The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The dangerous and deadly toll of uranium mining, on Indian communities

Child with cerebral palsy, in uraniummining region Dungridih village. Jaduguda, photo by Subhrajit Sen.
[Photos] Suffering in the town powering India’s nuclear dreams. Mongabay, BY SUBHRAJIT SEN ON 4 SEPTEMBER 2020

  • Uranium is a vital mineral for India’s ambitious nuclear power programme. Out of the seven states with uranium reserves, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh have currently operating mines.
  • In Jharkhand’s Jaduguda region, which has India’s oldest uranium mines, local communities narrate stories of suffering due to degrading health and the environment. The government, however, denies any ill-impact of uranium mining on people.
  • The Indian government is aiming to increase uranium exploration and mining.
  • This photo essay features images taken between 2016-2019 of residents of villages around uranium mines in Jharkhand. Some of these photos contain sensitive content.

Anamika Oraom, 16, of village Dungridih, around a kilometre away from Narwa Pahar uranium mine in Jharkhand, wants to study. But she cannot, owing to severe headaches that come up periodically, triggered by a malignant tumour on her face. Sanjay Gope, 18, cannot walk and is confined to his wheelchair. Haradhan Gope, 20, can study, walk, talk, but owing to a physical deformity, his head is much smaller in proportion to his body.

There are many more, young and old, in the village Bango, adjacent to Jaduguda uranium mine in Jharkhand, whose lives and death highlight the ill-effects of uranium mining, say the villagers.

Uranium is a naturally occurring radioactive mineral and is vital to India’s nuclear power programme. At present (till August 31, 2020), India’s installed nuclear power capacity is 6780 megawatts (MW). The country aims to produce 40,000 MW of nuclear power by 2030.

The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) is involved in the mining and processing uranium ore in the country. According to the UCIL, mining operations at Jaduguda began in 1967, and it is India’s first uranium mine.

In the 25-kilometre radius of Jaduguda, there are other uranium deposits at Bhatin, Narwa Pahar, Turamdih, Banduhurang, Mohuldih, and Bagjata. While UCIL claims that Jaduguda mine has created a large skill base for uranium mining and the mining industry, local communities point out that their lives and land have changed irreversibly.

The villagers complain that the hills surrounding Jaduguda, dug up to create ‘tailing ponds,’ have proven to be a severe health hazard. A tailing pond is an area where leftover material is stored after the excavated ore is treated to extract uranium. Communities argue that these ponds have led to groundwater and river contamination.

Namita Soren of village Dungridih said, “This radioactive element has become a part of our daily life.”

“Children are born with physical disabilities or people with cancer. But our sorrow doesn’t end there,” said Soren who had three miscarriages before giving birth to a child born with physical deformities.

Ghanshyam Birulee, the co-founder of the Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR), said that villagers earlier marked certain forest areas as ‘cursed’ – a woman passing through the area was believed be affected by an evil gaze and suffer a miscarriage or people would feel dizzy. These areas coincided with the forest spaces around tailing ponds. In cultural translation, the regions surrounding tailing ponds became infested with ‘evil spirits.’ But as the people became more aware, they connected their misery to the mining operations.

A 2003 study by Tata Institute of Social Sciences emphasised that 18 percent of women in the region suffered miscarriages/stillbirth between 1998 and 2003, 30 percent reported some sort of problem in conception, and most women complained of fatigue and weakness.

When asked the reason for opposing the UCIL’s mining project, Birulee said, “Before mining started, people never used to have diseases like these – children were not handicapped, women were not suffering from miscarriages, people didn’t have tuberculosis or cancer. People had ordinary illnesses, cold and cough, that got cured by traditional medicines. But today, even the doctors are not able to diagnose diseases. It all emerged after uranium mining started.”

India has uranium reserves in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. It is currently operating mines in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. The country has a detailed plan to become self-sufficient in uranium production by achieving a nearly ten-fold rise by 2031-32, including expansion from existing mines and opening new mines. However, to augment supply until then, it has signed a long-term contract with Uzbekistan (in 2019) to supply 1,100 metric tons of natural uranium ore concentrates during 2022 -2026. Similar agreements have been signed with overseas suppliers from various other countries like Canada, Kazakhstan, and France to supply uranium ore.

