Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Radiation fears in the Grand Canyon: Uranium mine opens just miles from national attraction – as experts warn it could pose health and ecological hazard<!-- wp:html --><div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">A new uranium mine has opened near the Grand Canyon despite experts warning it could wreak havoc on the environment and local water sources.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">A 20-year law banning mining in the uranium-rich lands surrounding the national park expired in 2023, allowing the Pinyon Plain mine to open in December, about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The mine’s proximity to the national park has drawn pushback from environmental activists who fear radioactive chemicals will contaminate the water and pose a health hazard to people living in the area, as well as tourists.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Havasupai Tribe has repeatedly tried to prevent the mine from opening, arguing that it will contaminate local groundwater and threaten cultural and spiritual religious sites.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Environmentalists say uranium mining contaminates groundwater and air</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Pinyon Plain mine has a total of 1.6 million pounds of proven and probable uranium, and current sales of the mineral in the US are around $62 per pound in 2023, giving the site some potential revenue. of 100 million dollars. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Pinyon Plain Mine, formerly known as the Canyon Mine, was already in development before President Obama instituted the original mining ban in 2012, meaning it falls under the Mining Act of 1872.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Mining Act authorized the extraction of economic minerals, such as uranium, exempting the Pinyon Plain mine from both presidential bans. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Although uranium itself is minimally radioactive, the mined ore can release radioactive elements such as radon gas.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Radon gas is a radioactive gas that forms when radioactive metals, such as uranium, decay during the mining process.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">When inhaled, radon gas is linked to significant health risks, including lung cancer, decreased bone growth, and kidney failure.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Critics say the mine could also destroy one of the most beautiful natural parts of the country by contaminating the environment with radioactive dust, waterborne toxins and increased levels of background radiation, according to a report. <a target="_blank" class="class" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653646/#:~:text=Uranium%20mining%20has%20widespread%20effects,increased%20levels%20of%20background%20radiation." rel="noopener">study</a> published in the National Library of Medicine.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“From habitat destruction and wildlife disruption to bioaccumulation and irreversible contamination of waters, the current boom threatens to build on uranium’s legacy of environmental and social harm.”</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">The Havasupai tribe protested the Pinyon Plain mine, saying it would contaminate local drinking water and damage their religious sites.</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">The Canyon Plain Mine opened in December and spans 17 acres.</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Energy Fuels Resources owns the mine and says claims it contaminates groundwater are ‘unscientific’</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive element that has been mined and used for its chemical properties for over a thousand years. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The United States was the world’s leading producer from 1953 to 1980, when the government offered incentives for discoveries on American soil.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Currently it is mainly used as fuel for nuclear reactors that produce electricity.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">A federal judge ruled against the Havasupai Tribe’s request to close the mine in 2022, instead siding with the company that owns the mine, Energy Fuels, and the U.S. Forest Service’s environmental assessment. USA</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Last year, President Joe Biden issued the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument to permanently prevent mining development on 917,000 acres near the Grand Canyon to protect local tribes.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The monument’s name translates to “Where the Indigenous People Roam” and is intended to protect tribal nations, but a loophole meant the monument only applied to mining sites that have not been developed.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Environmentalists say uranium mining contaminates groundwater and air</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Uranium is minimally radioactive, but its extraction causes the release of radioactive radon gas into the air.</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The World Nuclear Association (WNA), an international organization that aims to promote greater understanding of nuclear energy, directed Dailymail.com to articles related to the environmental aspects of uranium mining.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“When the radium emitted by the mine undergoes natural radioactive decay, it releases radioactive radon gas,” according to the WNA.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“At concentrations associated with uranium mining, radioactivity is a potential health hazard,” the WNA stated, adding that mining companies should take precautions to protect the health of workers.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The WNA said process water discharged from uranium mines still contains traces of radium that could flow downstream and contaminate bodies of water.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Uranium mining has threatened the ecosystem for hundreds of years, with contaminants overwhelming aquatic wildlife by poisoning fish and causing deformities and reproductive problems.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“All phases of uranium development (exploration, mining, and processing) can pose unique threats to species, ecosystems, and human communities,” the report notes. <a target="_blank" class="class" href="https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/energy/dirty_energy_development/uranium/index.html" rel="noopener">Center for Biological Diversity</a> saying. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“Uranium mining leaves behind radioactive waste, and when the mining process is complete, the waste is stored in ponds, also called impoundments, and can remain radioactive,” Alec Sprague, director of Environment America, told Dailymail.com.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“As uranium decays, it turns into radium and eventually radioactive radon gas. “Uranium waste can be radioactive for thousands of years, meaning mines can be dangerous for years after they stop operating.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Sprague compared the exit of waste from the mine to pouring a glass of water onto the ground from the top of the Grand Canyon, saying it’s impossible to know where the water will end up.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">There are 640 members of the Havasupai tribe who consume drinking water nearby and whose home is in the Supai Village that straddles the Grand Canyon.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Because of the mine’s proximity to the Grand Canyon, Sprague said, “This means that mine waste could flow into the Colorado River and Havasu Creek, harming the health of residents of Supai Village at the bottom of the Canyon.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Energy Fuels spokesperson Curtis Moore told Dailymail.com there is no validity to claims that uranium mining contaminates or impacts groundwater, and said this is the 10th mine to open in the area.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">When asked if this would harm people in the area, Moore said radon gas is already emitted into the air, adding that “radiation is like water: It’s necessary for life, but too much can kill you.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">An EPA spokesperson directed Dailymail.com to their site which explains that all uranium mining leaves behind radioactive waste, regardless of how large or small the mine is or how much uranium is extracted from the ore.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">The Grand Canyon is home to 1.3 percent of the United States’ uranium reserves.</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Grand Canyon holds 1.3 percent of the country’s uranium reserves, and despite Moore’s claims to the contrary, the Center for Biological Diversity said uranium mining makes it soluble in groundwater and runs the risk of contaminating the Grand Canyon springs.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Large drilling sites are often left open after the mining company leaves the area, the CBD reported, adding that this causes groundwater leaks, air pollution from uranium and airborne dust, and creates unsafe conditions for people visiting the public lands of the national park. .</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“Uranium mining has left a toxic trail throughout the West, including in the Grand Canyon itself,” Sprague said.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“From uranium dust to contaminated springs, the region’s wildlife is as affected by uranium mining as people.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Energy Fuels denied the allegations, calling them “unscientific” and saying people should not worry about the effect the mine will have on the environment. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“There is no ‘radioactive waste’ from uranium mining at the mine, nor is there any drinking water that could be impacted,” Moore said.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“Despite the unscientific claims of anti-nuclear NGOs, there is really nothing to worry about this small, low-impact mine,” he added.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Sam Stookesberry, senior associate at Energy Fuels, told Dailymail.com that claims that the Pinyon Plain mine represents an environmental hazard “is a coordinated fear campaign being carried out by activists who contacted him about this story.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Nuclear power is a cheap, low-carbon way to produce electricity that is much needed amid the fight against climate change, but researchers Robert Barron of Western New England University and Mary Hill of the University of Kansas found which is quite the opposite. .</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">His <a target="_blank" class="class" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306261915000124?via%3Dihub" rel="noopener">study</a> revealed that nuclear waste disposal is actually 2.5 to four times more expensive than previously thought because radioactive levels remain dangerously high for hundreds of years. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Nuclear power has contributed to some of the worst environmental disasters in recent history, including Chernobyl and Fukushima, but the question still remains: do the benefits outweigh the risks?</p> </div><!-- /wp:html -->

