czech government is considering plans to re-open a uranium mine near Jihlava after deposits at the country’s sole currently operating Rožná mine are exhausted. During his visit to the site on Monday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the government was ready to support future uranium mining which would create hundreds of jobs in the region.