Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New York Times weighs in against uranium mining

The New York Times has editorialized for the most sweeping option in shutting down uranium exploration in northern Arizona, repeating the main points of mining opponents. [right, uranium mining in northern Arizona. Credit VANE Minerals]

They raise concerns the Colorado River is uranium-free but is at risk of being contaminated by mining activity, potentially poisoning the drinking water of 27 million people. However, work by the U.S. Geological Survey documented that 40-80 tons of uranium are eroded naturally into the Colorado River every year. The AZGS found that even the worst-case accident would add additional amounts to the river that are too small to distinguish from the large amounts of naturally-occurring uranium.

There are valid issues to resolve about mining in this region but overstated fears distract us from the real challenges and diminish the debate.

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