A new uranium mine has opened near the Grand Canyon despite experts warning it could wreak havoc on the environment and local water sources.

A 20-year law banning mining in the uranium-rich lands surrounding the national park expired in 2023, allowing the Pinyon Plain mine to open in December, about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

The mine’s proximity to the national park has drawn pushback from environmental activists who fear radioactive chemicals will contaminate the water and pose a health hazard to people living in the area, as well as tourists.

The Havasupai Tribe has repeatedly tried to prevent the mine from opening, arguing that it will contaminate local groundwater and threaten cultural and spiritual religious sites.

Environmentalists say uranium mining contaminates groundwater and air

The Pinyon Plain mine has a total of 1.6 million pounds of proven and probable uranium, and current sales of the mineral in the US are around $62 per pound in 2023, giving the site some potential revenue. of 100 million dollars.

The Pinyon Plain Mine, formerly known as the Canyon Mine, was already in development before President Obama instituted the original mining ban in 2012, meaning it falls under the Mining Act of 1872.

The Mining Act authorized the extraction of economic minerals, such as uranium, exempting the Pinyon Plain mine from both presidential bans.

Although uranium itself is minimally radioactive, the mined ore can release radioactive elements such as radon gas.

Radon gas is a radioactive gas that forms when radioactive metals, such as uranium, decay during the mining process.

When inhaled, radon gas is linked to significant health risks, including lung cancer, decreased bone growth, and kidney failure.

Critics say the mine could also destroy one of the most beautiful natural parts of the country by contaminating the environment with radioactive dust, waterborne toxins and increased levels of background radiation, according to a report. study published in the National Library of Medicine.

“From habitat destruction and wildlife disruption to bioaccumulation and irreversible contamination of waters, the current boom threatens to build on uranium’s legacy of environmental and social harm.”

The Havasupai tribe protested the Pinyon Plain mine, saying it would contaminate local drinking water and damage their religious sites.

The Canyon Plain Mine opened in December and spans 17 acres.

Energy Fuels Resources owns the mine and says claims it contaminates groundwater are ‘unscientific’

Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive element that has been mined and used for its chemical properties for over a thousand years.

