Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

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Canyonram
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Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Dec 21 2010 12:14 pm

Denison Mines has applied to the Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality to mine uranium near the Canyon. There are over 1,000 mining claims within miles of the Park that will watch the decision and then proceed. The debate has been ongoing for a few years---uranium prices dropped in the 1980's but, with the increased interest in nuclear fuel as a power source, prices have gone back up and uranium mining is now more profitable.

For some history on the current move to begin mining:

(dead link removed)

(or use your search box on "uranium mining grand canyon"

For the Denison Mine application:

(dead link removed)

For the Native American perspective:
(dead link removed)
http://www.indigenousaction.org/uranium ... nd-canyon/

There will be public hearings in Flag and Fredonia---during the peak of snow storm season.

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by JimmyLyding » Feb 06 2011 2:35 am

PageRob wrote:
nonot wrote: It has been argued that solar cells don't give reach a break even point for about 30 years based on the process it takes to manufacture them.
That's true in a pre-tax sense. As the law stands now, the break-even point is somewhere around 10-12 years for residential systems (longer for smaller systems, shorter for larger systems) with tax credits and incentives - at least that was the case in 2009 when I took my solar and wind power class.
Solar power needs to be part of our specie's future for so many reasons. There is a gigantic problem, however, and that is how our electrical distribution system is constructed. Right now it is designed to deliver power to consumers rather than receive it from the same consumers and then re-distribute it.

Electrical distribution is very complex, and I'll try not to bore those who are unfortunate enough to read this, but the best way to make sense of it is to compare it to water. Think about a gigantic dam. This dam holds water that is used to provide water for municipal and agricultural use. Consider that this dam has to release X gallons of water each day because it can only hold so much water. Additionally, consider that downstream municipal and agricultural users have Y need for its water. If Y is less than X then the extra water the dam releases goes to waste (or allows salmon to flourish, replenish groundwater further down in the basin, both of which I most certainly support, whatever, I'm trying to explain electrical theory!), but it's very difficult for the "extra" water to be put into a place where users who don't have a huge dam supporting them can utilize it. If Hoover Dam held back more water than Las Vegas, Arizona, and Southern California could use in a given moment it would be very difficult to transfer that water to the Rio Grande basin users. It's even more difficult to take that extra water, and transfer it far upstream the Colorado River basin so it eventually trickles back into Lake Mead for future users. The electrial load (downstream) draws from the line (upstream) as inexorably just as water flows downhill.
That's the problem with solar power.

Our electrical grid isn't designed to take massive amounts of electrical power back from consumers so that it can be delivered to other users. It can handle a small amount, and it can also handle a lot more than what it handles today. If any of you have flown into Phoenix, you may notice the massive amount of seemingly empty rooftops of commercial and residential buildings (and swimming pools). If even 10% of that empty rooftop space was turned into solar panels we'd have big problems.

On weekends the solar panels on top of the commercial buildings that are devoid of people would be converting solar energy that would be delivered to residential users who are cranking their air conditioners, and vice-versa during the working hours of the workweek. The electrical grid can't handle that. Not even close. If anyone's really really really bored I can respond to this with circuit breaker theory, battery theory (fair disclosure: I sell a lot of batteries for a living), and general switchgear hooey.

A commonly proposed solution is to improve battery technology. That sounds great, but batteries today are typically filled with all sorts of nasty stuff and one is lucky to get 5 years out of them. Anyone want a lead-acid battery bank in their house? There are far more advanced technologies out there like lithium-ion and such, but they cost a lot of money and are similarly full of nasty stuff that is bad for living things if released into the environment. They are also very very heavy, and this poses a problem for multi-story buildings. Storing power in many many locations isn't the answer unless we make a quantum technological leap in battery technology. Think along the lines of going from being able to fly from Tucson to Phoenix to being able to fly from earth to Alpha Centauri.

Clearly, the answer is to re-do the electrical distribution system (i.e. the electrical "grid"), especially because it would afford me an unbelievable economic opportunity along the lines of Warren Buffett giving me his ATM card and its pin#. I'm all for it, but we're talking about trillions upon trillions of dollars. Or whatever comes after trillions. Gazillions? The funny thing is that I think it may be worth it. A combination system may be worth it, but it would also involve a tremendous amount of financial cost. Smart energy management systems that prevent electricity from powering your stove's clock when no one's home; better thermal insulation; herbaceous shading of buildings; the list goes on and on. A cavalcade of little things may be the best way to start.

