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No part of the fuel cycle is safe or sustainable. Health issues have been ignored until they are too obvious to disguise any longer. Is this the way we should be regulating health and environmental safety? Waiting until it's too late, for too many?
High rates of systemic lupus erythematosus have been linked to living in proximity to a former uranium ore processing facility in Ohio, according to new research findings presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, also called SLE or lupus, is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and/or other organs of the body. The most common symptoms include skin rashes and arthritis, often accompanied by fatigue and fever. Lupus occurs mostly in women, typically developing in individuals in their twenties and thirties -- prime child-bearing age.
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Medical Center sought to explain an excessive number of lupus cases reported in a community five miles from a former uranium plant in Fernald, Ohio, from 1990 to 2008. They used available medical data from the Fernald Community Cohort, an 18-year study of 8,788 adult volunteers living near the plant, not including any plant workers.
Interview with Helen Caldicott on GE's Secret Lansdowne Uranium Facility, November 1 2012
5 days ago
Dr. Cladicott answers some of my questions about the suitability of a General Electric uranium processing plant located in a densely populated part of Toronto's west-end. The interview is about 18 minutes long and should be a good starting off point for people who are concerned.
Eric Jantz, the attorney in the case, says he is hopeful. His clients and the U.N. both recognize the right to clean, potable, water as a human right. His clients cannot take their claim to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights because the U.S. does not recognize its jurisdiction. Nonetheless, according to the petition and all logic and humanity, "the State has violated Petitioners' human rights and breached its obligations under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man." Let there be justice.
NYTimes l APRIL REESE 12 May, 2011
In a last attempt to deep-six a controversial project to mine uranium near two Navajo communities in northwestern New Mexico, a Navajo environmental group is taking its fight to the global stage.
Tomorrow, Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining, with the help of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, will submit a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights arguing that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to grant Hydro Resources Inc., a license to mine uranium ore near Churchrock and Crown Point, N.M., is a violation of international laws.
The groups contend the mines, first permitted by NRC in 1999, could contaminate drinking water for 15,000 Navajo residents in and around the two communities, which lie just outside the Navajo Nation. In 2005, the Navajo's tribal government passed a law prohibiting uranium mining within its borders.
Excellent article on the nuclear dilemma worrying everyone except, it seems, the US government and the NRC who have issued another Waste Confidence Rule.
Essentially they are, once again, saying they have no idea what to do about the waste problem, but they are confident that someday they will. See the detailed challenge to the new Waste Confidence rule by the NRDC here. A challenge was also filed by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Riverkeeper, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
In addition the article highlights the issue of the enormous release of chlorofluorocarbons annually produced by the enrichment of uranium:
According to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), which runs the only U.S.-owned uranium enrichment facility in Paducah, Kentucky, the enrichment cycle releases 300,000 pounds, or 150 tons, of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere yearly.
The radiative properties of CFCs make them a dangerous global warming agent — 1,500 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to EPA figures. Ozone-depleting CFCs have been banned in the U.S. except in the processing of uranium ore.
And the dependence of reactors, and enrichment, on coal:
Further, the Paducah plant enriches the yellowcake, a lightly processed form of uranium ore, to produce uranium oxide and make nuclear fission from two 1,500-megawatt, 30-year-old coal plants, which release CO2 and other environmental pollutants.
All the while the industry still maintains that nuclear power is the clean energy solution.
Abby Luby 3 March, 2011
President Obama has won wide bipartisan support for his determination to revive American nuclear power — a low-carbon energy solution that electric utilities and conservatives can support.
But a pair of legal actions last month could complicate matters for Washington by forcing theNuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) to address a longstanding and almost intractable problem: How and where to store the highly radioactive waste.
For many, the separate suits by state attorneys general and environmental groups raise fresh questions over why America is pouring billions into a nuclear renaissance with no long-term strategy for handling waste from the nation's existing facilities.
Wikileaks cables reveal that the horror of the West's exploitation of Africa has moved into uranium. To the point where, according to the cables, Finland imported uranium from Congo during a year Congo had no official uranium exports. To the point where, according to Roger A. Meece, [at the time] U.S. ambassador to DRC:
"...high levels of radioactivity have been measured in numerous regions of the DRC.
