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AREVA condemned by court after the death of a former employee of a uranium mine

AREVA condemned by court after the death of a former employee of a uranium mine
16:32 May 15, 2012


The court for social affairs (Tribunal des Affaires de Sécurité Sociale (TASS)) in Melun (near Paris) has condemned AREVA on Friday in regard to the death of a former employee of a uranium mine of the French group in Niger, announced the lawyerof the victim's family. The court ruled that AREVA had committed a "not excusable mistake", even as a "co-employer", and condemned the company to pay compensation and interest, an amount surpassing € 200.000, plus a doubling of the pension of the widow of its former employee, Serge Venel, the lawyer of the family, Jean-Paul Teisonniere explained in detail.

Serge Venel, who had passed away in July 2009 at the age of 59 from lung cancer, had worked from 1978 to 1985 for a subsidiary of AREVA, the company COMINAK, a company formed according to Niger law which exploits the uranium mine of the Areva group in Akokan, in the North-West of Niger. "When my father saw the specialist for lungs in March 2009, he said right away that it was not smoking cigarettes which was the cause of the cancer, but clearly the inhalation of uranium dust", Peggy Venel, the daughter of the victim had explained.

This was part of her "immense joy", according to AFP (Agence France Press), while she figured "This is not finished, AREVA will surely appeal the decision. A breach has been blow for others who have been waiting (for this court decision). "Many had been afraid to attack AREVA." Peggy Venel said there are "at least two cases" who will 'attack'. "It is a difficult case", the victim's family's lawyer, M. Teissoniere said, "Juridically, AREVA had not been the direct employer (...), but the question of the securtiy of the working conditions in the mine are defined by AREVA", the lawyer emphasized. "The court has gone beyond what seemed obvious and recognised the reality of the social relations of the company", he figured.

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