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International Uranium Film Festival

December 09
14:24 2013

Ben Shelly, President, Navajo Nation

Window Rock Museum recently hosted The International Uranium Film Festival. This year marked the first U.S. appearance of the international festival which is now in it’s third year. Besides Window Rock, the festival also made stops in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

More than 40 films from 15 countries were screened, exploring both the uranium and nuclear industries’ impact on the global community. The films about uranium mining, uranium clean-up, atomic bombs and nuclear accidents were screened in the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe and in the Window Rock Navajo Nation Museum.

The International Uranium Film festival was founded in 2011 in Santa Teresa, the famous artist quarter in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. The aim of the festival is to inform the public, from a neutral position, about nuclear power, uranium mining, nuclear weapons and the health effects of radioactivity.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly addressed the audience at the festival on Monday saying,

“This year, there are at least 10 films about the Navajo Nation and uranium, including some films by Navajo filmakers.”

Shelly stressed that sharing the Navajo story on uranium was critical. The uranium legacy has been one of death and disease for the Navajo Nation. The largest abandoned uranium mine is located on the Navajo Nation. It is approximately 145 acres.

In 1979, an earthen dam at a uranium mill tailings facility collapsed, releasing 1,100 tons of radioactive tailings and 94 million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Puerco River. The spill is the largest release of radioactive waste by volume in U.S. history and ranks second only to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in total radiation release.

In March of this year, President Shelly signed into law the Uranium Ore Transportation Protection Act, which bans even the transportation of uranium on the the Navajo Nation.

In February 2014, the 3rd Annual International Uranium Film Festival will be headed to Washington and New York City.

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