No help from the government or politicians

Birulee feels that the political class is aware of the problem but that has not translated into safeguarding villagers’ lives. “Whoever is elected from here – legislator or parliamentarian – has never raised our issue about radiation either in the state legislature or parliament. If they raise our issue, I am sure the government will take some action to resolve people’s issues,” said Birulee.

In March 2020, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha about public health hazards due to India’s uranium mines.

Rudy asked whether the central government has reports of hazardous activities like radioactive slurry being stored in the open, causing health hazards to people residing in adjacent areas of uranium mines in the country, and, if so, the action taken on it.

While replying to the question, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, refuted any such impact. ………..

Birulee reflects on the opposing conditions that he has witnessed. For him, it is impossible to leave behind his land, livelihood, and traditions. But for people close to the mines and tailing ponds, “the only solution is that from this region – from this radiation zone – people should be rehabilitated to a safer place. Else they’ll be surrounded by the same problems.”

Local livelihood options impacted

The people note that displacement and then deforestation for uranium mining robbed them of their land and livelihood, and later cursed them with health impacts.

Though the company and those in power deny any ill-impact on local ecology and livelihood, locals alleged that small-scale production of bidis is also hampered due to the low quality of tendu leaves. They suspect that the trees have been exposed to contaminated groundwater.

Villagers said that with expansion of mining large tracts of sal, sarjom, and teak trees are being wiped out. The trees are essential for the communities’ sacred rituals and traditional activities.

Ashish Birulee, photojournalist and member of JOAR, said that the route for transporting uranium ore is the same used by the public. He says the resulting pollution from the dust has a long-term impact on health and ecology.

Ashish adds that the mining company cannot ignore the most significant factor – the experience of people living in this area. “The experience of people is nothing less than any study or research. It can’t be denied. UCIL is not ready to admit that there are problems. It is because if it admits it would have to compensate people. Peoples’ experience shows that before 1967 there were no such issues, but it started after mining took off. If you look at the population of Jaduguda, there are a lot of people with disabilities. But if you go about 15 kilometres away, there are no such problems.”

“As far as a solution is concerned, once you start mining at any place, there is no solution. The company will mine here till the uranium ore exists. It has a lease for 45-50 years and after mining is over here, it will move to a new mine and extract resources. But the mining waste will be left here,” said Ashish. ……


September 5, 2020 Posted by | health, India, Uranium | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear fuel imports almost zero in 2019 as industry stagnates

August 13, 2020 Posted by | Japan, Uranium | Leave a comment

Radiation-related health hazards to uranium miners

July 8, 2020 Posted by | health, Uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mining protests in Russia

Anti–nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals [Full Report 2020]    Report “Anti–nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals” Produced by RSEU’s program “Against nuclear and radioaсtive threats”
Published: Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2020

“……..Uranium mining protest
In the Kurgan region, Rosatom’s subsidiary company, Dalur, has been mining uranium and the local communities fear an environmental disaster. In the summer of 2019, the state environmental appraisal revealed a discrepancy between Dalur’s documentation and the Russian legislation

requirements, but the company started the deposit’s development anyway at the end of 2019.(22)
• The ‘Dobrovolnoe’ uranium deposit is located in a floodplain of the Tobol river basin. This means that all the water that flows into the river will pass through the aquifer, flushing out radioactive and toxic compounds into the surrounding environment. (23)
• Since 2017, Kurgan activists have been protesting against the development of the deposit. They have appealed to the authorities and begun protests. One of their videos, ‘Uranium is Death for Kurgan’, has already reached 50,000 views. (24)
Several times, activists have tried to start a referendum and demand an independent environmental review, but so far, have received only refusals from the local officials.In February 2018, Natalia Shulyatieva, the spouse of activist Andrey Shulyatiev and mother of three children, died after falling into a coma. (25)
Activists believe this occurred in reaction to learning that Dalur had filed a lawsuit against her husband, accusing him of undermining the company’s reputation. The lawsuit was withdrawn following Shulyatieva’s death. (26)
In March 2020, the Federal Security Service in the Kurgan Region initiated a criminal case against local eco–activist Lyubov Kudryashova for her ‘public justification of terrorism using the Internet’. (27)

Activists attribute her persecution to her work at the Public Monitoring Fund for the Environmental Condition and the Population Welfare which she led back in 2017. The Foundation has repeatedly published information on the possible environmental damage resulting from Dalur’s mining activity. (28)