The United States was the world’s leading producer from 1953 to 1980, when the government offered incentives for discoveries on American soil.

Currently it is mainly used as fuel for nuclear reactors that produce electricity.

A federal judge ruled against the Havasupai Tribe’s request to close the mine in 2022, instead siding with the company that owns the mine, Energy Fuels, and the U.S. Forest Service’s environmental assessment. USA

Last year, President Joe Biden issued the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument to permanently prevent mining development on 917,000 acres near the Grand Canyon to protect local tribes.

The monument’s name translates to “Where the Indigenous People Roam” and is intended to protect tribal nations, but a loophole meant the monument only applied to mining sites that have not been developed.

Environmentalists say uranium mining contaminates groundwater and air

Uranium is minimally radioactive, but its extraction causes the release of radioactive radon gas into the air.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA), an international organization that aims to promote greater understanding of nuclear energy, directed Dailymail.com to articles related to the environmental aspects of uranium mining.

“When the radium emitted by the mine undergoes natural radioactive decay, it releases radioactive radon gas,” according to the WNA.

“At concentrations associated with uranium mining, radioactivity is a potential health hazard,” the WNA stated, adding that mining companies should take precautions to protect the health of workers.

The WNA said process water discharged from uranium mines still contains traces of radium that could flow downstream and contaminate bodies of water.

Uranium mining has threatened the ecosystem for hundreds of years, with contaminants overwhelming aquatic wildlife by poisoning fish and causing deformities and reproductive problems.

“All phases of uranium development (exploration, mining, and processing) can pose unique threats to species, ecosystems, and human communities,” the report notes. Center for Biological Diversity saying.

“Uranium mining leaves behind radioactive waste, and when the mining process is complete, the waste is stored in ponds, also called impoundments, and can remain radioactive,” Alec Sprague, director of Environment America, told Dailymail.com.

“As uranium decays, it turns into radium and eventually radioactive radon gas. “Uranium waste can be radioactive for thousands of years, meaning mines can be dangerous for years after they stop operating.”

Sprague compared the exit of waste from the mine to pouring a glass of water onto the ground from the top of the Grand Canyon, saying it’s impossible to know where the water will end up.

There are 640 members of the Havasupai tribe who consume drinking water nearby and whose home is in the Supai Village that straddles the Grand Canyon.

Because of the mine’s proximity to the Grand Canyon, Sprague said, “This means that mine waste could flow into the Colorado River and Havasu Creek, harming the health of residents of Supai Village at the bottom of the Canyon.”

Energy Fuels spokesperson Curtis Moore told Dailymail.com there is no validity to claims that uranium mining contaminates or impacts groundwater, and said this is the 10th mine to open in the area.

When asked if this would harm people in the area, Moore said radon gas is already emitted into the air, adding that “radiation is like water: It’s necessary for life, but too much can kill you.”

An EPA spokesperson directed Dailymail.com to their site which explains that all uranium mining leaves behind radioactive waste, regardless of how large or small the mine is or how much uranium is extracted from the ore.

The Grand Canyon is home to 1.3 percent of the United States’ uranium reserves.

The Grand Canyon holds 1.3 percent of the country’s uranium reserves, and despite Moore’s claims to the contrary, the Center for Biological Diversity said uranium mining makes it soluble in groundwater and runs the risk of contaminating the Grand Canyon springs.

Large drilling sites are often left open after the mining company leaves the area, the CBD reported, adding that this causes groundwater leaks, air pollution from uranium and airborne dust, and creates unsafe conditions for people visiting the public lands of the national park. .

“Uranium mining has left a toxic trail throughout the West, including in the Grand Canyon itself,” Sprague said.

“From uranium dust to contaminated springs, the region’s wildlife is as affected by uranium mining as people.”

Energy Fuels denied the allegations, calling them “unscientific” and saying people should not worry about the effect the mine will have on the environment.

“There is no ‘radioactive waste’ from uranium mining at the mine, nor is there any drinking water that could be impacted,” Moore said.

“Despite the unscientific claims of anti-nuclear NGOs, there is really nothing to worry about this small, low-impact mine,” he added.

Sam Stookesberry, senior associate at Energy Fuels, told Dailymail.com that claims that the Pinyon Plain mine represents an environmental hazard “is a coordinated fear campaign being carried out by activists who contacted him about this story.”

Nuclear power is a cheap, low-carbon way to produce electricity that is much needed amid the fight against climate change, but researchers Robert Barron of Western New England University and Mary Hill of the University of Kansas found which is quite the opposite. .

His study revealed that nuclear waste disposal is actually 2.5 to four times more expensive than previously thought because radioactive levels remain dangerously high for hundreds of years.

Nuclear power has contributed to some of the worst environmental disasters in recent history, including Chernobyl and Fukushima, but the question still remains: do the benefits outweigh the risks?

By