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Numerous articles, editorials, and letters to the editor are being published in local newspapers concerning uranium mining in northern Colorado. To view them, see the Reference page.
Will Fort Collins soon be the worst place to live? Print

by Marina Mayer 

Guest Commentary
June 24, 2007


ImageJust four weeks ago, my husband and I moved to Fort Collins. We bought a beautiful house with 10 acres where we were planning on keeping livestock and growing vegetables.

This house was the result of a two-year-long search for paradise.

We visited Fort Collins just once last February, and knew immediately that we found it: our paradise. There is beautiful scenery with views of the Rocky Mountains, friendly people who are looking after themselves and their environment. A great community where we hope to grow old.

Everything changed on April 24 when we first heard about Powertech Uranium, a Canadian company that is planning on mining uranium in Nunn.

A lot of people will now say: "Nunn, that's far from Fort Collins. This will not affect us." I say different. This will affect all of northern Colorado. And I will explain to you why.

Water is the most precious commodity of Colorado. So how is it possible that a company, which has been in the business of uranium mining only since 2006, can buy 5,760 acres of uranium mineral rights and start mining for uranium, resulting in the contamination of groundwater and aquifer with radioactive metals?

Powertech states on its Web site that the company expects to recover 9.58 million pounds of uranium U308 in Nunn, with a resale value of roughly $125 per pound as of June 5. That would mean that Powertech could make $1.2 billion by selling the uranium to China or India, which are the countries with the highest demand in uranium today. So, I guess this sounds great -- for the investors! This company makes billions of dollars by exploiting natural resources of Colorado. It might even be able to get around paying taxes in the United States since it is a Canadian company, and it'll make enough money to pay some good tax consultants.

In addition to the money the company will make, Powertech will make a big mess!

The technology Powertech officials say they want to use is called "in-situ" leach mining. Here is what the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated about in-situ leach mining: "Although these 'in-situ' leach mining techniques are considered more environmentally benign then traditional mining and milling practices, they still tend to contaminate the groundwater."

So, what does that leave us with? Radioactivity in the groundwater that spreads into the drinking water and eventually finds its way into crops, livestock and finally, people. As most of you already know, the result is cancer!

If Powertech starts to mine uranium, a lot of people will move away from these dangers. As a result, real estate prices will drop, businesses will go bankrupt and unemployment will increase. Fort Collins will no longer be "the best place to live." It will be the worst.

But, is moving away really the solution to this problem? I don't think so.

Nunn is not the only victim of the new "gold rush." Since prices for uranium increased from $10 per pound in 2003 to now $125 per pound, no place with uranium resources is safe. There were more than 3,000 new uranium mining claims filed in Colorado in 2005.

Few people will benefit from this gold rush, but many will suffer.

Indigenous peoples from around the world -- victims of uranium mining, nuclear testing and nuclear dumping -- issued a global ban on uranium mining on native lands during the Indigenous World Uranium Summit, held Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, 2006. Australian aboriginals, villagers from India and Africa and Pacific Islanders joined with indigenous peoples from the Americas to take action and halt the cancer, birth defects and death from uranium and nuclear industries on native lands.

Let's ban uranium mining in Colorado!

For more information, please view Also, ask your elected representative how you can stop uranium mining in Colorado.

Marina Mayer has a bachelor's degree in finance from Germany and moved to the United States in 2000. She is employed as a data analyst for a medical management company out of Fort Collins.

SOURCES provided by the columnist.

«Colorado Department of Natural Resources, "Rock Talk" Volume 9, No. 2, Fall 2006, page 2

«Americas Program, International Relations Center article by Brenda Norrell, "Indigenous Peoples Call for Global Ban on Uranium Mining" from Feb. 2, 2007

«Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Consideration of Geochemical Issues in Groundwater Restoration at Uranium In-Situ Leach Mining Facilities (NUREG/
CR-6870), prepared by J.A. Davis, G.P. Curtis, published in January 2007


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