Skip

Leetso
November 24, 2006 1:27 AM   Subscribe

Blighted Homeland. "From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were dug and blasted from Navajo soil, nearly all of it for America's atomic arsenal. Navajos inhaled radioactive dust, drank contaminated water and built homes using rock from the mines and mills. Many of the dangers persist to this day." A series of articles and photo galleries examines the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo (previously discussed here.) [Via Gristmill, BugMeNot.]
posted by homunculus (13 comments total)

 
Well now there's a coincidence.
posted by pompomtom at 1:43 AM on November 24, 2006


Mining firms again eyeing Navajo land
Demand for uranium is soaring. But the tribe vows a 'knockdown, drag-out legal battle.'


And when that fails, it'll be much like what's been happening up in Canada.
posted by IronLizard at 2:25 AM on November 24, 2006


Why am I not surprised? Goddamn money-grubbing, fear-mongering, military-industrial-complex-building bastards are a pox on the world. Evil fucks. Greedy, evil fucks. Makes me sick, goddammit.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:46 AM on November 24, 2006


If I was a trapper, I would give a thousand pelts, to shoot arrows formed from depleted uranium through the hearts of those responsible.
posted by billyliberty at 3:57 AM on November 24, 2006


From the excellent minesandcommunities.org
of Feb 05. Two of the the Navajo communities concened have formed ENDAUM Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining.
posted by adamvasco at 4:40 AM on November 24, 2006


military industrial complex? most of the 40,000 tons of uranium produced yearly goes into electricity production, which makes up something like 15-20 percent of the world's electricity. you'd rather coal be burned instead?

i mean, it's kind of a rock-and-hard-place situation, but i don't think this uranium is going into warheads. not many countries are building nuclear weapons outside of iran/north korea. (oh right, and saddam.)
posted by sergeant sandwich at 5:43 AM on November 24, 2006


military industrial complex?

"From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were dug and blasted from Navajo soil, nearly all of it for America's atomic arsenal.

Yeah, military industrial complex.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:50 AM on November 24, 2006


If you live or have lived in the American southwest--or perhaps anywhere--chances are you are effected by this. The mounds of radioactive dirt left lying around by the mining companies have been blown or rinsed into the air and into the Colorado River, which supplies most of the drinking water for the basin states of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Relative to uranium versus coal for electricity production, I don't believe it is an either ore (!) proposition. If we are going to use this as a fuel, I think that the companies that dig this out of the ground are responsible for maintaining safe conditions both during and after the dig, and that the companies that refine the products for use as fuel sources are responsible for it's responsible use. It will certainly make energy more expensive, but would serve to incentivize investment in alternative fuels/emerging technologies/R&D, which seems to me like a good idea.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 7:23 AM on November 24, 2006


Isn't coal also radioactive anyway? Doesn't seem like a very good idea to switch from uranium to coal if you're worried about radioactivity.

I mean I think coal plants produce more radioactive waste per kw/h then nuclear plants, although I'm not sure.
posted by delmoi at 7:49 AM on November 24, 2006


As I understand it, the mining wouldn't take place on sovereign Navajo reservation land, but rather on the adjacent "Indian Country" over which the Navajo don't have sovereign authority. A small but important point. This could also be a case of Indians against Indians, not just Indians against big corporations.

The Navajo are poor. Very poor. There's nothing inherently evil about uranium. If for some reason we could trust the NRC and the mining companies and the Navajo tribal governments to do this job right (minimizing environmental impact and making sure the people got their fair share of the profits) then uranium mining might be a good thing. Unfortunately, that's a very big, improbable "if".
posted by footnote at 10:01 AM on November 24, 2006




Jesus christ, homunculus, EPA researchers are going to have to FOIA materials from their own agency! Unbelievable.
posted by footnote at 12:02 PM on November 24, 2006


I mean I think coal plants produce more radioactive waste per kw/h then nuclear plants, although I'm not sure.

I've heard an apocryphal story that relates to this:

A British nuclear power plant was to have a coal fired power station built next to it, because the coal plant was also intended to provide emergency backup power to the nuke plant, it counted as part of the same facility. Unfortunately any radioactivity emitted by the coal plant would have been dealt with under legislation intended for nuclear power plants.
If they had built it, they would have been hundreds of times over their allowable yearly limit for radioactive 'leaks' due to the coal smoke.
posted by atrazine at 12:52 PM on November 24, 2006


« Older Lichens are not just fun guys.   |   Heaven / Where True Love Goes Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post