"All of Katanga Province could be said to be somewhat radioactive," Meece reported."
The result of these cables? Nothing. Meece is still in the DRC, head of the UN Mission. Uranium mining and nuclear security infractions continue unaddressed. Is this surprising? Not really. Legal uranium mining in Niger is devastating the country and Taureg miners. They are trying to stand up for themselves, but few are standing with them.
Maybe the Wikileaks cables will help bring the world's attention to one of the ugliest sides of the hunger for all things nuclear. Maybe they will, once and for all, lay to rest any claim that the nuclear fuel cycle is clean or green. Nuclear fuel does not just appear in the reactor. Nuclear fuel is mined fuel. Mining at its most deadly. It shouldn't take leaked cables to tell us what we know already, but perhaps it will help.
Paris - Wikileaks cables have revealed a disturbing development in the African uranium mining industry: abysmal safety and security standards in the mines, nuclear research centres, and border customs are enabling international companies to exploit the mines and smuggle dangerous radioactive material across continents.
The Wikileaks cables reveal that U.S. diplomats posted in a number of African countries - the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Niger, and Burundi, among others - have had direct knowledge of the poor safety and security standards in these countries' uranium and nuclear facilities.
The cables also highlight the involvement of European, Chinese, Indian, and South Korean companies in the illegal extraction and smuggling of uranium from Africa. Most European nuclear reactors use uranium imported from African countries.
The history of uranium mining is one of money and secrecy, of deliberately withheld information about health risk, and exploitation of people desperate for work. The dust from the first wave of uranium mining is still settling. In the lungs of miners and their families, in the water supply of the american west, in Africa, in Australia and elsewhere. It settles, entombed in towns so radioactive they had to be razed to the ground and buried. The incidences of uranium mining related cancer are ongoing, as are the lawsuits.
The history of uranium mining is also one of pride. National pride in nuclear technology without regard for its devastating cost, and the pride of working people who need to feed their families. It is not easy or acceptable to be poor in today's world. People will take jobs that are dangerous if there is no alternative. They might even be grateful. But is it alright to kill people because they are desperate?
The medical and remediation costs of uranium mining and milling are known now, and they are enormous and very long term. The benefits are questionable and almost all short term. The boom and bust history of uranium mining has shown that. Businesses may prosper, political agendas may be furthered, but in the end- from uranium mining to long term waste storage, the nuclear fuel cycle is haunted by environmental contamination and cancer.
NATURITA, Colo. — The future of nuclear power in America is back on the table, with all its vast implications, as global warming revives the search for energy sources that produce less greenhouse gas.
But in this depressed corner of western Colorado — one of the first places in the world that uranium, nuclear energy’s primary fuel, was ever dug from the ground in industrial scale — the debate is both simpler and more complicated. A proposal for a new mill to process uranium ore, which would lead to the opening of long-shuttered mines in Colorado and Utah, has brought global and local concerns into collision — jobs, health, class-consciousness and historical memory among them — in ways that suggest, if the pattern here holds, a bitter national debate to come.
Doug Brugge is a Professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University who grew up in the Southwest- uranium mining country. But it was a newspaper article on Navajo health that got him interested in the medical dangers of uranium mining.
Prof. Brugge followed up this interest by doing an oral history project documenting the swath uranium mining has cut through the Navajo community, and has done follow-up studies examining this devastation. He speaks of the difficulties of doing such studies, and his ongoing commitment to education on this subject, particularly that of the impact of uranium mining on reproductive health.
Read article about Doug Brugge and his work.
Toronto Star l Vyhnak Nov 16 2010
She held nothing back.
Port Hope’s air, drinking water, fish, beach, soil — virtually everything in the town of 16,000 poses a health risk from radioactivity, anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott warned an overflow crowd Tuesday night.
Radium is leaking into Lake Ontario and uranium from the Cameco refinery and is “almost certainly” being inhaled by residents, she told more than 200 people jammed into the banquet hall at the Best Western Durham Hotel in Oshawa.
“Your town symbolizes the whole wickedness” of the nuclear industry, the internationally acclaimed pediatrician said. “This radioactive waste will leak into food supplies, water and air for the rest of time.”