Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to make uranium, in five easy steps.

Powertech Uranium, facing an extreme embarrassment, loses its wits to Coloradan opposition as shown in this timeline listed in the Rocky Mountain Chronicle.

The cartoon character sucking uranium through a straw, looks just like Mr. Blubaugh, PowerTech vice-president...evidently they read my repeated statement, posted in all their newspapers, that he should prove to us that in-situ leach uranium mining is safe by drinking some of the dissolving solution (lixiviant), then I'll believe him. Now if we could just get South Dakota to hear this same message!

Oh well!!! It really isn't about the uranium, it is really about increasing property values, and speculating on company stocks. Ever since Mr. Gore proclaimed Global Warming, the nuclear industry shills daily that their energy is safe for the environment and will start Global Cooling, formerly known as Nuclear Winter, through nuclear proliferation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Mexico Governor Calls on NRC to Abandon Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium Mining Applications

Process Violates Government-to Government Consultation, Limits Public Participation

December 3, 2007 -- (SANTA FE – NM) -- In a recent letter, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson called on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to abandon the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) process for new uranium mining activities in New Mexico and across the West, citing concerns about the lack of site-specific environmental review and public participation. Under the NRC’s proposal, new uranium mining activities – and the public’s right to comment on them -- would fall principally under one single “generic” environmental impact statement rather than separate, site-specific environmental reviews.

In the letter, Governor Richardson notes that a generic approach is contrary to the principles of government-to-government consultation with sovereign Native American Tribes and Pueblos, is contrary to NRC’s duties and obligations under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and limits the ability of local communities and citizens to voice concerns regarding the specific licensing of potential operators in New Mexico.

“The NRC should abandon the “generic” process for reviewing any proposed uranium recovery operation,” said Governor Richardson. “The west is a diverse, unique, and vast area where one size does not fit all. As such, the State of New Mexico does not support the scope and approach of the proposed process."

The majority of uranium resources in New Mexico are located in the northwest portion of the state, which includes a large portion of Indian lands. Any proposed uranium recovery will pose unique cultural and environmental justice issues that the GEIS process will not adequately address. A GEIS approach looks at the bigger picture without adequately considering the specifics on the ground of each license in each location. The real concern is that down the road the NRC will rely on the GEIS as the primary environmental document and not conduct a separate, in-depth environmental review when reviewing license applications for specific sites in New Mexico.

The GEIS proposal is contrary to the State of New Mexico’s commitment to a full public participation in its state permitting process. Individual review of each permit is key for uranium operations due to the extensive history of environmental degradation and public health impacts from past uranium mining and milling practices.

“Overall, the state of New Mexico believes that the proposed generic statement is contrary to NRC’s duties and obligations under NEPA and any generic analysis will fall far short of assessing and identifying all possible environmental impacts in the western United States,” said Governor Richardson. “The State of New Mexico remains committed to an open, transparent and thorough review process of all uranium permits and we implore the NRC to commit itself to the same level of public involvement."

Governor Richardson’s letter was sent to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday, November 30th.

Text of letter follows:

November 21, 2007
Chairman Dale E. Klein
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555

Dear Chairman Klein:

As outlined in my letter dated July 31, 2007, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for newly proposed uranium recovery operations in the western United States concerns me greatly. This proposal will directly impact New Mexico, a state rich in uranium reserves but with an unfortunate history of environmental degradation from past uranium mining and milling.

The NRC’s decision to pursue a GEIS is highly questionable since it is not clear that there is a wide-ranging federal program that is concerted, systematic, and connected which would warrant the use of a “programmatic” approach as opposed to separate, site-specific environmental reviews. The State of New Mexico requests that the NRC reconsider its decision to use a GEIS approach. A GEIS results in a more “generic” review on a broader scale of general concepts without taking into consideration that there are unique issues related to specific sites within each specific geographical area.

Moreover, a GEIS often is used as a tool in the “tiering” process to serve as a master document whereby subsequent, site specific environmental reviews only amount to an environmental assessment with heavy reliance on the “generic” document. This means that instead of performing a comprehensive, in-depth environmental review at each site in New Mexico for each license application, the NRC would only conduct an environmental assessment and rely on the GEIS for a large portion of its site-specific analysis. Given the unique environmental, geographical, cultural, historical, economic, and regional aspects of New Mexico, it is contrary to the goals and purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the NRC to use a GEIS approach in this instance.

A significant issue pertains to the unique cultural and historical factors in the State of New Mexico. The majority of uranium resources in New Mexico are located in the Grants Mineral Belt in the northwestern portion of the State. This area includes large portions of “Indian Lands.” Consequently, any proposed uranium recovery and processing operations in New Mexico will pose unique cultural and environmental justice issues that the GEIS process will not adequately address.

Likewise, a GEIS unduly limits the ability of local communities and citizens to voice specific concerns regarding the licensing of potential operators in their neighborhoods and communities. Given the concerns of many citizens in New Mexico about the public health, environmental, and cultural impacts of new uranium mining actions, a process that forces the public to comment on an environmental document that only considers broad-based issues for a large regional area undermines the purposes and intent of NEPA to ensure that specific major federal actions do not adversely impact the environment. The use of a generic, general, programmatic approach instead of ensuring an in-depth evaluation at the site specific level is disrespectful of the general public’s right to have a meaningful voice in decisions of such magnitude and importance.

In addition, a “generic” approach is contrary to the principles of government-to-government consultation with the many sovereign Native American Tribes and Pueblos in New Mexico. Some thirty-five Native American tribes claim cultural affiliation with historic properties in New Mexico, including archaeological sites, landscapes, traditional cultural properties and sacred sites. In many cases, traditional Native American cultural properties consist of cultural landscapes and special landforms with spiritual relationships that could be affected by this proposed undertaking having long-term adverse impacts or potentially detrimental effects to the very existence of the people.

Potential impacts on New Mexico’s sovereign Tribes and Pueblos will undoubtedly result in a “finding of significant impact” in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) evaluation, which will require the NRC to perform an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In this context, the NRC should abandon the GEIS process and adopt the full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for reviewing any proposed activity that will occur at specific sites within our state. A full EIS process will give the state and the public the opportunity to address site-specific and cultural concerns unique to proposed operations in New Mexico. While the NRC may claim that site specific evaluations will occur with each license application in New Mexico at a later stage, there is no guarantee that such evaluations will be beyond an environmental assessment.

The GEIS proposal also is contrary to the State of New Mexico’s commitment to full public participation in its state permitting process in which each permit is evaluated on a case-by-case manner. This individual review is particularly important for uranium operations due to the extensive history of environmental degradation and public impacts as a result of past uranium mining and milling practices, the varying hydrologic, geologic, and ecologic conditions of each particular site, and cultural resources unique to New Mexico. A full EIS process is also consistent with the NRC’s decision to complete an EIS for new nuclear reactor applications rather than following a GEIS process.

Unlike the Navajo Nation, the State of New Mexico currently has not taken a broad policy position on uranium mining. However, if uranium mining and milling are to resume in New Mexico, the state must be sure that the public is given a robust opportunity to participate in the decisions and that all environmental, water resource, and potential public health issues are thoroughly examined for each operation. The State of New Mexico is committed to an open, transparent and thorough review process of all uranium permits and we implore the NRC to commit itself to the same level of public involvement.

Overall, the State of New Mexico believes that the proposed GEIS is contrary to NRC’s duties and obligations under NEPA and that the generic analysis of the proposed action of “construction, operation, and decommissioning of an ISL uranium mill” will fall far short of assessing and identifying all possible environmental impacts in the western United States. The west is a diverse, unique, and vast area where one size does not fit all. As such, the State of New Mexico does not support the scope and approach of the proposed GEIS.

Lastly, the State of New Mexico wishes to reiterate the importance of holding public meetings in affected communities on an ongoing basis. Such meetings are vital to the public participation process. The meetings held in August and September earlier this year were helpful and productive in establishing a dialogue with the NRC and we hope that the NRC will continue to hold such meetings in the future.

