Thursday, February 16, 2012

Survivors on a Radioactive Wasteland

By: Duane Craig

There is a long story of radioactive contamination across New Mexico, especially in the northwestern portion of the state, where recent estimates of cleaning up just one site will require the removal of 1.4 million tons of soil, according to an article at E&E Publishing, LLC.

Much of this story centers around the U.S. Department of Energy and the United States’ race with the Soviet Union to see who could create more nuclear weapons. The five-year cleanup plans in this part of the country come and go like the winds, while more than 500 polluted mine sites wait to be cleaned up. Meanwhile, the people live with contaminated water and land, and there are even radioactive homes that were built with waste from uranium mining.

The Environmental Protection Agency says miners took about four million tons of uranium from Navajo lands between 1944 and 1986, and besides fueling the manufacture of nuclear bombs, it was also pressed into service for nuclear power plants. Uranium mining activity left an indelible mark on the land and even in the water. In a part of the country where 30 percent of residents use untreated water, and water quality is often unknown or too dangerous to drink, the long-term health implications become even more staggering.

There is much more to the detailed story here.

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