Rosatom Importing uranium waste
In the fall of 2019, environmentalists revealed that radioactive and toxic waste (uranium hexafluoride, UF6)were being imported from Germany through the port of Amsterdam into Russia. This is the waste from the uranium enrichment process which will be sent to the Urals or Siberia and stored in containers above the ground. Thus, under the auspices of a commercial transaction, the German uranium–enriching enterprise, Urenco, avoids its nuclear waste problem, while Rosatom profits by taking the hazardous waste into Russia.
• In response to this transaction, the groups Russian Social–Ecological Union, Ecodefense and Greenpeace Russia called on Russian civil society to protest. More than 30 organisations and movements joined the common statement (29), and various demonstrations have taken place in Russia, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands. (30)
As a result of protests, the question of importing radioactive waste was taken up by the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg (31) and the transportation of the waste was delayed for three months.However, in March 2020, when people in Russia were further restricted from protests during the Covid–19 virus quarantine, the import of radioactive waste was resumed through the port of the less populated town of Ust–Luga in Leningrad Region. Additional organisations and residents of the Leningrad region then decided to join the earlier anti–nuclear statement and protest. (32)
• Following these protests, a number of activists have faced persecution. Like Sosnovy Bor, Novouralskis a nuclear industry–dominated and closed city of Sverdlovsk region, and is the end destination of the transported uranium hexafluoride. The city has rarely seen protests before. In response to a series of one–person protests, authorities have initiated legal cases against three pensioners in the beginning of December 2019 (33). Charges were later dismissed. Another example is Rashid Alimov, an expert from Greenpeace Russia, who protested in the center of Saint Petersburg. Later the same day, two police officers together with six other people without uniform detained Alimov from in front of his house. He then faced charges and a substantial fine. (34)
Charges were later dropped.Environmental organisations that had previously opposed the import of uranium waste were listed as Foreign Agents.
Ecodefense was the first of such, listed in 2014. In 2019, the pressure continued and the organisation’s leader, Alexandra Korolyova, was targeted. (35)
Five criminal cases were initiated against her, which forced her to leave the country. (36)…..”

June 6, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

“Get the Hell Off”: The Indigenous Fight to Stop a Uranium Mine in the Black Hills

An unidentified member of AIM Native American woman sits with her rifle at ready on steps of building in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, March 2, 1973. Indians still have control of town having seized it on Tuesday. Eleven hostages they had taken were finally released. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Get the Hell Off”: The Indigenous Fight to Stop a Uranium Mine in the Black Hills

Can the Lakota win a “paper war” to save their sacred sites?

Mother Jones,  BY DELILAH FRIEDLER; PHOTOS BY DANNY WILCOX FRAZIER, MARCH/APRIL 2020 ISSUE, Regina Brave remembers the moment the first viral picture of her was taken. It was 1973, and 32-year-old Brave had taken up arms in a standoff between federal marshals and militant Indigenous activists in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Brave had been assigned to guard a bunker on the front lines and was holding a rifle when a reporter leaped from a car to snap her photo. She remembers thinking that an image of an armed woman would never make the papers—“It was a man’s world,” she says—but the bespectacled Brave, in a peacoat with hair pulled back,   was on front pages across the country the following Sunday……..