Please submit these comments as part of the official record regarding this matter. I hope that the NRC will weigh these comments heavily and provide the public with a genuine opportunity to review and evaluate individual EIS’s for all proposed in situ leach (ISL) and conventional mill operations in New Mexico.

Sincerely,
Bill Richardson
Governor of New Mexico
cc: Chief, Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch
Mail Stop T-6D59
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001

Source: New Mexico Governor

Friday, November 16, 2007

Uranium Impacts Native and non-Native Seek Justice

Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance ? Church Rock Uranium Monitoring Project

Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining ? Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment

Navajo Uranium Radiation Vicitms Committee

New Mexico Environmental Law Center ? Post '71 Uranium Workers Committee

Sierra Club Environmental Justice Office ? Southwest Research and Information Center

Press Release

For More Information:

Thursday Nov. 15, 2007

Mitchell Capitan, 505-786-5209

Linda Evers, 505-287-2304

Candace Head-Dylla, 505-401-4349

Chris Shuey, 505-262-1862

Robert Tohe, 928-774-6103

Grass-roots and nongovernmental organizations

seek justice for uranium impacts in meetings with members of Congress

WASHINGTON , DC — Representatives of grass-roots groups and nongovernmental organizations from New Mexico and Arizona told members of Congress last week that they want a federal moratorium on new uranium development in the region until the widespread environmental and public health damages from past mining and milling are resolved and workers and communities are fully compensated.

The organizations were in Washington, D.C. to participate in the Navajo Uranium Roundtable sponsored by Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico, and co-hosted by Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona, and Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr.

The groups, which represented communities in the Eastern Navajo Agency, Acoma and Laguna pueblos, and the Milan and Grants area, supported the Navajo Nation's requests for funding to clean up hundreds of abandoned mines in Navajo communities, fully compensate uranium workers, conduct health studies in uranium-impacted communities, and honor and respect the Navajo Nation's 2005 law banning uranium mining and processing in Navajo Country.

Speakers for the grassroots groups joined President Shirley, other Navajo Nation officials, and Laguna Pueblo Governor John E. Antonio, in calling for a federal moratorium on new uranium mining.

Mitchell Capitan, founder of Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM), based in Crownpoint, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is "tilted toward industry" and cannot be trusted to properly regulate uranium in situ leach (ISL) mines and new uranium mills. He charged that the NRC did not give fair consideration to ENDAUM's technical and legal arguments challenging NRC's 1998 licensing of Hydro Resources, Inc.'s (HRI) proposed ISL mines in Churchrock and Crownpoint. To illustrate his point, Capitan provided copies of a photo from the NRC's web site showing agency officials smiling and shaking hands with executives of a Wyoming uranium company, which had just submitted an application for a new ISL mine — long before the proposed facility is subjected to NRC staff review and approved by the Commission.

Larry J. King, an ENDAUM member and Churchrock Chapter resident, said his community recommends a federal uranium mine clean-up program that would address legacy sites throughout the West. He also called for Congress to force NRC to return to its mission to protect public health and safety. He cited an NRC ruling in 2006 that classified high levels of radiation from mining wastes at a proposed ISL site across the highway from his home as "background" radiation.

Robert Tohe, environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club in Flagstaff , Ariz. , said Congress should give federal land management agencies the authority to deny exploration and mining permits on Native American sacred sites and in sacred places. He noted that several mining companies are exploring for uranium on and around Mt. Taylor , one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo people and a sacred place for Acoma and Laguna pueblos.

Long-time Diné uranium worker advocate Phil Harrison, Jr., who is now a delegate to the Navajo Nation Council, and attorney Keith Killian of Grand Junction , Colorado , called on Congress to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to address disparities in compensation awards between Native Americans and non-Indian uranium workers and downwinders. They said the range of compensable diseases should be expanded and attention given to the lack of compensation for dependents of former workers and people who lived, and still live, in mining-impacted communities.

Harrison, Paguate resident Alvino Waconda, and Milan residents Linda Evers and Liz Lucero, all of whom are former uranium workers, supported amending RECA to include people who worked in the uranium industry after 1971. Evers said her group has collected nearly 1,500 surveys of post-1971 uranium workers, and that the vast majority of workers are reporting a wide range of cancers, respiratory diseases and kidney disease. Evers said she expects to report the first results by the end of the year.

Milan residents Candace Head-Dylla, Milton Head and Art Gebeau, representing the Bluewater Valley Downstream Alliance (BVDA), handed out information packets showing how groundwater contamination around the Homestake Uranium Mill north of Milan has spread to three aquifers covering several miles of land since first detected in 1961. They said the plumes contain high levels of uranium and other toxic substances and are inching toward Milan 's municipal water wells, yet no groundwater monitoring is being conducted ahead of the contamination plume. Dozens of private wells in communities near the mill have been shut down, but until very recently some residents were unknowingly still drinking tainted water from private wells, the BVDA members said. They recommended that Congress should amend federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act, to ensure that that uranium mine and mill wastes and associated discharges are regulated as toxic pollutants.

The grass-roots people were assisted by staffs of Southwest Research and Information Center , Natural Resources Defense Council, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center , Earthworks, and The Raben Group. A list of major policy objectives advocated by the groups follows.

Dr. Johnnye Lewis, a University of New Mexico toxicologist who was invited by the Navajo Nation and Udall staffs to provide scientific guidance, spoke to the need for a comprehensive health study, noting that the lack of health data is often misconstrued as a lack of effect. Dr. Lewis, who is the principal investigator for the first community-based health and exposure study in Navajo communities, emphasized the need for health studies to be conducted by independent investigators to ensure the validity and scientific integrity of results.


GRASS-ROOTS AND NONGOVERENMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS'

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FEDERAL RESPONSES TO THE URANIUM MINING LEGACY AND PROPOSED NEW URANIUM DEVELOPMENT ON THE NAVAJO NATION AND THROUGHOUT THE FOUR CORNERS AREA

1. Seek legislation to impose a federal moratorium on new uranium development until environmental pollution from previous mining and milling is cleaned up, workers are appropriately compensated, and community health studies conducted.

2. Amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to, among other things, include certain New Mexico counties in the areas exposed to fallout from nuclear weapons testing, expand the universe of compensable diseases for uranium workers, and extend eligibility for compensation to workers who worked after 1971. Congress should also investigate compensation strategies for dependents of former uranium workers and for residents of communities impacted by uranium development.

3. Respect and protect the Navajo Nation's sovereign right to enact the Diné Natural Resources Protection Act (DNRPA) of 2005, which prohibits uranium mining and processing by any means anywhere in Navajo Country.

4. Ensure full funding for health studies among residents of communities impacted by uranium mining and milling, and restore cuts in existing studies.

5. Require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to drop work on the proposed Generic Environmental Impact Statement for uranium in situ leach mining and to return to full and fair implementation of its statutory authority to protect public health and safety.

6. Amend the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Atomic Energy Act to make clear and certain that uranium mill and mine wastes are defined as "pollutants" and are subject to the same level of regulatory control and scrutiny as all other pollutants. Uranium mine and mill waste should not be exempt from any federal public health or environmental statute.

7. Enact a comprehensive federal abandoned uranium mine clean-up program, including funds for cleanup of abandoned mines on the Navajo Nation, Laguna Pueblo and throughout the Four Corners Area. Ensure that financially viable companies are held responsible for cleaning, or paying for cleanup, of the mining and milling sites they abandoned.

8. Reaffirm the principal of religious freedom by authorizing federal land management agencies to deny exploration, mining and milling permits on sacred sites or in sacred places, including and especially Mt. Taylor in northwestern New Mexico .

*****

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Public Meeting about Abandoned Uranium Mines in the Cave Hills Area

Defenders of the Black Hills

P. O. Box 2003, Rapid City, SD 57709

Nov. 6, 2007

Public Service Announcement

“Public Meeting about Abandoned Uranium Mines in the Cave Hills Area”

On Tues. Nov. 13, 2007, the US Forest Service will hold a meeting in Ludlow regarding the abandoned uranium mines in the Cave Hills area at Riley Pass. The meeting is for the public and will be held in the Ludlow Hall from 5-8:00 PM.

