by Moosa Kaleem
From a distance, the place looks like a plantation. Up close, it is a rectangular plot of land, spread over rolling hillocks as far as the eye can see, dotted with low-slung acacia trees and bound by a fence of barbed wire. Beneath its clay surface are hidden hundreds of kilogrammes of what local residents say is nuclear waste. Right behind this ‘nuclear landfill’ is a sprawling compound, consisting of many abandoned military-style residential barracks, a functioning primary school for boys and a mosque. The barracks, all locked and sealed, contain hundreds of barrels of nuclear waste, claim residents of the area. Less than one kilometre to the south of these two sites are a few abandoned uranium mines, now submerged under rainwater. The barracks and the compound once served as residences for officials – and their families – who supervised uranium mining. According to claims by the locals, more nuclear waste is buried deep in the abandoned mines.