Today, Brave and other Lakota elders are staring down yet another encroachment on their historic lands: a 10,600-acre uranium mine proposed to be built in the Black Hills. The Dewey-Burdock mine would suck up as much as 8,500 gallons of groundwater per minute from the Inyan Kara aquifer to extract as much as 10 million pounds of ore in total. Lakota say the project violates both the 1868 US-Lakota treaty and federal environmental laws by failing to take into account the sacred nature of the site. If the mine is built, they say, burial grounds would be destroyed and the region’s waters permanently tainted.
A legal win for the Lakota would represent an unprecedented victory for a tribe over corporations such as Power­tech, the Canadian-owned firm behind Dewey-­Burdock, that have plundered the resource-rich hills. And it could set precedents forcing federal regulators to protect Indigenous sites and take tribes’ claims more seriously. The fight puts the Lakota on a collision course with the Trump administration, which has close ties to energy companies and is doubling down on nuclear power while fast-tracking new permits and slashing environmental protectionseven using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to further roll back regulations. All of this makes Black Hills mineral deposits more attractive than they’ve been in decades.
For Brave, the Dewey-Burdock mine is just the latest battle in a long war to stop settlers’ affronts to Lakota lands and sovereignty. “They’re taking so much from [the earth] and not giving anything back,” Brave tells me, a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from her fingers. “I’m thinking we should say to them, ‘Get the hell off. Your rent is over.’”
When the gold rush petered out, mining companies pivoted to silver, tungsten, iron, and limestone. In 1951, uranium was discovered. Within 20 years, there were more than 150 uranium mines centered on a small boomtown called Edgemont, in Paha Sapa’s southern foothills, where the Oglala once made their winter camp………
The southern foothills are rocky and quiet, but just north, bikers and families in RVs clog the highways to visit abandoned gold mines, old-timey saloons, and the main attraction, Mount Rushmore, which was carved into a sacred mountain known to the Lakota as the Six Grandfathers. “We call it the Shrine of Hypocrisy,” says Tonia Stands, an Oglala Lakota who has been one of Pine Ridge’s most persistent voices against uranium mining.
For decades, Lakota activists have raised alarms about the risks uranium mining poses to their communities. In 1962, radioactive material seeped from a broken dam into the Cheyenne River, upstream from Pine Ridge. Mining ceased in 1973, but the reservation continues to grapple with epidemic levels of birth defects, cancer, and kidney disease. Today, Pine Ridge has the lowest life expectancy of any US county. The rampant health issues help explain why reservation leaders took swift action to stem the spread of coronavirus before they even confirmed their first case.
While no evidence has definitively linked their health problems to mining, many Lakota believe that uranium contamination is partly to blame, and they point to the Environmental Protection Agency’s settlements in response to the effects of mining in the Navajo Nation, which acknowledged links between high levels of uranium in soil and drinking water and cancer, kidney disease, and reproductive issues on the reservation…….
Stands wears her hair in a single black braid reaching all the way down her back. Her grandmother was a “uranium fighter,” as was her late uncle Wilmer Mesteth, who helped found the Oglalas’ Tribal Historic Preservation Office. In 2010, three years after Powertech began the process of licensing Dewey-Burdock, Mesteth and the tribe filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which oversees uranium mine permitting, to stop construction. They argued that the project was moving forward in violation of their sovereign will as well as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the landmark 1970 law requiring federal agencies to document the impacts of all projects they build or license. According to the tribe and local geologists, Powertech failed to collect enough data to prove that the mine would not contaminate groundwater, and did not adequately assess how it would affect sites of cultural importance. …..
Adding a layer of oddity to the whole situation, Powertech is so far a mining company only on paper. It has never produced an ounce of ore and can only keep litigating as long as investors remain convinced that footing its bills will eventually pay off. Powertech anticipates the mine will net about $150 million, yet it says it’s already sunk $10 million into the NRC license, not including litigation or staffing costs. Its parent company, Azarga Uranium, trades as an underregulated penny stock; investment firm Haywood Securities rates its risk factor as “very high.”…..
 today, Powertech is just one of several companies applying to open new mines, anticipating that an administration bent on deregulation, and the appeal of nuclear power as a climate-friendly energy source, could increase profitability……
Trump’s proposed 2021 budget would allocate $150 million to stock a new reserve with domestically mined uranium. The share prices of US mining companies jumped after the report’s release, while factors related to COVID-19 caused the global price of uranium to surge throughout March and April.
Trump has found other ways to boost mining and energy interests in and around reservations and sacred Native sites.  …..
He’s also waging war on the cornerstone of environmental law: …..
Last August, Brave and a dozen tribal members gathered in a hotel ballroom in Rapid City for the latest hearing in their case. The NRC judges, three white men, sat at one end of the room, a photo of Mount Rushmore at their backs. Having lost their claims about environmental harm, the tribe’s lawyers are still trying to convince regulators that the uranium mine would irreparably damage Lakota burial grounds, places of ceremony, and other sacred sites………
Energy and mining companies are treated “like clients instead of regulated entities,” says Jeff Parsons, one of the tribe’s lawyers. The NRC and its permittees “are in absolute lockstep, opposed to citizen and tribal involvement” in a process designed to protect exactly that.
It’s not just the NRC. After the agency rejected the tribe’s environmental arguments, Parsons filed an appeal with the DC Circuit Court. In 2018, the court agreed that the NRC violated the law by licensing Dewey-­Burdock even after its own review panel found “significant deficiency” in the cultural review. But the court declined to vacate the license, citing Powertech’s lament that its stock price “would plummet.”……
After the hearing, Brave and Stands met in a nearby park with the other Lakota who’d driven from Pine Ridge. Sharing their huge pot of stew with homeless people there, most of the group concurred that their case looked strong. But the judges were unmoved: In December, they ruled that the NRC had satisfied NEPA’s requirement to take a “hard look” simply by making a “reasonable effort,” resolving the last objection to the license. “The system is set up to fail our people,” Stands says.
When Brave was just a kid, her grand­father made her memorize the text of the violated 1868 treaty. That came in handy when tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers, which issues permits for projects that cross waterways, were fighting over the Dakota Access pipeline. “When we were at Standing Rock, they said, ‘This is Army Corps of Engineers land.’ And I said, ‘Bullshit. This is treaty territory. The Army Corps of Engineers is not a country and cannot make a treaty with us. We’re sovereign.’”
For the Lakota, sovereignty means the right to determine for themselves what happens on their lands. ……
A shift from merely consulting tribes to making projects contingent on tribes’ involvement and input, a central tenet of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, would represent a monumental change. Under such a policy, the Keystone XL pipeline would likely be blocked by the tribes whose lands it would cross. In 2019, the state of Washington became the first to require the “free, prior, and informed consent” of recognized tribes on any project that “directly and tangibly affects” their people, lands, or sacred sites. In both federal and state supreme courts, tribes are beginning to win more rulings in favor of their long-­forgotten treaty rights…….
A shift from merely consulting tribes to making projects contingent on tribes’ involvement and input, a central tenet of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, would represent a monumental change. Under such a policy, the Keystone XL pipeline would likely be blocked by the tribes whose lands it would cross. In 2019, the state of Washington became the first to require the “free, prior, and informed consent” of recognized tribes on any project that “directly and tangibly affects” their people, lands, or sacred sites. In both federal and state supreme courts, tribes are beginning to win more rulings in favor of their long-­forgotten treaty rights………..