Representatives from Tronox, formerly Kerr-McGee, the mining company that dug the uranium mine at Riley Pass will be there as well as representatives from SD School of Mines and Technology.

We encourage as many people as possible to attend and question how and when all of the 89 mines are going to be cleaned up, the health concerns from no cleanup after 30 years of leaving the mines exposed, possible destruction of more burial and sacred sites in the cleanup process, and how much taxpayer dollars are being used for the cleanup.

For more information call (605) 399-1868, or email: bhdefenders@msn.com

Monday, November 5, 2007

South Dakota ISL uranium mining: Now you see it, now you don't

Einstein once said that nuclear reactors are terrible ways to boil water; I say that poisoning water to mine uranium and promote nuclear energy is even more dangerous since we cannot easily see radioactive poisoning and heavy metal groundwater contamination especially if it is buried deep underground.



My purpose in this blog post is continue my drive to inform the rest of this country about the dangerous situation developing in South Dakota over in situ leach uranium mining. Continuing in this, there are several factors I consider very important background information before delving into this situation with me: (1) the groundwater hydrology in South Dakota hasn't been fully mapped as it has in Colorado where the direction of groundwater flow has been illustrated beautifully; (2) as a volunteer researcher for the Defenders of the Black Hills I attended the first meetings with the State of South Dakota over uranium mining permitting regulations and PowerTech Uranium's application to conduct exploratory drilling in Fall River county where I can only felt that we experienced racism, outright bigotry and environmental injustice from state officials; and (3) our verbal comments as well as those submitted in writing were largely passed over in favor of PowerTech Uranium and its cohorts attending with them, Energy Metals (currently mining in Wyoming), and Crow Butte Resources (currently mining in Nebraska).


Current concerns and fears I share about in situ leach uranium mining are below blockquoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-situ_leaching#Controversies



The concerns of environmental groups and landholders centre around;



  • Acidification of groundwaters

  • Mobilisation of potentially hazardous heavy metals and, in the case of uranium, radioactive heavy metals.[6]

  • Disturbance of the groundwater table, mixing of groundwater aquifers and general disturbance of the land atop the ore body

  • Destruction of habitat for stygofauna and other rock-inhabiting organisms, bacteria, et cetera.

  • Potential spills of acidic and metal-bearing or salt-bearing leachates upon the surface



As illustrated below, in situ leach uranium mining can experience several dangerous failures that are impossible or very difficult to remediate when these failures occur:


Although in-situ leach uranium mining is supposedly safe, I contend that it isn't, After reading published reports from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and existing controversial conditions reportedly resulting from in-situ leach uranium mining in Texas, Wyoming, and New Mexico as well as Australia and Russia, I should think that modern science could find a different means to generate electricity, other than using coal, uranium, gas, oil or hydropower.


For starters, the restoration process, technically named a groundwater sweep, at an in situ leach uranium mine uses reverse osmosis (RO) where high pressured water called the pore volume (the actual displacement yield of the well field) is injected back through the contaminated ore zone and extracted through another well head pump, then passed through a filter that usually clogs with the contaminated liquid during the first pass. This contaminated material is then removed from the filter and clean water is then repeatedly injected into the ore body until a certain groundwater standard has been achieved, usually pre-mining water quality standards.


The first critical subject to note is as quoted in NUREG/CR-6870:



The concentrate liquid waste from the RO units is either fed to evaporation ponds, injected into deep disposal wells, or dried for disposal at a licensed facility.



The waste is highly radioactive and emit high concentrations of radon to the atmosphere while also having the extreme possibility of escaping into the environment during catastrophic storms or acts of terrorism or through negligence. Disposing of this contaminant into deep disposal wells is just as dangerous since we don't really understand what happens down there yet but "out of sight, out of mind" seems to be valid science acceptable to the NRC.


Another important aspect that the NUREG states is that often the groundwater sweep doesn't remove all of the lixiviant, requiring another process of injecting more poisons (hydrogen sulfide, sodium hydrosulfide, or alkaline solutions) into the earth to stabilize the lixiviant to keep it from continuing to react with the ore body, thereby increasing the levels of uranium in the groundwater. But injecting these other poisons into the groundwater is acceptable to the NRC if it is within the pre-mining groundwater quality standards as measured by pH ratios yet this doesn't mean that it is any better because now its chemical composition is radically different.


NOW as I am finished with this, knowing that you are fully aware of my small perspective on the bigger picture as this form of toxic uranium mining, you must agree that uranium mining in all forms is dangerous to us, to all of us! Call your local congress representative, have them start investigating why uranium mining is allowed to continue in this country although the facts remain that it is very dangerous and toxic. Support all of the groups I have listed in the right sidebar!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nuclear power and water scarcity

The Pluralism Project:
ScienceAlert - Australia & NZ - Nuclear power and water scarcity

Nuclear power and water scarcity

Monday, 29 October 2007
By Sue Wareham and Jim Green


The connections between water scarcity, power generation and the federal government's promotion of nuclear power are worth reflecting on in National Water Week, held from October 21-27.

Some problems associated with nuclear power are much discussed – such as its connection to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Less well known is the fact that nuclear power is the most water-hungry of all energy sources, with a single reactor consuming 35-65 million litres of water each day.

Water scarcity is already a serious problem for Australia's power-generation industry, largely because of our heavy reliance on water-guzzling coal-fired plants. Current problems in Australia's power industry resulting from water shortages include: expensive long-distance water haulage to some power plants as local supplies dwindle; reduced electrical generating capacity and output at some coal and hydro plants; higher and more volatile electricity prices; increased risks of blackouts; and intensified competition for water between power plants, agriculture, industries, and environmental flows.

Introducing nuclear power would exacerbate those problems. A December 2006 report by the Commonwealth Department of Parliamentary Services notes that the water requirements for a nuclear power station are 20-83 per cent higher than for other power stations. Moreover, those calculations do not include water consumption by uranium mines. The Roxby Downs mine in South Australia uses 35 million litres of water each day, with plans to increase this to 150 million litres each day. Mine operator BHP Billiton does not pay one cent for this water despite recording a record $17 billion profit in 2006-07.

Water outflows from nuclear power plants can damage the local environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states:

"When nuclear power plants remove water from a lake or river for steam production and cooling, fish and other aquatic life can be affected. Water pollutants, such as heavy metals and salts, build up in the water used in the nuclear power plant systems. These water pollutants, as well as the higher temperature of the water discharged from the power plant, can negatively affect water quality and aquatic life."

A report by the U.S. Nuclear Information and Resource Service details the destruction of delicate marine ecosystems and large numbers of animals, including endangered species, by nuclear power plants. Most of the damage is done by water inflow pipes, while expulsion of warm water causes further damage.

Another documented problem is 'cold stunning' - fish acclimatise to warm water but die when the reactor is taken off-line and warm water is no longer expelled. In New Jersey, local fishermen estimated that 4,000 fish died from cold stunning when a reactor was shut down.

Nuclear reactors in numerous European countries have been periodically taken off-line or operated at reduced output in recent years because of water shortages driven by climate change, drought and heat waves. Nuclear utilities have also sought and secured exemptions from operating conditions in order to discharge overheated water.

The water consumption of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency and conservation measures is negligible compared to nuclear or coal. Operating a 2,400 Watt fan heater for one hour consumes 0.01 litres of water if wind is the energy source, 0.26 litres if solar is the energy source, 4.5 litres if coal is the energy source, or 5.5 litres if nuclear power is the energy source.

Tim Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year, notes that hastening the uptake of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal 'hot rocks' will help ease the water crisis as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions - a win-win outcome.

