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Uranium Mining: Current Status (updated May 7, 2009)
Bush's nuclear renaissance has taken a huge hit since the election of Obama. There is a major legislative battle in the US congress to give nuclear power a blank check. The outcome is still unclear. However, the nuclear industry's attempt to push through new reactors and the Yucca Mountain n-waste repository have been slowed. Prior to the economic downturn the industry was boasting plans to build up to 35 new reactors. If they fail to get their heavily lobbied free lunch, they'll be lucky if 4 reactors get built. The price of uranium has taken a large fall over the last year taking much of the wind out of the international push for uranium mining. The Enron Waiver was used to artificially jack up the price of uranium around the world.
The Bush administration's attempt to launch a new the cold war with Russia has been closed down. The US gets nearly 90% of its uranium fuel from outside the country, with much of it coming from Russia. Russia was recently given direct access to the U.S. uranium market. Attempts to open a new uranium mine in Dineh land has been slowed although attempts to open up mines across the west continue from South Dakota to Arizona.
The US will never be able to become energy dependent using uranium. At best it is a 2nd rate country in terms of uranium resources. Other countries like Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan or Namibia have far greater resources and can produce uranium cheaper. Today, there are still thousands of uranium abandoned uranium mines, mostly on tribal lands that have yet to be cleaned up. See the other sections of this report for details. Furthermore, the last time this industry got into trouble, it was bailed out by congress with over $8 billion, only to still collapse. Where did all that money go to?
In-situ leaching (ISL), also called in-situ recovery (ISR) or solution mining, is a process of recovering minerals such as copper and uranium through boreholes drilled into the deposit. The process initially involves drilling of holes into the ore deposit. Explosive or hydraulic fracturing may be used to create open pathways in the deposit for solution to penetrate. Leaching solution is pumped into the deposit where it makes contact with the ore. The solution bearing the dissolved ore content is then pumped to the surface and processed. This process allows the extraction of metals and salts from an ore body without the need for conventional mining involving drill-and-blast, open-cut or underground mining.
For a detailed video news story about ISL uranium mining, go to this news site and click on the video media links just below the title. You will see an extensive Australian investigative report on ISL mining.
Uranium mining in the United States declined drastically in the 1980s, but has revived since 2001 due to higher uranium prices. The average spot price of uranium oxide (U3O8) increased from $7.92 per pound in 2001 to $39.48 per pound in 2006. This page has a state by state review of uranium mining in the U.S.
A modern day land rush is sweeping the West, with mining interests and speculators staking thousands of claims that are encroaching on American treasures including the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Arches, and Yosemite National Parks. The United States' outdated mining law written in 1872 leaves these lands vulnerable to severe impacts.A new Environmental Working Group analysis of government records shows that in 12 Western states, the total number of active mining claims has increased from 207,540 in January 2003 to 376,493 in July 2007-a rise of more than 80 percent. Between September 2006 and May 2007 alone, companies and individuals staked more than 50,000 claims (BLM 2007). Check out the report here
Uranium prices are climbing, CPS wants new nukes, and prospectors are scrambling. So why isnt Goliad County happy?GOLIAD COUNTY Twenty-six years ago, a man in a Cadillac pulled into Elder Abrameits drive. From the porch, the visitor said he had found the rancher through the land office, that he wanted to drill for uranium on his land.I told him he was in the wrong business, said Abrameit. I said, you need to go out and drill [for oil] and youll be paid off in two years.The visitor restated his interest in uranium. He said his company was ready to spend $3 million to find it. That got him in the door.
According to the Navajos, a monster is something that gets in the way of a successful life. These monsters were born when an evil act was committed, when people transgressed. In ancient times, Navajos were destroyed by monsters which roamed their traditional lands. The Hero Twins gained the wisdom and skills to slay these monsters.
Teddy Nez, a Navajo rancher and Vietnam War veteran, lives practically in the shadow of a 40-foot-high pile of radioactive waste abutting his small home outside of Gallup, N.M. Nez has colon cancer, which he treats with herbs but not with ones growing near his house, because those could be contaminated with uranium.
Based on the arguments presented above, it is my expert opinion that ISL mining in the Crawford, Nebraska area should not be allowed to continue until the potential contaminant pathways of the White River alluvium and the SW-NE and NW-SE trending fault zones are examined and monitored.
This is WISE's official uranium mining status page on all operations in the U.S. its up to date.
controversy brews up as Powertech gets hit with $1 million fine. NRC is hiring hundreds of employees as it opens up the west to ISL mining...
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will receive comments until October 7 on a generic draft environmental impact statement for in-situ leach uranium recovery operations. NRC said it developed the draft EIS jointly with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The draft EIS would apply to at least four western states -- Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and New Mexico -- where NRC said uranium milling companies have indicated an interest in seekingNRC licenses.
NRC: Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities - Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-1910, Vols. 1-2) PDF Files