In October, Brave spoke at Magpie Buffalo Organizing’s inaugural “No Uranium in Treaty Territory” summit, which offered a crash course on tribal sovereignty. The activists are closely tracking the various Keystone XL permits, which the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is challenging in court as a treaty vio­lation. As the threat of both uranium and gold mining looms, there’s talk of occupying land in the Black Hills, as the American Indian Movement did in 1981.

For most of her life, Brave hadn’t understood why her grandfather made her memorize the treaty. It didn’t stop the Black Hills gold rush in the 19th century or the uranium boom in the 20th. Nobody knows how many sacred sites were destroyed—but now there’s a chance to protect those that remain……….

May 9, 2020 Posted by | indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, Uranium, USA | 4 Comments

Low Oil Prices May Kill Off The Next Nuclear Boom Before It Begins

Low Oil Prices May Kill Off The Next Nuclear Boom Before It Begins, Oil Price, By Alex Kimani – Apr 27, 2020
“…… the third nuclear gold rush could be dead in the water amid low energy prices and stiff public opposition towards a sector that has increasingly fallen out of favour.

Opening up the West

On Thursday, the Nuclear Fuel Working Group (NFWG) made recommendations to the U.S. Administration to open up ~1,500 acres outside the Grand Canyon for uranium production, arguing that the country needs to beef up domestic production to avoid an over-reliance on foreign sources.

The organization has recommended spending $1.5 billion over ten years buying uranium from American producers to create a uranium stockpile that would necessitate buying about 10 million pounds a year.

The working group’s report claims that the United States also needs more uranium for two other purposes:

–  Low-enriched uranium for the production of tritium for nuclear weapons through the 2040s, and

–  Highly enriched uranium to be used as fuel for Navy nuclear reactors through the 2050s

The slow and painful demise of the American uranium mining industry can be chalked up to the fact that the country is not endowed with the most abundant and most accessible uranium deposits, with resources in Canada and Australia boasting significantly higher uranium content and a lower production cost per unit.

American miners have had trouble making a profit from their operations even at the best of times. Consequently, the industry has historically had to rely heavily on government largesse.