Globally, there is another compelling reason to ensure that decisions on water allocation - including its use in energy production - are made wisely and equitably. Limited access to water is already contributing to armed conflicts ('water wars') in a number of places around the globe. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently noted that shortages of food and water in sub-Saharan Africa were a precursor to the current tragic violence in Darfur. The problem goes "far beyond Darfur", he warned, as many other places are now suffering water shortages.

Australia can ill-afford to replace one thirsty industry, coal, with an even thirstier one, nuclear power.

Dr Sue Wareham became involved in MAPW over 20 years ago out of a "horror at the destructive capacity of a single nuclear weapon." Sue believes that her work through MAPW is fundamental to her commitment to the protection of human life and the improvement of human well-being.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner for Friends of the Earth and author of the report No Solution To Climate Change (pdf file 1.98MB) launched in September 2005. His PhD thesis dealt with the history of the Lucas Heights nuclear plant and the debate over the replacement of its nuclear research reactor. He is a member of the EnergyScience Coalition. Read his essay Environmentalists Do Not Support Nuclear Power: Critique of James Lovelock and Patrick Moore.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Know The Real ENEMY MINE


Below is the running list of international uranium mining companies seeking immediate wealth at the expense of our environment currently being assaulted by the nuclear renaissance. Most agree that international mining companies often conduct their business in foreign countries on account of lax environmental laws and regulations, and are often financed through an arcane, often mystical, financing mechanisms designed to confuse their investors. In essence, profit and greed are driving this new affront to our basic sense of responsibility which is providing that we don't destroy our environment while satisfying our immediate needs for omnipotence over poverty and want.


As I write, the pro-DNA and pro-environment groups are waging a battle in Congress over two major pieces legislation HR 2272 Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007 and the Senate energy bill (H.R.6) to protect our environment from irresponsible mining practices on Federal land and to stop the nuclear industry from obtaining unlimited construction and development loans without Congressional approval. This list intends to assist our cause; to get at the root of the issue is the easiest way to stop it until more rational thought is given by the public.


Major Uranium Mining Companies

AREVA - The AREVA group was formed through the merger of all CEA-Industrie, COGEMA, FRAMATOME ANP and FCI operations. In the nuclear sector, AREVA provides services for every aspect of power generation. From uranium mining through to site clean-up and decommissioning, for power plant construction or fuel fabrication.


AREVA NC - A wholly owned subsidiary of the AREVA group, this is an industrial group active in the energy sector offering electric utilities all over the world a full range of products and services for nuclear power generation. AREVA NC's operations range from uranium mining, conversion and enrichment through to spent fuel reprocessing and recycling.


AREVA Resources Canada Inc - The company - a subsidiary of the AREVA group - is one of the world's leading uranium exploration, mining and milling companies.


Australian Uranium - This is an independent website dedicated to furthering research and discussion about the Australian uranium mining and export industries. The site includes discussion forums and a blog.


BHP Billiton - This is the world's fourth largest producer of uranium. The company acquired the Olympic Dam mine in Australia as part of its purchase of WMC Resources.


Cameco Corporation - This is an excellent web site from the world's biggest uranium producer. It's easy to navigate, well laid out with good use of graphics. Importantly it also gives a reasonable amount of information on Cameco operations with details of uranium reserves, production, processing sites and stock prices.


Denison Mines Inc - Denison's interests include stakes in the McClean Lake and Midwest uranium projects, both in northern Saskatchewan.


DIAMO - Website of the Czech uranium mining company. *In CZECH only*


Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) - The company operates the Ranger mine in Australia's Northern Territory. The site includes information on the company, the Ranger mine, the Jabiluka site, environmental management (with a special focus on water management which is a big issue in this tropical area), and community relations.


Havilah Resources NL (HR) - This Australian company has formed a subsidiary, Curnamona Energy Pty Ltd, that will hold 100% of Havilah's Tertiary uranium exploration interests in its Curnamona Craton tenements.


Heathgate Resources - The website includes information about Heathgate Resources, the Beverley uranium mine, Environmental Impact Statement, publications and contact details.


Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) - By law, INB is the company in charge of promoting in Brazil uranium, exploitation, from mining and primary processing up to its placement in nuclear fuel elements.


International Uranium (USA) Corp (IUC) - This company is in the business of recycling uranium-bearing waste products as an alternative to the direct disposal of these waste products. In addition, IUC is engaged in the selling of uranium recovered from these operations. IUC also sells vanadium and other metals that can be produced as a co- product with uranium. IUC, together with its affliates, owns several uranium and uranium/vanadium mines and exploration properties that are on standby.


Kazatomprom - National Atomic Company Kazatomprom was established by decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 14 July, 1997 in the form of closed joint- stock company in order to strengthen control over nuclear materials production and export.


Mega Uranium Ltd - This is a mining company with a focus on uranium. It has uranium resources in Australia (Ben Lomond and Maureen, total 23.6 million lbs U3O8) and uranium exploration projects in Australia, Argentina, Mongolia and Canada.


Navoi Mining & Metallurgy Combinat (NMMC) - Initially founded in the 1950s for uranium ore mining and processing at the Uchkuduk Deposit, NMMC is now among the ten largest uranium and gold producers in the world.


Rio Tinto plc - This is one of the world's most diversified mining companies. The group also includes Rossing in Namibia and Energy Resources of Australia (ERA). Both companies supply uranium oxide for use in electricity generation.


Rossing Uranium Mine - Plenty of corporate (including media releases) and operational information on the site of this Namibian uranium mine.


Saskatchewan Industry and Resources (SIR) - The Exploration and Geological Services Division promotes mineral exploration and development by maintaining a geoscience database, and administering the disposition of metallic and industrial mineral claims on Crown lands. SIR manages its mineral resources through the administration of royalty and tax systems, and collecting and maintaining production and sales information.


UraMin Inc - The company was established to acquire and develop uranium properties throughout the world. UraMin is currently focusing on the development of their advanced exploration project, the Trekkopje Uranium Project in Namibia.


Uranerz Energy Corp - The company is involved in uranium exploration and mining. Uranerz's corporate goal is to create shareholder wealth through the discovery or acquisition of quality uranium deposits, and developing those deposits into profitable producing mines using low cost mining methods such as in-situ and heap leach technologies. The company is focused in Wyoming, USA, Mongolia and Saskatchewan, Canada.


Urangesellschaft mbH (UG) - This is an international uranium mining and trading company. It supplies nuclear power plants with natural and enriched uranium, with separative work, and renders all services connected with such supplies.


Uranium Miner - Uranium Miner provides insight into uranium resource companies that offer outstanding properties, management and experience in the mining/exploration industry. Includes a comprehensive list of uranium mining companies. Also includes a glossary of uranium mining and general mining terms.


Uranium One Inc - The company is engaged in the exploration and development of uranium and gold resource properties in South Africa, Australia and Canada. The company's principal assets are the Dominion Uranium Project in South Africa, the Honeymoon Uranium Project in Australia and, through its majority-owned subsidiary, Aflease Gold Ltd, the Modder East Gold Project in South Africa. Through a joint venture with Pitchstone Exploration Ltd, the company is also engaged in the acquisition and development of uranium exploration properties in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada.


Uranium Resources Inc (URI) - The Group's principal activities are to acquire, explore, develop and mine uranium properties. The Group uses the in-situ leach (ISL) mining process to extract uranium.


Uranium SA - This web site is designed to inform the general community about the current and potential uranium mining operations in South Australia. It also deals with issues related to the use and management of uranium in the context of safety and sustainable development.


UrAsia Energy - The company's annualized production is an estimated 1.4 million pounds of uranium, which comes from its 70% interest in the Akdala in-situ leach uranium mine in Kazakhstan. The company's goal is to be producing in excess of 10 million pounds annually by 2015 from at least three assets in Central Asia.


Wyoming Mining Association - Uranium (WMA) - Everything about the uranium industry in Wyoming, including a useful library of articles about the uranium industry, geological information, and technical information about the mining operations.


