The Soviet-era uranium processing facility in Sillamäe, Estonia, was a gigantic city/factory with 4,000 employees. By the 1990s an estimated 100,000 metric tonnes of uranium had been produced in Sillamäe, used in the manufacturing of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, and the factory also separated rare earths. The place was never to be entered or left without approval. In independent Estonia the plant was privatized and renamed Silmet. Now owned by Canadian Neo Performance Materials, it is Europe’s leading processor of rare earths, thus a strategic place for Europe.
Photo: Isabelle de Pommereau
February 7, 2024 - Adam Reichardt