At this point conservation is by far the best thing we can do. Put on a sweater if it's cold (or snuggle up with your honey), or roll around Hawaiian-style in shorts and not much else if it's hot.

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Feb 06 2011 11:33 am

Jim: Thanks for joining the discussion with your knowledge of the different aspects of energy use.

Those lucky enough to have been born into middle-class America at this time and place in history have been blessed beyond imagination. Even H.G. Wells would be amazed by our fantasy life. Our life of luxury has made us all energy parasites and now that we appreciate some of the impacts of our gluttony, we're in a huge dilema. Do we sacrifice our standard of living and live a more simple life or do we try to maintain our standard by coming up with alternative methods to obtain and reduce our energy demands??? The rate we are consuming fossil-fuels, the choice is coming sooner rather than later and it may not be one salvaged by simple conservation or a change in one's lifestyle. We may have to 'go off the Grid' even as we sit in our homes. As much as I have tried to downsize, I'm still using a hideous amount of energy just by my modern lifestyle. Where else in the World can someone drive a hundred plus miles so they can strap on a backpack and go for a dayhike? Even when I'm out of the house, I'm still sucking electricity to keep the home warm, make the ice for my drink, wash and dry my hiking clothes, turn on the Superbowl, communicate with this forum, etc.

The use of nuclear power is not the solution. The price paid by extracting the ore and getting it into a form that can be used in a nuclear energy plant places too high a toxic price tag on the environment and people. Other forms of energy generation do indeed foul the environment but not to the extent that uranium mining/milling and disposal of nuclear energy waste products. Mother Nature can heal from from some insults in a short time. Not so with the impacts of uranium extraction and use.

The World Nuclear Association (representing the Nuclear Power Industry) summerizes the current US nuclear power industry:

"The USA is the world's largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30% of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity. The country's 104 nuclear reactors produced 799 billion kWh in 2009, over 20% of total electrical output. Following a 30-year period in which few new reactors were built, it is expected that 4-6 new units may come on line by 2018, the first of those resulting from 16 licence applications to build 24 new nuclear reactors made since mid-2007.

Government policy changes since the late 1990s have helped pave the way for significant growth in nuclear capacity. Government and industry are working closely on expedited approval for construction and new plant designs. The USA has 104 nuclear power reactors in 31 states, operated by 30 different power companies. In 2008, the country generated 4,119 billion kWh net of electricity, 49% of it from coal-fired plant, 22% from gas and 6% from hydro. Nuclear achieved a capacity factor of 91.1%, generating 805 billion kWh and accounting for almost 20% of total electricity generated in 2008. Total capacity is 1088 GWe, less than one-tenth of which is nuclear.

Annual electricity demand is projected to increase to 5000 billion kWh in 2030. Annual per capita electricity consumption is currently around 12,400 kWh.

There are 69 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) with combined capacity of about 67 GWe and 35 boiling water reactors (BWRs) with combined capacity of about 34 GWe – for a total capacity of 101,263 MWe (see Nuclear Power in the USA Appendix 1: US Operating Nuclear Reactors). Almost all the US nuclear generating capacity comes from reactors built between 1967 and 1990. There have been no new construction starts since 1977, largely because for a number of years gas generation was considered more economically attractive and because construction schedules were frequently extended by opposition, compounded by heightened safety fears following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. A further PWR – Watts Bar 2 – is expected to start up by 2012 following Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) decision in 2007 to complete the construction of the unit.

Despite a near halt in new construction of more than 30 years, US reliance on nuclear power has continued to grow. In 1980, nuclear plants produced 251 billion kWh, accounting for 11% of the country's electricity generation. In 2008, that output had risen to 809 billion kWh and nearly 20% of electricity, providing more than 30% of the electricity generated from nuclear power worldwide. Much of the increase came from the 47 reactors, all approved for construction before 1977, that came on line in the late 1970s and 1980s, more than doubling US nuclear generation capacity. The US nuclear industry has also achieved remarkable gains in power plant utilisation through improved refuelling, maintenance and safety systems at existing plants.

While there are plans for a number of new reactors (see section on Preparing for new build below), the prospect of low natural gas prices continuing for several years has dampened these plans and probably no more than four new units will come on line by 2020."