Junior Uranium Companies

Adresmin Gold Corp - This Canadian company has entered into negotiations with a private Peruvian prospector to acquire a 'high- quality' uranium project in Peru.


Alberta Star Development Corp - Alberta Star has high hopes for its Longtom property in Canada's Great Bear area in the Northwest Territories. The company has called this property its 'Olympic Dam-style' iron, copper, gold, silver, cobalt, and uranium project.


Aldershot Resources Ltd - This is a Canadian based company focused in uranium exploration with projects in Quebec, Australia and Zambia.


Altius Minerals Corp - The company has entered into a joint venture with JNR Resources Inc to develop the Rocky Brook uranium property in western Newfoundland, Canada. Altius and partner Fronteer Development Group have a uranium exploration program under way in the central mineral belt of Labrador.


Bayswater Uranium Corp - This is a Canadian based exploration company with a large, highly prospective and diverse property base. Bayswater is focused mainly on uranium, with properties in each of Canada's major uranium producing and exploration regions.


Bitterroot Resources Ltd - This Canadian company has entered into an option/joint venture agreement with Cameco Corp covering exploration targets within a 780 square mile area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA.


CanAlaska - The company is a mineral exploration firm exploring for uranium in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada. Since September 2004, the company has assembled one of the largest exploration portfolios in the region.


Commander Resources - This is a Canadian junior exploration company with control one of the largest new gold districts in Canada and a new uranium belt in Newfoundland.


Consolidated Abaddon - This is a Canadian uranium exploration company actively involved with the development of properties in the Athabasca Basin of Northern Saskatchewan and the Sims Basin of Labrador. Property partners include International Uranium Corp and Triex Minerals Corp.


Crosshair Exploration & Mining - This is a Canadian uranium and gold exploration and development company with projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. The company has developed into a dominant player in the exploration for uranium in the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador.


Dejour Enterprises Ltd - This Canadian company has aggressively been researching and acquiring uranium properties in the Saskatchewan Athabasca Basin.


El Nino Ventures Inc - The company is a major landholder in the Bancroft region of Ontario, Canada, with its option on 8 uranium properties, on which it may earn 100% interest, in the townships of Faraday, Cardiff, and Monmouth. The properties in total are comprised of 37 mineral claims containing 247 claim units, and the claims cover a total of some 3952 hectares.


Energy Metals Corp - In 2004, Energy Metals (formerly Clan Resources) acquired a 100% interest in the Aurora uranium property in Oregon and in uranium properties in Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona.


Firestone Ventures Inc - This Canadian company's portfolio includes a 100% interest in more than 110,000 acres of land in southwestern Alberta.


Fjordland Exploration Inc - The company has an option to earn up to 80% in the Olympic-Rob copper-gold-uranium project located in Yukon, Canada.


Formation Capital Corp - This Canadian company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, has interests in base, precious metal and uranium projects in Canada, the United States and Mexico.


Forsys Metals Corp - This Canadian company recently completed a transaction to acquire 90% interest in the Valencia Uranium Deposit in Namibia, while the remaining 10% is owned by Ongopolo Mining & Processing


Forum Uranium Corp - This is a Canadian-based energy company with a focus on the acquisition, exploration and development of energy projects. The company has a 100% interest in over 165,000 hectares of uranium exploration properties located in the prolific Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan and a 65% interest in the Costigan Lake Joint Venture nearby the Key Lake uranium mine.


Fronteer Development Group - In September 2004, Fronteer announced that it and its partner, Northwestern Development Group, had intersected high-grade uranium mineralization in a recent drill program at the Longtom property in Canada's Northwest Territories. Fronteer is also a partner with Altius Mineral Corp on a uranium exploration program in Labrador, Canada, and with Albert Star.


Globex Mining Enterprises Inc - This is a Canadian-based exploration company with a very large North American portfolio of advanced properties with gold, copper, zinc, silver, uranium, platinum, palladium, magnesium and talc potential.


International KRL Resources Corp (IRK) - The company has acquired an option on 52 claims at the Nor property in the Yukon Territory, Canada. IRK has also acquired a mineral claim block on the Carswell Dome Formation in Saskatchewan.


JNR Resources Inc (JNR) - The company has a joint venture with International Uranium Corp (IUC) to explore the Moore Lake area of northern Saskatchewan, Canada, for uranium. JNR is also planning to explore for uranium at its 100%-owned Black Lake project on the north rim of the Athabasca Basin. It has a joint venture with Altius Minerals on exploring for uranium in Newfoundland.


Khan Resources Inc - The company, through a subsidiary, owns 58% of the former-producing Dornod uranium property in the Dornod region of eastern Mongolia. This property hosts two separate deposits - the #2 open pit which was previously mined by the Russians, and the extensively explored #7 undergound deposit.


Landmark Minerals Inc - This is a Canadian junior exploration company focused on exploring and developing uranium properties in Algeria.


Laramide Resources Ltd - This Canadian company is acquiring the Westmoreland copper/gold/uranium project in Queensland, Australia. Laramide expects this developmental-stage project to become its 'flagship asset'.


Logan Resources Ltd - The company acquired the Carswell property, consisting of 7552 hectares located in the Athabasca Basin, Canada, in 2004.


Mesa Uranium Inc - This is a Canadian exploration company focused on exploring for uranium on the 100% owned Lisbon Valley Project in the historic Lisbon Valley Mining District in Southeastern Utah, USA.


Northern Continental Resources Inc (NCR) - The company is planning an exploration program for the Russell Lake uranium project in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada.


Northwestern Mineral Ventures Inc - This is an emerging junior exploration company, which is concentrating on the acquisition of properties with potential uranium and/or silver-gold targets. The company has acquired 100% exploration rights to two uranium concessions in Niger, and also has an option to earn up to 75% ownership of the Waterbury Project, which consists of nine uranium claims in the Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Paladin Resources Ltd - This is an Australian listed company involved in the mineral resource sector with projects both in Australia and Africa. The resource arm of Paladin has a strong emphasis on uranium. With the recent acquisition of the Langer Heinrich Uranium Project in Namibia, Paladin believes that, in combination with its Kayelekera Project in Malawi, it has control of the two most advanced uranium projects in Africa.


Pan African Mining Corp - This Canadian company is an exploratory resource company with approximately 10,000 square kilometres of diversified mineral properties and 2500 square kilometres of uranium properties in Madagascar. The company is exploring these properties for gold, uranium, precious stones, base metals and industrial commodities.


Pathfinder Resources Ltd - This is a mineral exploration company focused on the discovery of world-class uranium deposits. Pathfinder has the largest land position in Canada's Thelon Basin region, recognized as one of the most prospective areas for discovery of high-grade uranium deposits. The Company's other uranium interests include 88,000 acres in the Hermitage Uranium Belt of Newfoundland, and a partnership in a uranium syndicate formed to acquire prospective uranium properties in Central America.


Pitchstone Exploration Ltd - This is a public company exploring for uranium in Canada. Pitchstone began acquiring land in early 2003 in the heart of the eastern Athabasca Basin uranium district in proximity to the major, high-grade uranium producers. Currently the company owns 50 to 100% interest in the mineral rights to more than 200,000 hectares of land situated in the eastern Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan and in the Hornby Bay Basin, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.


Quincy Gold Corp - The company has been staking claims for uranium-containing property in the Horse Creek area of Natrona County, Wyoming (an area formerly explored by Phillips Petroleum and Union Carbide) and in Sandoval County, New Mexico. Quincy Gold is also pursuing a controlling interest in the Hosta Butte deposit in New Mexico, the Hansen deposit in Colorado, and a property in the Churchrock area of New Mexico.


Rampart Ventures Ltd - The company has been acquiring uranium properties in the Thunder Bay area of northern Ontario, Canada.


Rodinia Minerals Inc - This Canadian company has entered into an option agreement with Cooper Minerals of Nevada, USA, to buy a 100% interest in the Workman Creek uranium deposit in Gilia County, Arizona.