During the golden age of American uranium that spanned from 1955-1980, the U.S. government offered fat uranium bonuses in a bid to shore up its stockpiles during the Cold War. These included 10-year price guarantees for certain kinds of ore as well as $10,000 discovery and production bonuses for new sources, which pencils out to nearly $100K in today’s dollars. The incentives set off a mad gold rush in the nation’s vast Western region as every man with a jeep and a Geiger counter set out to make the next significant discovery.

The program was a resounding success: U.S. uranium stockpiles skyrocketed so much that the government stopped paying out the bonuses sometime in the 1960s…….

By 1987, the tables had turned completely, with the country importing nearly 15 million pounds of uranium while domestic production clocked in at just 13 million.

Growing competition weighed heavily on domestic production while the country’s love affair with nuclear energy got its first dose of the harsh reality of nuclear technology thanks to the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in 1979 as well as the Chernobyl reactor meltdown of 1986 that turned an entire Ukrainian city into a ghost town. Meanwhile, utilities began to grow weary of the time and cost of building reactors, which further depressed demand.

The result: U.S. uranium production had sunk to a 35-year low by the time the last wave of reactors came online in 1990…….

Brief Renaissance

The U.S. uranium industry enjoyed a renaissance in the early 2000s as falling global stockpiles, and booming economies in China and India drove new demand.

Unfortunately, this, too, was not to last as the financial crisis of 2008 destroyed demand, while the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 led to another severe backlash that set off a new round of reactor closures while Germany set to phase out the technology by 2022.

The third nuclear gold rush is starting off on very shaky grounds, too.

First off, the world’s strategic uranium reserves are not in any immediate danger of running out. In 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that the global nuclear fleet has enough stockpiles for 130 years, more than enough for the markets to respond to any shortfalls rapidly as they have done in the past.  …..

But more importantly, trying to open up the west for uranium mining is bound to be met with stiff resistance and widespread public uproar.

For all its setbacks over the years, nuclear power has remained broadly popular in the United States. However, the turning point came in 2016 when the majority of people turned against the technology.

The latest poll last year revealed that American public opinion remains split over nuclear power, with 49 percent of U.S. adults either strongly favor (17 percent) or somewhat favor (32 percent) it in power generation while 49 percent either strongly oppose (21 percent) or somewhat oppose (28 percent) its use……

The funny thing is that Gallup has found that American opinion on nuclear power does not have much to do with radiation or safety concerns; rather, it is driven by prevailing fuel prices.  …..

a 2020 Colorado College Conservation in the West Poll found that 71 percent of voters in the Mountain West and 77 percent of Arizona voters oppose the development of new uranium mines on public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon. It’s the kind of backlash that no president wants to deal with, whether they are seeking re-election or not.

April 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration to boost uranium mining, weaken environmental regulations

April 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s new uranium plans threaten Grand Canyon area

April 26, 2020 Posted by | environment, Uranium, USA | 1 Comment

Outcry as uranium industry exploits Covid 19 to call for financial bailout


April 18, 2020 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Canada pushing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, but the outlook for uranium/nuclear industry is bleak

Nuclear power, and Canada’s uranium industry, are struggling to find their place in a green energy future, CIM Magazine, 23 Mar , 2020 NuScale Power submitted its small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) design to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a pre-licensing vendor design review. This came just over a month after the leaders of three Canadian provinces – Ontario premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe – signed a memorandum of understanding to develop SMRs in their respective provinces.

 …….Canada entering into a collaboration with the United States to secure supply lines for several critical minerals, uranium included reinforces that idea.
That would be good news for the uranium industry, as Canada is the world’s second-largest producer of the fuel source for these powerplants. But Cameco, the country’s largest uranium company, suspended production indefinitely at its flagship MacArthur River/Key Lake mine in July 2018, and the spot price of uranium is one-third of what it was back in 2011. That was before the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in Japan, when an earthquake and tsunami triggered the release of radioactive materials.
In 2018, supply and demand became more balanced, but only as a result of “substantial production cuts, cuts to some secondary supplies, reductions in inventories and an increase in demand for uranium,” said Rachelle Girard, vice-president of investor relations for Cameco. “Despite these improvements, it is no secret that today’s uranium market remains discretionary.”
Many nuclear reactors in Japan remain shut down following the Fukushima meltdown and countries such as Germany and South Korea are proceeding with nuclear phase-out programs in favour of alternative sources of energy, such as natural gas. The IEA agency projects that without a major turnaround in plant construction and refurbishments, nuclear power generation will continue to decline, making the share of energy required from renewable sources even larger than it would otherwise be……..
“The main problem with nuclear… is that it’s too slow and too costly,” said Gordon Edwards, co-founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “It takes too long to get new nuclear implanted. You’re looking at 10 to 20 years, even with one of these small modular reactors – and the cost is prohibitive. Other [options] are both much faster and much cheaper, the first and foremost of those being greater energy efficiency.”……..
shifting public sentiment might help lower resistance to nuclear projects, other trends are not as encouraging.  The average age of the nuclear fleet in advanced economies is 35-years-old, according to the IEA, and 25 per cent of that existing nuclear capacity is expected to shut down by 2025.
Canada has invested in multiple programs aimed to promote the use of nuclear energy domestically and internationally. “… Canada is also a participant in “Mission Innovation,” a global initiative to accelerate public and private clean energy innovation, and unveiled its “SMR Roadmap,” a 10-month engagement process with the industry and end-users, in December 2018.  …..