(For this entire report: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf41.html This website contains a wealth of info regarding Nuclear Power.)

The European Nuclear Society has provided some numbers on nuclear power generation around the World:
http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclo ... d-wide.htm

As to how this relates to Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon: Dension is a 'Canadian' company and is partially owned (listed as 20%) by South Korea (also known as the Republic of Korea). This country has 21 nuclear plants with 5 on the way. Another Denison 'customer' is France, with 58 nuclear reactors and 1 on the way. The US already has sufficient stockpiles of necessary uranium to fuel the existing powerplants---if we dismantle our nuclear bomb arsenal we can convert this 'high-grade' material into 'lower-grade' fuel rods for our existing powerplants. This uranium has already been bought and paid for by the Navajo people over the length of the Cold War and the uranium mining conducted on their land.

In other words, the uranium mining around the Grand Canyon will not be used to fuel nuclear power plants for the US. It will be mined and milled here in the US with the final product then going to other nations. Any environmental hazards resulting from the mining/milling we be left on US soil. How that uranium gets used/abused/and disposed of is out of our control. The EPA clean-up of Navajo Nation is still in progress---it took this long to both acknowledge the damage and to get all parties involved to conduct clean-up actions. Can you imagine getting a South Korean company to pay for damages to Grand Canyon? Can you imagine a South Korean company having concern for the Havasupai people and whether that Native American culture is being destroyed? The uranium mines switch hands like baseball trading cards---good luck with tracking down ownership and responsibility---the uranium wastes will have gone through several half-life decay cycles before we find the right lawyers to deal with. Also, one reason nuclear power plant construction slowed down here in the US for the past thirty years was a result of the accident at Three Mile Island plant and the resulting environmental controls, safety protocol, disposal requirements, etc. that made it less profitable for power utility plants to 'go nuclear.' I have no idea what the safety protocols are in some of the other nations---I certainly don't want to visit upon peoples in other nations the same contamination witnessed on Navajo Nation. Exactly where will South Korea discard their nuclear wastes??? The ocean is pretty handy. Nuclear power plants are a security nightmare in this age of Terrorism. Plants are natural terrorist targets. If you want to plan your next target, you can easily obtain info about the power plants: http://www.icjt.org/an/tech/software/software.htm

When Robert Oppenheimer, one of the developers of the first atomic bomb, witnessed the first detonation---he urged President Truman to destroy the bomb and all information on how it was built. It wouldn't have helped---Nazi Germany was in pursuit of the same weapon and probably would have succeeded had the Allies not won when they did. Enough scientists were on the trail of how to construct the weapon that the riddle of the bomb would have soon been solved. Now, given the right materials----meaning a source of uranium---the construction of a 'dirty bomb' is within the realm of those with sufficient dedication and hatred. Here for his famous quote regarding the atomic bomb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UHsEMXY ... re=related

No Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon.

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 06 2011 11:53 am

Canyonram wrote:Nazi Germany was in pursuit of the same weapon and probably would have succeeded had the Allies not won when they did.
Germany was well behind in the race already but they surrendered on May 7, 1945, over two months before the first detonation of the atom bomb on July 16, 1945.

As much as I feel the same sentiment as Oppenheimer, once that door was opened there was no going back.
His first words after the test were Now we are all sons of bitches.
Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Which is just who we as humans are, destroyers of our own world.
CannondaleKid

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Feb 06 2011 12:19 pm

Here's the classic 'Duck and Cover' video shown during the Cold War on how to prepare children for an atomic bomb blast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2kdpAGDu8s

My third-grade teacher was a fanatic on getting us prepared. She convinced 'our fine fire department' to drive around town day-and-night and blast their siren. Even Saturday past the baseball field. If she saw any student not reacting to 'Duck-and-Cover' she'd give you grade reduction on your 'Socialization Skills.' Guess who got an 'F.' I told her we would all be burnt to a crisp if an atomic bomb landed in town and falling to the ground and covering up wasn''t going to help. Especially with a sheet of newspaper. I told her I wanted to see it coming and she told me she would not have me committing suicide on her watch. She gave me the choice of swats (she had an oak 'board of eductation), write a thousand times that "I will Duck-and-Cover," or loss of recess and having to sit in the principal's office. The prinicipal's secretary looked like Annette Funicello so I chose sitting next to her as my punishment. I still have a soft place in my heart for ruby red lipstick and a beehive hairdo coated in hair spray. I guess atomic energy has some positive value afterall.