Santoy Resources Ltd - This Canadian company has actively been acquiring strategically located uranium properties within four main geographic locations for uranium occurrences: the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Southeast British Columbia, the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador, and in the USA.


Solex Resources Corp - This Canadian company specializes in the acquisition and development of uranium and base metal- properties in Peru.


Solitaire Minerals Corp - The company has increased its uranium landholdings in the Riou Lake area of northern Saskatchewan, Canada.


Starfire Minerals Inc - The company has optioned the Capri uranium prospect near Gran Remous, Quebec, Canada.


Strathmore Minerals Corp - The company has uranium properties in the US, Canada, and Peru. It is evaluating the NoseRock area in New Mexico for a possible underground operation or in situ leach operation.


Summit Resources Ltd - The company is focussed on uranium,copper, gold and base metal exploration and mine development projects in the Mount Isa metals province in northwest Queensland, Australia.


Thelon Ventures Ltd - The company's portfolio includes uranium properties in the Athabasca Basin, Canada and Nevada's White River Valley, USA.


Titan Uranium Inc - The company is focused on the discovery of high grade uranium in Canada. It is currently exploring projects in the Thelon and Athabasca basins, Canada.


Trend Mining Co - The company has signed a letter of intent with Nuinsco Resources Ltd as 'a prelude to a joint venture agreement relating to Trend's Cree Lake/Diabase Peninsula Project in Saskatchewan'. Under these arrangements, Nuinsco will assume operating management and will explore for uranium mineralization on mining claims that Trend owns or holds under a purchase option in the Athabasca Basin, Canada.


Triex Minerals Corp - The company has entered into an agreement with Roughrider Uranium Corp to acquire a 51% interest in approximately 220,000 acres in the Athabasca Basin in Northeast Alberta, Canada, in an area known as the Old Fort Bay property. Triex and Roughrider have jointly acquired a 50% interest in 11,000 acres situated in the Maybelle River area with Strathmore Minerals Corp.


U3O8 Corp - This is a private Canadian junior exploration company which, through a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary, has been granted a reconnaissance permit to carry out geological and geophysical surveys for uranium over an area of 579,500 hectares in western Guyana, South America.


UEX Corp - The company was formed under an agreement between Cameco Corp and Pioneer Metals Corp and is an active explorer in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. UEX has a total of 13 projects either 100%-owned, joint ventured or under option totaling approximately 248,000 hectares located in the eastern, western and northern perimeters of the Athabasca Basin.


UGL Enterprises Ltd - In late December 2004, UGL announced that it had closed on its acquisition of a 100% interest in the Naidal uranium project located in northeast Mongolia for US$5,000 in cash and 100,000 shares of the company's stock. UGL said it also has several other uranium projects in Mongolia under review.


United Carina Resources Corp - This Canadian company owns the Hatchet Lake uranium prospect, consisting of 16,990 hectares of contiguous claims that have been subject to previous exploration for uranium. The properties are located approximately 18 miles north and northeast of Rabbit Lake, McLean Lake, Collins Bay and Eagle Point uranium deposits.


Universal Uranium Ltd - The company has negotiated an agreement to explore and develop the Lisbon Valley Property in Utah, USA. The Lisbon Valley was home to 16 previous producing uranium mines.


UNOR Inc - Formerly named Hornby Bay Exploration Ltd, the company is principally a mineral exploration company engaged in the exploration of its mineral properties, with uranium its primary focus. UNOR currently has mineral projects in Nunavut; Ontario; Manitoba; and British Columbia.


Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) - The company is engaged in the acquisition and development of uranium resources in the south western United States. UEC has 13 properties in 5 states, including one project in Texas, currently being permitted for ISL mining.


Uranium Power Corp (UPC) - This Vancouver, Canada, based company is engaged in the exploration and development of high- grade, low-cost uranium properties in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan.


Uravan Minerals Inc - The company is planning to use the proceeds from the private placement of shares in the company to fund exploration at its Boomerang uranium and gold property in the southwest Thelon Basin of the Northwest Territories, Canada.


Vena Resources Inc - This Canadian company is dedicated to exploring and developing mineral properties in Peru. Vena has entered into joint venture and purchase options on a number of prospective properties and uranium initiatives.


Western Prospector Group Ltd - This Canadian company announced in December 2004 that it had acquired three additional uranium properties in the Saddle Hills uranium basin in northeastern Mongolia. The acquisition, the company said, brought Western Prospector's total holdings to 100,659 contiguous hectares in the Saddle Hills basin.


Yankee Hat Minerals Ltd - The company has signed a binding letter of intent to acquire a 50% interest in uranium on permits covering some 18-million acres in the North West Territories of Canada.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

One-man 'occupation' of Slim Buttes protests uranium

Forest Service denies runoff sickening residents
By Bill Harlan, Journal staff

Harold One Feather is waging a one-man protest to spur the U.S. Forest Service into a quicker clean-up of an old uranium mine in the Slim Buttes in northwestern South Dakota.

“I’m a true environmentalist,” One Feather quipped in a static-plagued cell phone conversation from his remote campsite. “I’m actually out in the environment.”

One Feather, founder of the new Grand River Environmental Equality Network, said he was "occupying" the Slim Buttes, which are part of Custer National Forest.

One Feather said he had been mostly alone at his campsite since he arrived Sunday, but he is expecting more protesters from Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

The Grand River runs from Custer National Forest through several communities on the Standing Rock reservation, about 60 miles to the east.

One Feather and other Standing Rock residents say runoff from uranium mines may be making people on the reservation sick, though the Forest Service denies that charge.

"The answer to that is a proven 'no,'" Forest Service spokeswoman Laurie Walters-Clark said.

However, the Forest Service is investigating the extent of contamination caused by at least one a small uranium mine in the Slim Buttes. That investigation began last summer and should be complete by the end of this summer, Walters-Clark said. The investigation also includes several small exploration pits.

Walters-Clark is the Forest Service's on-scene coordinator for a $20 million Superfund clean-up of uranium mines set to begin this summer in the nearby Cave Hills, also in Custer National Forest.

A Forest Service study in 2005, and a study released this year by the South Dakota School of Mines &Technology, found higher than normal levels of uranium, molybdenum, arsenic and other metals on federal and private land near the mines.

The studies tested sediment, topsoil, groundwater and air. "Most of the health risks would be from ingesting materials," Walters-Clark said.

The clean-up on federal land in the Cave Hills will include re-grading and re-vegetating some ground. On land with the highest level of contamination, sediment and topsoil will be scraped off and removed to a clay-lined dump, Walters-Clark said.

Private land affected by run-off from federal land also will be cleaned up, Walters-Clark said.

Mines in the North Cave Hills unit of the national forest were operated by Kerr-McGee, now Tronox Inc. of Oklahoma City. Tronox is paying $15 million for the clean-up, which is regulated under the federal Superfund law.

The Forest Service is paying $5 million to clean up the site because original mine owners of the brief 1950s uranium boom are long gone, Walters-Clark said. "There were a lot of mom and pop operations," Walters-Clark said. "There were no responsible parties left."

Tronox expects to complete the Cave Hills cleanup in two or three years, Walters-Clark said.

There also were uranium mines in the South Cave Hills and at least one mine in the Slim Buttes, Walters-Clark said, but those operations were smaller. A clean-up there would be at least two years away.

Walters-Clark said the Forest Service had been studying the problem since the early 1990. "It's simply a long process," she acknowledged. "The Forest Service had to prove there was a hazard."

But Walters-Clark said contamination from uranium mines on the national forest did not threaten the health of people who live on the Grand River, which the state monitors. "There are state laws and regulations, and we're adhering to them," she said.

So far, the Forest Service has been unable to convince One Feather and other members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the old uranium mines do not pose a threat to their communities downstream. "There's a lack of trust," Walters-Clark said.

The Forest Service has not responded to One Feather's one-man occupation of the Slim Buttes. "I saw him on the road," Walters-Clark said. "He's not doing anything illegal. He's just using his national forest."

