Uranium Mining

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.



Victory! Virginia keeps the ban on uranium mining!

A proposal to end Virginia’s 31-year ban on uranium mining suffered a major defeat on January 31 before a state Senate panel. Lacking the votes to win, Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, withdrew his bill in the Agriculture Committee. That killed the measure for the 2013 session. Mining opponents claimed victory, saying any effort to lift the mining ban is probably dead this year — and maybe well beyond. The Keep the Ban movement brought together environmental organizations, the Virginia Farm Bureau, the Virginia chapter of the NAACP and, most recently, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. Virginia has a 30-year ban on uranium mining. The uranium industry made making a well-financed push to repeal the ban in order to mine and process uranium, starting in Southside Virginia. Drinking water, human health, farmland, property values, wildlife and tourism across Virginia were at risk. Virginia Uranium, the company that planned to mine the Coles Hill site, will not likely go quietly, but the proposal is once again stymied for the time being.


Utah uranium mining operations suspended

Reports Uranium Watch: It has taken only 5 years for the most recent uranium mining boom in Utah to hit bottom.  In 2012, Energy Fuels Inc. acquired the Denison Mines Corporation’s United States uranium interests through a buyout/merger process.  These interest include the White Mesa Mill, the operating La Sal Mines Complex and Daneros Mine in San Juan County and other mines and mining claims in Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.  Subsequently, Energy Fuels announced they would place their operating Utah mines on standby and would concentrate on operating their mines on the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon.  Energy Fuels’ US subsidiary, Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (EFR), has suspended operations at the La Sal/Beaver Shaft and Daneros Mine.  Originally EFR announced that they would reclaim the Pandora Mine, but later stated they would also temporarily suspend the Pandora Mine operations. 
The Moab office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is still reviewing the Plan of Operations Amendment (POA) for the La Sal Mines Complex and completing the Environmental Assessment.  The POA includes the updated provisions for the reclamation of the La Sal, Snowball, Beaver Shaft, and Pandora Mines.  These must be approved by the BLM.
Energy Fuels will now have 9 uranium mines in Utah that are permitted but not operating: Beaver Shaft/La Sal/Snowball, Daneros, Energy Queen, Pandora, Pine Ridge, Redd Block No. 4, Rim, Sage, and Tony M Mines.  The BLM and the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining have specific regulations that apply to the long-term suspension of mining operations.  The regulations are inadequate and have not been fully implemented and enforced.
The decisions to suspend mining operations in Utah are decisions based on the economic viability of the Energy Fuels.  It is not know when, or if, these mines will resume operation.  Some of these mines have been kept on standby for over 10 years without the required approval of the Oil, Gas, and Mining Board.
Uranium Watch is following the recent suspension uranium mine operations and the status of other mines that are non-operational but have not been remediated.



INVITATION to CELEBRATE: The Nuclear Age in Quebec is Over! Gentilly-2 is SHUT DOWN! But uranium mining must still be banned!

"Rest in Peace, Gentilly-2". Image compliments of CentricoisES et mauricienNEs pour le déclassement nucléaireThis tremendous good news just came in from Dr. Gordon Edwards, chair of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and co-chair of the Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force:

28 December: The Nuclear Age in Quebec is Over! 

Join us, in Montréal, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon

On this occasion, Sonomi and her two children-- refugees from Fukushima, Japan -- will be our special guests.

P.S. Québec will be truly out of the nuclear age only when we achieve a permanent moratorium on uranium mining, as has been done in two other provinces -- Nova Scotia and British Columbia!

(Nuclear utility Hydro-Quebec announced Gentilly-2's permanent shutdown, to occur tomorrow, last October. Gentilly-2 is a CANDU atomic reactor which has operated since 1982. The Quebec public will now avoid the wate, and risk, of billions in refurbishment costs, which Hydro-Quebec had hoped to foist upon them, in a bid to operate Gentilly-2 for 20 more years. However, decommissioning costs will now begin.)


Researchers plan to study effects of Navajo Reservation uranium exposure on pregnancy and child birth

Three decades after the end of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation, researchers plan to conduct a study in response to community concerns about the effects of exposure to uranium waste on pregnancies and child development on the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Birth Cohort Study is a three-year study on the Navajo reservation. It will provide early assessment and education on environmental and prenatal risks from exposure to environmental contaminants.

In 2009, Congress mandated and awarded money for the Navajo Birth Cohort Study. The money will support the University of New Mexico Community Environmental Health Program as it designs and conducts the study in collaboration with the Navajo Area Indian Health Services, the Navajo Division of Health, Southwest Research and Information Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., director of the Community Environmental Health Program, Health Sciences Center, at the University of New Mexico, is the principal investigator in the project. She coordinates the professional research team drawn from the five agencies responsible for implementing the project.

"This particular set of funding is for Navajo, but this is not just a Navajo problem," said Lewis. "There are 10,400 abandoned uranium mine waste sites in the western U.S., many of those on tribal lands. So I think the information we gain from this study will have impacts much further reaching than just Navajo."

More information on the Navajo Birth Cohort Study is available by calling toll-free (877) 545-6775 or contacting a Clinical Liaison at the nearest IHS facility. Navaho-Hopi Observer


Leona Morgan of ENDAUM speaks on Democracy Now!