Uranium mining is necessary to provide the "fuel" for nuclear reactors (and also to make nuclear weapons). Historically, uranium mining has been carried out on land occupied by indigenous people - who have often also comprised the work force, and who have suffered the health and environmental consequences. High-grade uranium is a finite resource, therefore disqualifying nuclear power from consideration as renewable energy.
July 16th marks two dark Atomic Age anniversaries in New Mexico of national and even global significance. It's 70 years since "Trinity," the world's first atom bomb explosion, at Alamogordo, NM -- the Manhattan Project "test" for Nagasaki to follow three weeks later. And it's 36 years since one of the worst (and least known) radioactivity disasters in U.S. history, the massive uranium tailings dam release at Church Rock, NM. Ninety million gallons of liquid radioactive waste, and eleven hundred tons of solid mill wastes, spilled into the Rio Puerco River, vital source of drinking and livestock grazing water for Navajo communities downstream.
But resistance to nuclear weapons and nuclear power remains strong in the "Land of Enchantment," despite decades of ongoing radioactive abuses. For example, Diné No Nukes of New Mexico will join with S.A.N.S. and Nuclear Energy Information Service to celebrate a successful fundraiser for their collaborative "Radiation Monitoring Project," purchasing detectors to be used in Navajo country, still contaminated from decades of uranium mining and milling.
And Downwinders and nuclear weapons watchdog groups, including Beyond Nuclear's Alliance for Nuclear Accountability coalition partners Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Watch New Mexico and Southwest Research Information Center are not only commemorating "Trinity." They continue their decades-long efforts, such as watchdogging the "Birthplace of the Bomb," Los Alamos National Lab; resisting nuclear weaponeers' attempt to keep their omnicidal trade going for decades to come, at unthinkable expense; opposing threatened in situ uranium mining; and outing the truth about the 2014 radioactivity leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM, to name but a few of their ongoing campaigns.
URANIUM? LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND!
-A Film Screening & Discussion About Uranium Mining-
@ Busboys & Poets (5th & K)
1025 5th St. NW Washington, DC 20001
Metro: Gallery Place/Chinatown
Join the discussion with experts and activists fighting the Nuclear Fuel Chain from Cradle to Grave. What can we learn from the history and what is at stake with uranium at this moment?
Film: The River That Harms
(Dir. Colleen Keane, 45 mins, 1987, United States)
This film documents the largest radioactive waste spill in U.S. history - a national tragedy that occurred on Diné (Navajo) lands that received little attention. With the sound of a thunderclap, 94 million gallons of radioactive waste broke through a United Nuclear Corporation storage dam in 1979 and poured into New Mexico’s Puerco River, the main water supply for the Diné people and a tributary of the major source of water for Los Angeles, California. To the Diné people, this event impacted their lands, their health and their economy and sends a prophetic warning for all humanity.
Co-sponsored by: Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Diné No Nukes, S.A.N.S., and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
"Indian court trying to unravel mystery of sick and disabled children, miscarriages and fatal cancers around the country's first uranium mine...
"When mining started in Jadugora, workers went into the bowels of the earth and came up with uranium ore. They dug with shovels, hauled the ore back to the surface in pails. Despite new technologies, hundreds of workers still do that...
"When people began to notice that young women were having miscarriages, witches and spirits were blamed. Prayers were said to ward off the “evil eye.” But people had lesions, children were born with deformities, hair loss was common. Cows couldn’t give birth, hens laid fewer eggs, fish had skin diseases..." The Star
Miners who dug uranium ore that supplied the British and US military in the 1970s with the raw material for bombs and civil nuclear power are reported to be dying of cancers and unexplained illnesses after working in one ofAfrica's largest mines, writes John Vidal in The Guardian.
A study based on questionnaires of current and former workers at the giant Rio Tinto-owned Rössing uranium mine in Namibia says that everyone questioned was aware of people who are now suffering lung infections and unknown illnesses thought to be linked to their work. Read the full story.