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Feb 07 2011 1:21 pm

The Havasupai Tribe are developing a 'Stop Uranium Mining' website that is still 'under construction.' If you are against Uranium Mining / Grand Canyon, please stop by this site. Better yet, become part of the effort by offering your help---in any way you can. The Denison Mine near Red Butte is in the watershed above their home inside Grand Canyon.

Here for the developing website: http://www.stopuraniummining.org/

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Feb 12 2011 9:37 am

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50949 ... a.html.csp

Article in the SL Tribune from January about cleanup at the Skyline Mine near Monument Valley.
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Jim_H » Feb 12 2011 9:52 am

I want to be against uranium mining, and coal, too, but it has to come from somewhere. Which is worse? The air pollution from the coal power plants around the 4 corners, or radioactive waste and potential for a 3 Mile Island or Chernobyl accident? Not a fan of fracking either, and the Utes do that on tribal lands.

It would be different if society had a conservation mind set. instead the push is always to consume more. There are 5 outdoor hot tubs between m own and an adjacent apartment complex. They heat water all winter long to 100+ degrees, even when it was -19 last month. Electronics seem to be getting more power demanding, or at least the big flat screen TVs suck it up way more than my old 20 inch tube from 2001. Things aren't built to last any way, and that requires new manufacturing which uses resources and energy. I wonder if energy will still be cheap enough to take a trip in my personal car to the Sierra Nevada or Rockies when I'm 40, or 50.
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by chumley » Feb 21 2011 3:05 pm

Plan would ban mining claims near Grand Canyon
Feb. 17, 2011 11:00 AM
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The U.S. Department of Interior is proposing to bar the filing of any new mining claims on 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had temporarily withdrawn the acreage in 2009. Under the preferred alternative in a draft environmental study obtained by the Associated Press, new claims would be prohibited for 20 years.

The Interior Department put the potential value of uranium mined near the Grand Canyon at $2.9 billion and the employment benefits at $613.7 million.

As many as 10,000 mining claims exist on federal land near the Grand Canyon for all types of hard-rock exploration.

Some 1,100 uranium mining claims are miles from the park's boundaries.

Should the ban go into effect, companies would need to prove they have valid existing rights to those claims before mining there.
Highway to hell

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Feb 22 2011 2:05 pm

Arizona Republic newspaper has a brief article posted Feb. 22 2011 annoucning comment period on the proposed uranium mines. Comments at the bottom from those readers both 'For' and 'Against.'

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepubli ... l#comments

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Feb 22 2011 10:12 pm

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 'Proposed Mineral withdrawal Near Grand Canyon" is posted on-line here:

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining ... /deis.html

The BLM has scheduled public meetings from March 7 to 10 in Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Fredonia, Arizona, and in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can submit written comments via mail to Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Strip District, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790, or sent as an email to NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org.

Information can be found at http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/timeout.html or by calling (435) 688-3200. Public Meetings will be held in all of the following locations from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.:

March 7, 2011 National Training Center, 9828 North 31st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85051. The National Training Center (NTC), a federal building, requires non-government personnel to show drivers license, state identification or passport.

March 8, 2011 High Country Conference Center, Agassiz & Fremont Rooms, 201 West Bulter Avenue, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.

March 9, 2011 Fredonia High School, Media Center, 221 East Hortt Street, Fredonia, AZ 86022.

March 10, 2011 Homewood Suites, Santa Fe and Rio Grande Conference Rooms, 423 West 300 South Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Mar 10 2011 2:30 pm

As anticipated, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued the Air Quality permits and Discharge Authorization on March 10, 2011. They have done this even as the overall EIS is under review and comment. Here's the notice that went out to anyone who commented on the AZDEQ issue:

"The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has made amendments to the permits based upon comments received and on March 9, 2011, issued Air Quality Permits 51803, 52522, and 52790 for the Pinenut, Canyon and EZ mines, and Discharge Authorization P-106193 for the 3.04 General APP for the EZ Mine.

The final permits and documents, including a Responsiveness Summary to submitted comments can be viewed on ADEQ’s Web site at ( dead link removed ) You can also request hard copies of the final documents by contacting Trevor Baggiore at (602) 771-2308. Thank you for your participation in the permitting process.

