Letter to the Editor: Stop the Insanity On Uranium Mining

To the editor: I understand that we have new safer ways to extract uranium from the ground, but has anyone figured out what to do with the waste it creates? The tailings produced ... retains 85% of the radioactivity. You can't just bury it without contaminating the ground and surface water.

December 10, 20232 min read

Uranium 12 10 23

Dear Editor,

It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Here we go again: The folks who mined and milled uranium in this state in the 60s and 70s are either dead from radiation poisoning or are quietly glowing in the dark in a trailer house somewhere in the Red Desert.

I understand that we have new safer ways to extract it from the ground, but has anyone figured out what to do with the waste it creates? The tailings produced in order to turn the ore into yellow cake retains 85% of the radioactivity. You can't just bury it without contaminating the ground and surface water.

When the mill in Jeffrey City shut down, they dug a hole and buried the entire plant, the haul trucks, the equipment, and everything because it was too hot to ever use again. In doing so, they contaminated the Sweetwater River and the drinking water for miles downstream. The camp site where I lived in Crooks Gap is still too hot to allow anyone to enter. It hasn't been mined for over 60 years.

My father and young miners like him were lured to the uranium district by big incentives and good pay but not told of the dangers. Many of those men, their wives, and their children died from radiation poisoning. What of the waste from the reactors themselves? Bury it here in Wyoming?

Quite a legacy for our grandchildren. It will only be highly radioactive for the next million years. Then we'll all be OK. Who stands to gain from this idea? Who stands to lose? Will the politicians allow their children to work in the uranium industry or at the nuclear plant?

The rest of the country will shrug its shoulders and say: "Oh well, no one lives in Wyoming anyway." Let's not prove them right.

Sincerely,

Jerry Kendall

Lander

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