March 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

This week’s uranium report- prices fall again, Australia’s “nuclear future” going nowhere

Uranium Week: The Nuclear Debate Mar 11 2020

Moves are afoot once again in Australia to lift bans on both uranium mining and nuclear power. The uranium spot price has slipped once more.

-U3O8 spot prices fall again
-Nuclear debate reopens in Australia
-History suggests it will be no easy road

By Greg Peel   This week’s uranium report could simply be left as “nothing happened”. At least nothing of major uranium industry implication. The same issues remain in place, so rather than rake over old ground yet again, as to why uranium prices are in the doldrums, this week we’ll zoom in Australia’s nuclear dilemma.

For the record, industry consultant TradeTech reported ten transactions completed in the uranium spot market last week totalling 1mlbs U3O8 equivalent. As buyers were again largely MIA, prices fell gradually during the week. TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator has fallen -US50c to US$24.40/lb.

Term price indicators remain at US$28.25/lb (mid) and US$33.00 (long).

How to React?

The nuclear power debate has heated up in Australia once more. Driving fresh debate is the pending shutdown of ageing coal-fired power stations that provide Australia’s base load electricity. The federal government wants to build new coal-fired power stations. This policy already had its critics but as a result of this season’s bushfire disaster, an electoral groundswell is calling for the government to recognise climate change and act accordingly before it’s too late.

Australians are now generally opposed to both coal-fired power and new thermal coal mines. But not all Australians. The country is the world’s largest exporter of coal. The coal mining industry employs thousands, and thousands more are supported indirectly by that industry. The surprise victory for the coal-friendly Coalition at last year’s federal election was in part due to support from Queensland-based electorates, Queensland being Australia’s premier coal producing state.

Nuclear power has long been proposed as an alternative source to meet Australia’s electricity needs, if for no other reason Australia boasts the world’s largest known reserves of uranium. But from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and Fukushima, successive governments have considered nuclear power to be electoral suicide. The debate is now back on again nevertheless, to lift bans on uranium mining and build nuclear reactors.

Australia is a federation of six sovereign states and two federal territories. Of those six states, four have bans on uranium mining. Tasmania has no known commercial uranium deposits, leaving South Australia as the only state with operating uranium mines. Of those four operating mines, two are currently under care & maintenance pending improved uranium prices, leaving only BHP Group’s ((BHP)) Olympic Dam and the foreign-owned Beverley in operation. A fifth mine – Ranger in the Northern Territory — is currently producing uranium but only from stockpiled ore.

Over a decade ago, the then Queensland premier decided to lift the state’s ban on uranium mining. So swift and brutal was the backlash from the coal lobby, the premier very quickly changed his mind. In the interim, one Western Australia state government lifted the ban on uranium mining, only to have the next government ban it again. Two mines under construction on the basis of the prior policy were exempted.

The Australian federal government previously limited the number of allowable uranium mines, but that policy has since been abandoned. The federal government is currently content to restrict the number of countries Australia can export uranium to.

Last week the New South Wales deputy premier supported a bill in state parliament to overturn a nuclear power ban, after a parliamentary inquiry recommended that the law prohibiting uranium mining and nuclear facilities should be repealed. The bill has the support of the Minerals Council of Australia, and the Australian Workers Union, which supports uranium mining and nuclear power for the jobs both will create. But the AWU’s stance puts it at odds with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which has long been anti-uranium for what we might call Fukushima reasons.