The decision to issue the Air Quality Permits is an appealable agency action under A.R.S. § 41-1092. You may have a right to request a hearing and file an appeal under A.R.S. § 41-1092.03(B). You must file a written Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal within 30 days of your receipt of this Notice. A Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal is filed when it is received by ADEQ’s Hearing Administrator as follows:

Hearing Administrator
Office of Administrative Counsel
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
1110 W. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007

The Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal shall identify the party, the party’s address, the agency and the action being appealed and shall contain a concise statement of the reasons for the appeal. Upon proper filing of a Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal, ADEQ will serve a Notice of Hearing on all parties to the appeal. If you file a timely Request for Hearing or Notice of Appeal you have a right to request an informal settlement conference with ADEQ under A.R.S. § 41-1092.06. This request must be made in writing no later than 20 days before a scheduled hearing and must be filed with the Hearing Administrator at the above address."


My editiorial comment: This particular State Agency is notorious for backing away from regulatory and enforcement action. Instead, they 'rubber stamp' these type of permits to avoid tangling with big business interests and to not upset the political power-brokers. As soon as Governor Brewer came out in favor of uranium mining, it was a done deal as far as any oversight by this agency. Check out the replies in the 'Responsiveness Concerns.' The repeated reply to legitimate concerns is that the 'agency doesn't regulate, the agency has no authority, etc.' In other words, the response is to state what they can't do and this somehow answers the questions and gives them rationale for granting the permits. Hopefully, a 20 year moratorium will be put in place making the granting of these permits a mute point. AZDEQ gets it both ways---they permit the company, please the politicans, but are absolved when mining itself is halted.
Last edited by joebartels on Aug 27 2018 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Mar 25 2011 2:19 pm

Since we started this thread, Japan was hit with the triple disaster of a 9.0 earthquake, the resulting tsunami, and damage to a nuclear power plant. Keep the Japanese people in your prayers. All aspects of this disasaster will take years to deal with. Each day, the nuclear plant aspect grows more horrible as radiation leaks into the air, the sea, the drinking water, the food supply---and those who survived the earthquake and tsunami. That aspect of the disaster will take generations to deal with.

The location of nuclear power plants over earthquake faults has long been pointed out by those opposed to nuclear energy reactors as a disaster waiting to happen. Here in the US, we have several that meet the criteria including plants over fault zones in California, New York, and near the New Madrid fault in the mid-west.

Time to put the lid back on Pandora's box. Human beings have no business poking their clumsy fingers into the mystery of the atom in order to turn on their TV. Say NO to Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon. There's still time to let the politicians know where you stand.

( dead link removed )

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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Tough_Boots » Apr 25 2011 9:48 pm

not to stir the pot on this one, but here's a nice little PSA narrated by Craig Childs for a group to stop the mining:

http://vimeo.com/22855650
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Apr 25 2011 9:49 pm

Just finishing up Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock that Changed the World. I'll post up what I think here when I'm totally finished with it.
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Apr 26 2011 5:18 am

I'm wondering if some minds are being changed due to Japan's disaster. And I read in the newspaper that they actually allowed the containment vessels to build twice as much pressure as they were supposed to, trying to not let out radioactive steam, and that may have exacerbated the problem to the point that it exploded.
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Tough_Boots » Apr 26 2011 11:44 am

azbackpackr wrote:I'm wondering if some minds are being changed due to Japan's disaster.
If that doesn't change some minds, nothing will...
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by nonot » Apr 26 2011 7:34 pm

The Japan accident is second to Chernobyl and basically nowhere near as bad. If people think this will really change the world's power source, they are mistaken. The hippies will wave their banners in protest, but an ever increasing power-hungry 7 billion people with a massive industry base cannot be satisfied by coal alone.
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Apr 26 2011 7:44 pm

Agreed nonot. We need to make sure we are using every available safety precaution out there (for example, the BWR MkIII which uses natural circulation for cooling water - no pumps to fail).
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Tough_Boots » Apr 26 2011 7:49 pm

too bad we are clueless on how to safely store the waste for as long as it needs to be contained...
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Apr 26 2011 8:08 pm

Reprocessing the waste reduces the problem by 90%. We still need to figure out what to do with that 10% long term, but it is less radioactive and there is less of it than currently.
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