Contact Bill Harlan at 394-8424 or bill.harlan@rapidcityjournal.com

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

WHAT? NRC's Feels 9-11 tragedy not a threat to NUKE PLANTS


UPI.com: NRC: Airplane crash not nuke-plant concern
NRC: Airplane crash not nuke-plant concern
U.S. nuclear regulators approved a new rule to protect plants from terrorist attacks, though anti-nuclear groups say it should have included airplane crashes.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Monday a final rule for security governing the design basis threat on U.S. nuclear plants.
"This rule is an important piece, but only one piece, of a broader effort to enhance nuclear power plant security," said Dale Klein, chairman of the NRC. "Overall we are taking a multi-faceted approach to security enhancements in this post 9/11 threat environment, and looking at how best to secure existing nuclear power plants and how to incorporate security enhancements into design features of new reactors that may be built in coming years."
The ruling, which the NRC says is the first of many, creates security criteria for new nuclear plants. Future rules may enhance security assessment requirements for new reactors and physical protection of reactors.
But groups have urged the NRC to use the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a model for protecting plants. They criticized the NRC for not requiring protection of a large ground force or large aircraft attack.
"Rather than requiring measures to prevent a plane crash from damaging vulnerable parts of a nuclear plant, which would be the smartest course, the government is relying on post-crash measures and evacuation plans to attempt to 'mitigate' the public's exposure to radiation," Michelle Boyd, legislative director of Public Citizen's energy program, said in a statement.
"Nuclear terrorism prevention is far more prudent than trying to reduce radiation exposures after the fact," she added.
An NRC statement said the commission rejected a "beamhenge" approach -- using steal beams and cables to prevent a plane from reaching a reactor -- and said the ruling "does not require protection against a deliberate hit by a large aircraft."
"The NRC has already required its licensees to take steps to mitigate the effects of large fires and explosions from any type of initiating event. The active protection against airborne threats is addressed by other federal organizations, including the military."
UPI


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Monday, August 27, 2007

Astonishing tower collapse screams "No New Nukes!!"

August 27, 2007

A cooling tower at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant has collapsed.

A broken 54" pipe there has spewed 350,000 gallons per minute of contaminated, overheated water into the Earth. "The river water piping and the series of screens and supports failed," said a company spokesman. They "fell to the ground."

The public and media were barred from viewing the wreckage for three days. But when a Congressional Energy Bill conference committee takes up Senate-approved loan guarantees for building new nukes this fall, what will reactor backers say about this latest pile of radioactive rubble?

This kind of event can make even hardened nuke opponents pinch themselves and read the descriptions twice. Who could make this up?

Vermont Yankee has been in operation---more or less---since the early 1970s. Its owner is Entergy, a multi-reactor "McNuke" operator that last year got approval to up VY's output by 20%.

Required inspections revealed worrisome cracks and other structural problems. Entergy dismissed all that, but was forced to issue a "ratepayer protection policy" against incidents caused by the power increase. The guarantee expired earlier this month, not long before the collapse.

The tower came down amidst angry negotiations between Entergy and plant workers. A strike was barely averted, but VY's labor troubles are by no means over.

The reactor's output has now been slashed 50%. A public battle is raging over whether it can dump water even hotter than usual into the Connecticut River. Reactors in Alabama, France and elsewhere have been forced shut because the rivers that cool them have exceeded 90 degrees.

Yankee's cooling system, vintage 1972, centers on 22 (now 21) wood, fiberglass and metal towers that stretch for 300 feet, and are 50 feet high and 40 feet wide. The company calls this giant rig a "rain forest."

Operators admit to hearing "strange sounds" coming from its fans last week, but say Tuesday's collapse was unexpected.

Nuclear opponents who warned about such an event have been scorned by Entergy and its supporters. That something as apparently absurd as the spontaneous collapse of an entire cooling tower could actually occur underlines America's Keystone Kops reality of atomic operation and regulation. "We need to understand what happened," explains the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Diane Screnci.

So does Congress. A definitive Conference Committee battle will be fought after Labor Day over an Energy Bill that includes taxpayer guarantees for $50 billion and more to build new nukes.

Meanwhile Vermonters will pay for this latest pile of radioactive reactor rubble. Maybe a "fall foliage" field trip to the Green Mountain State would do the Congress some good.

--
Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA: OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is available at www.solartopia.org. He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and senior editor of Freepress.org, where this article first appeared.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vermont Yankee cooling tower catastrophic failure

The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
Ruling out sabotage, I wonder if the NRC and Homeland Security will consider Entergy to be managed by fools and termites lol

This is serious, nuclear catastrophic accidents shouldn't be left for hindsight...why aren't the regulatory authorities investigating the entire nuclear industry...because they rely on self-reporting by the nuclear industry...that is like asking the fox in the henhouse, how many chickens he ate...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Personal Agenda Against South Dakota Abandoned Uranium Mines

My Personal Mission against Uranium Mining and the Nuclear Industry

1. To demand the comprehensive and total clean up of abandoned uranium mines with the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills, and not just one at a time as the US Forest Service is stating it is doing.

2. To consider the negative health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation exposure through surface water, ground water and air transport; especially as this has been occurring to my community Rock Creek (Bullhead, SD). We feel that the US Forest Service's negligence of considering the Rock Creek communities concern that the uranium mines are causing extreme health crises within the community is tantamount to genocide and racism.

3. To revise the US Forest Service Sioux Oil and Gas Leasing Final Environmental Impact Statement to either start an Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or start the EIS process anew to include tribal communities' extreme health concerns. This is our main point that the US Forest Service although hearing testimony from Rock Creek community members about their increasing rates of cancer, birth problems, and diabetes, they didn't include this in the FEIS and replied that the commenting period is over. They were told numerous times about what the sickness and deaths happening downstream, yet they purposefully ignore our concerns. This too is genocide and racism!

4. We demand that all current leases involving uranium, oil, gas as well as other mineral resources be outlawed in the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills and those existing outstanding leases be allowed to expire without renewal of these leases.

5. We demand that the name of the Custer National Forest be changed to Crazy Horse National Forest; this is upon the advice of the story told to LaDonna Brave Bull-Allard by Johnson Holy Rock and Elaine Quiver: that the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills was one of Crazy Horse's favorite places and is part of the Powder River basin that as a condition of his surrender would be his permanent reservation. For this he was murdered at Fort Robinson.

6. We demand that the Sioux Ranger District be renamed Paha Zizipila as this is its true Lakota name.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Contest Begins in Earnest

As we enter this new day in the Nuclear Renaissance in which a majority of the herd are hoping foolishly that nuclear energy will save us from the inevitable meltdown of our climate, I feel that more public involvement is needed from a more independent perspective, namely ours, the Native Americans, Indians or the People you stole land from where your precious uranium lies underneath.

Our legend has it that uranium is Iya (pronounced EYE--EEE-YAA); it is a black monster, a brother to Iktomi, the trickster. Since Iya eats people from the inside as does cancer, Inyan Hokshila (Stone Boy) buried deep under the earth to protect people from the black monster. Iya is an ancient spirit, also kin to the Unktehila (dinosaurs) and Unkcegila (cavemen), who also ate people. From our perspective, we feel that Inyan Hoksila walks with us and he does because he is me.

As one that has been fighting Iya for 11 years alone, gathering my resources for this day when they will be useful to all that need this; I have lost many precious people to Iya, to cancer. My parents passed on long ago, my relatives passed on long ago and I am alone.

These are my words, not parroted from some white person or copied from some arcane website...the nuclear industry has a weakness, it is us, the Native Americans. They need us to accept again as did the Navajo did long ago their wishes to rape and desecrate our Grandmother Earth through mining and deforestation, polluting our precious water, killing our future...they have sent many lackeys, including their token Injuns under the name NAEG (Native American Energy Group) and even sometimes those token Injuns don't know they are token Injuns (they know who they are).