And support for uranium mining and nuclear power is not split down party lines at either federal or state level. The debate is splitting parties.

A lifting of state uranium mining bans would likely not achieve much in the near term. The marginal cost of new production well exceeds current uranium trading prices. To not build nuclear reactors, on the other hand, when the issue of Australia’s future base load power and electricity prices is paramount, and Australia has abundant uranium resources, is seen by supporters as pure folly.

The debate will rage on, but in the short term at least, likely go nowhere.

March 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Protesters call for Capenhurst Urenco nuclear plant to be closed down

March 6, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK, Uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium prices at rock bottom- doesn’t help the struggling nuclear industry

Uranium Week: The Nuclear Conundrum

By Greg Peel, Lack of demand continues to drag on uranium prices despite ongoing production curtailments, yet nuclear energy remains a matter of cost.

-Uranium spot prices drift lower
-Production curtailments ongoing
-Nuclear power a costly option

he world’s largest mining investment conference, now in its 26th year, began in Cape Town last week. Given the tenuous state of South Africa’s energy supply, the focus this year of the “Investing in African Mining Indaba” is on a transition from coal toward renewable and clean energy resources to deal with power shortages across the African continent. (Indaba means meeting.)

The five-day conference brought together representatives from 94 countries and regions, including more than 38 ministers, under the theme “Optimizing Growth and Investment in the Digitized Mining Economy.”

The CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa said at the conference the Council fully supports a transition from coal to non-fossil fuel forms of power generation such as wind and solar power and, where cost is not prohibitive, nuclear power.

“Where cost is not prohibitive” underscores the dilemma facing the global nuclear power and uranium mining industries at present. The US experience is one of US uranium miners being unable to compete with cheaper imports from the likes of Canada and Kazakhstan, with uranium prices near historically low levels. Yet the US nuclear power industry cannot compete with gas-fired and renewable power, despite historically low uranium prices.


February 13, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

World’s first public database of mine tailings dams aims to prevent deadly disasters

World’s first public database of mine tailings dams aims to prevent deadly disasters

Previously unreleased data offer unprecedented view into mining industry’s waste storage practices


Until now, there has been no central database detailing the location and quantity of the mining industry’s liquid and solid waste, known as tailings. The waste is typically stored in embankments called tailings dams, which have periodically failed with devastating consequences for communities, wildlife and ecosystems.

“This portal could save lives”, says Elaine Baker, senior expert at GRID-Arendal and a geosciences professor with the University of Sydney in Australia. “Dams are getting bigger and bigger. Mining companies have found most of the highest-grade ores and are now mining lower-grade ones, which create more waste. With this information, the entire industry can work towards reducing dam failures in the future.”

The database allows users to view detailed information on more than 1,700 tailings dams around the world, categorized by location, company, dam type, height, volume, and risk, among other factors.

“Most of this information has never before been publicly available”, says Kristina Thygesen, GRID-Arendal’s programme leader for geological resources and a member of the team that worked on the portal. When GRID-Arendal began in-depth research on mine tailings dams in 2016, very little data was accessible. In a 2017 report on tailings dams, co-published by GRID and the UN Environment Programme, one of the key recommendations was to establish an accessible public-interest database of tailings storage facilities.

“This database brings a new level of transparency to the mining industry, which will benefit regulators, institutional investors, scientific researchers, local communities, the media, and the industry itself”, says Thygesen.

The release of the Global Tailings Portal coincides with the one-year anniversary of the tailings dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil, that killed 270 people. After that disaster, a group of institutional investors led by the Church of England Pensions Board asked 726 of the world’s largest mining companies to disclose details about their tailings dams. Many of the companies complied, and the information they released has been incorporated into the database.

For more information on tailings dams, see the 2017 report “Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident” and the related collection of graphics, which are available for media use.

About GRID-Arendal

GRID-Arendal supports environmentally sustainable development by working with the UN Environment Programme and other partners. We communicate environmental knowledge that motivates decision-makers and strengthens management capacity. We transform environmental data into credible, science-based information products, delivered through innovative communication tools and capacity-building services.

January 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Kyrgyzstan bans uranium, thorium mining

Above – radioactive tailings mountain in Central Asia

December 21, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, environment, politics, thorium, Uranium | Leave a comment