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Kiva Records has released the CD single "The No Uranium Song" by singer-songwriter Russ Hopkins in support of CARD. Read Story...
Nuclear not clean, renewable Print

by Lisa R. Olivas (Opinion)
Fort Collins Colorado
August 6, 2008

Nuclear power is often categorized by elected officials, including our own Gov. Ritter, as a possible future renewable energy source, if not implicitly, then at least in vague context.

On May 20, Ritter proudly signed the Uranium Mining Water Protection Bill that is touted as the toughest in the nation regarding uranium mining practices and the protection of ground water. Conversely, on June 29, on "Meet the Press" when asked by Tom Brokow whether he would be open to a nuclear power plant in Colorado, Ritter said, "It's going to be part of our future as a country." And as recently as July 7, Ritter was quoted in the Greeley Tribune as saying, "Nuclear (power) may have some role to play as part of our energy future" and, "We believe that we should avail ourselves of every opportunity to produce renewable energy."

The Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, doesn't beat around the bush on this topic. He has come right out to say that his energy policy would call for 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030. Barack Obama is a little more careful by saying it's an option.

If our elected officials and presidential candidates are planning nuclear power for our future, then it stands to reason that this will require an increase in uranium mining. Therefore, Ritter's noble signing of the law requiring tougher standards on uranium mining seems to be, dare I say, hogwash! I mean, greenwash! Because it doesn't stop the inevitable; it only delays it.

In-situ leach mining is the preferred uranium mining method over open-pit mining. And despite assurance and promises of safety by uranium mining companies and the hope of new mining technology, there continues to be, time and again, hazardous spills, leaks and radioactive containments that affect the mining site's surrounding area, including groundwater. The effects of this containment are harmful to wildlife and humans.

As recently as March of this year, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued a notice of violation to Cameco Resources Inc. for the in-situ leach uranium mine near Douglas for numerous problems that also included spills and procedures related to compromising groundwater.

Nuclear power plants, by virtue of what they are, are hazardous and extremely polluting to the environment right from the beginning in the construction phase to the end with vast amounts of dangerous and radioactive waste. By definition any energy production that pollutes and degrades surrounding natural resources is not clean and is not renewable.

It could be that our elected officials are woefully uneducated on this matter or they are trying to appease corporate lobbyists. What is important is that we educate ourselves and make our voice known that we want energy options that are clean and renewable. Nuclear power is neither.

I urge you to contact your elected officials. Much information regarding the hazards of in-situ leach uranium mining can be found at www.nunn

Lisa R. Olivas lives in Fort Collins.

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