In our community Rock Creek (Bullhead, South Dakota) on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, we have chased down and booted out NAEG, chastising their lackeys for being anti-Native, exposing them for being nothing but bootlickers as they know themselves to be. NAEG offered wind power, solar power, oil wells and ISL uranium mining and each time our community shot them down, saying you are here to rip us off. Evidently NAEG thought the southern tribes of Pine Ridge and Rosebud would be ignorant but the moccasin trail beat them to those reservations and opposition has started against them; NAEG will fail!!!

As this relates to the nation-wide putsch in nuclear energy, the corporations are doing the same thing to the public, lying to them that nuclear energy will save us from global warming and catastrophic climate change! They even present animated maps showing the east coast underwater, glaciers melting, the polar ice caps disappearing. These are their lies they use and while it is true these natural events are happening, they have been happening because we are polluting our environment, killing our Grandmother Earth, not because we need nuclear energy!!!

The corporations are broke, they need government subsidies and loans to start building their nuclear reactors...most are heavily financed by debt and bonds. These bonds are coming due but they can't pay them since they don't have the cash! This is their weakness-if they don't get the loans and grants through GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) and if they don't get the cheap sources of uranium from within this country...THEY WILL GO BANKRUPT!!!

We need to form a common ground in the anti-nuclear movement to cause this to happen...if we are successful and I know we will be; these corporations will lose control of their stranglehold over their customers and giving the power back to the people where it truly belongs through cooperative ownership of electrical power!!!

We need to bring all facets of this issue together: mining, weapons, reactors, and waste! We do this and they will concede defeat!!!!! And our environment will be safe, our Grandmother Earth will begin to heal herself!!!

BAN URANIUM MINING
STOP NEW REACTOR LICENSING
OPPOSE GNEP
SHUT DOWN ALL REACTOR UP FOR RELICENSING

SHUT DOWN INDIAN POINT!!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Asheville NC - Southeast Convergence for Climate Action

The convergence really rocked...gave me hope that, although the nuclear madness sickens me, that somewhere out there a group of young people are slamming down corporatism!!!

kudos to them!!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Maps and more maps - lost in a nuclear maze

After looking at the following maps and what they signify, you'll coming to the conclusion that nuclear renaissance is a feint meant to distract the public from their true objectives which, in my opinion is storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

Most of the spent nuclear fuel is being stored mainly in the eastern half of the United States as shown the maps below. Then if you consider that this area is also where most of the nuclear reactors are located while the rest of the country only has a few reactors in their backyards. This squeeze play comes about after the Barnwell nuclear waste storage closes its door to all the states except for New Jersey, South Carolina and Connecticut.

Locations of Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations

spent-fuel-stor-locations

Map of Power Reactor Sites



Locations of Uranium Milling Facilities

Locations of Uranium Milling Facilities


Nuclear Waste Transportation Routes

Nuclear Waste Transportation Routes

Finally this map reinforces my theory that the nuclear renaissance is another chic word like global warming. If you notice on a previous map the Southeast has the highest concentrations of nuclear reactors but on this map the Southeast is not pursuing clean energy as a goal. In other words they'd rather take the chance of a major catastrophic failure at one of their nuclear reactors than to contribute in reducing global warming and reduce the amount of nuclear waste.

Is this risk worth it?

Renewable Electricity Standards at Work in the States

Renewable Electricity Standards at Work in the States

Now to end this, I feel that in Congress the southeastern states are a self-serving voting bloc while the western, northeastern and midwest states are not as organized and therefore cannot win any major concessions on clean renewable energy and probably can't stop the upcoming federal subsidies and loan guarantees promoting the nuclear energy industry.

James Lovelock and the big bang

Green Left - James Lovelock and the big bang

Jim Green
3 August 2007

British scientist James Lovelock, famous for his Gaia theory of the earth as a self-regulating organism, was in Adelaide on July 7-8, speaking at the Festival of Ideas. He has researched across a range of disciplines and has much of interest to say. But on the topic of nuclear power, Lovelock is inaccurate and irresponsible.

“Modern nuclear power stations are useless for making bombs”, Lovelock told the ABC’s Lateline program on May 30, 2006. That is in stark contrast to comments last year by former US Vice-President Al Gore, who said: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons’ proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program … if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal … then we’d have to put them in so many places we’d run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale.”

Which of these climate campaigners is right — Lovelock or Gore?

A typical nuclear power reactor produces about 300 kilograms of plutonium each year, sufficient for about 30 nuclear weapons. There is no dispute that this “reactor-grade” plutonium can be used in weapons, though the use of weapon-grade plutonium increases their reliability and destructive force.

Power reactors can also be used to produce weapon-grade plutonium, which is ideal for nuclear weapons. All that needs to be done is to shorten the amount of time that the nuclear fuel is irradiated in a reactor. This results in a higher percentage of plutonium-239 relative to other, unwanted, isotopes, such as plutonium-240, 241 and 242.

A typical power reactor can produce hundreds of kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium annually and just a few kilograms are required for one weapon as powerful as that dropped on Nagasaki.

The proliferation risks associated with nuclear power are not just hypothetical. India uses power reactors in its nuclear weapons program (although research reactors have been the main source of plutonium). Under a proposed nuclear agreement between India and the United States, India has announced that 14 of its power reactors will be subject to international safeguards inspections, but a further eight will not be safeguarded and can be used for weapons production.

North Korea’s nuclear bomb test last October used plutonium produced in a so-called “experimental power reactor”. The US uses a power reactor to produce tritium, which is used to increase the destructive force of nuclear weapons. The US has also published details of a successful weapon test in 1962 using reactor-grade plutonium.

Australia’s nuclear history also demonstrates the link between nuclear power and weapons. On several occasions in the 1950s and 1960s, federal cabinet received submissions arguing that one “advantage” of nuclear power reactors is that they inevitably produce plutonium that can be used in weapons.

From 1969 until his resignation in 1971, Liberal PM John Gorton pursued a plan to build a power reactor at Jervis Bay on the NSW coast. He later acknowledged that the reactor was to produce not just electricity but also plutonium for potential use in weapons. The Jervis Bay plan was scrapped by Gorton’s Liberal successor, Billy McMahon.

Nuclear power programs have indirectly supported a number of weapons programs by providing a rationale for acquiring uranium enrichment plants, research and training reactors, or reprocessing plants. Five of the 10 countries to have developed nuclear weapons did so under cover of a “civil” program: India and Israel use research reactors to produce plutonium for weapons; South Africa and Pakistan acquired enrichment technology and produced highly enriched uranium bombs; and North Korea used its “experimental power reactor” for plutonium production.

Iraq’s nuclear weapons program from the 1970s to 1991 illustrates the indirect links between power and weapons. Iraq never actually built power reactors, but its professed interest in nuclear power facilitated the acquisition of a vast amount of nuclear technology and expertise, which was put to use in the weapons program. It was later described in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as a “shop-till-you-drop” weapons program, with much of the shopping done openly.

According to Khidhir Hamza, a senior nuclear scientist involved in Iraq’s weapons program: “Acquiring nuclear technology within the [International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA] safeguards system was the first step in establishing the infrastructure necessary to develop nuclear weapons. In 1973, we decided to acquire a 40-megawatt research reactor, a fuel manufacturing plant, and nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, all under cover of acquiring the expertise needed to eventually build and operate nuclear power plants, and produce and recycle nuclear fuel. Our hidden agenda was to clandestinely develop the expertise and infrastructure needed to produce weapon-grade plutonium.”

Iraq’s nuclear weapons program continued until the 1991 Gulf War, yet the IAEA failed to detect it, or its use of “safeguarded” research reactors to produce materials used in tests of “dirty” radiation bombs. The Iraq debacle prompted efforts to tighten the safeguards system, but the current IAEA director-general, Dr Mohamed El Baradei, characterises those efforts as “half hearted”.

Nuclear power is the one and only energy source with a repeatedly demonstrated connection to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To deny that connection — as James Lovelock does — is inaccurate, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

[Dr Jim Green is an anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth.]

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