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Clean Water Alliance Releases TV Ad Protesting Black Hills Uranium Mining

Last updated on 2014.07.13

Darned wasicu and their in-situ uranium mining....

The Clean Water Alliance is placing the following public service announcement on KOTA and KEVN television. But since TV is as bad for your brain as Powertech/Azarga's uranium mining will be for the Black Hills, why not watch it here on the Internet instead?

Chinese-Canadian Powertech/Azarga, whose big-money officers mostly live elsewhere and won't have to deal with the pollution they will leave in the Black Hills, face a public comment hearing hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Hot Springs on Monday, August 18, followed by the NRC evidentiary hearing August 19–21 in Rapid City.


  1. Spencer 2014.07.14

    So, is the point of this ad campaign to prevent uranium extraction and allow it to naturally decay further contaminating local well and surface water with its parent material and its lethal radium series? Ironically, the long term solution to correcting many of the water quality issues of the area is systemic uranium extraction.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    Whoa! There's one I didn't see coming!

    Background radiation vs. industrial pollution... hmm... shooting from the hip, let me argue this scenario:

    Uranium breaks down naturally, with a half-life of 4.5 billion years, meaning that, over time, a given deposit of uranium will emit less and less radiation. The worst radiation comes early; unless God is putting more uranium in the Black Hills, the natural background radiation should decrease over time.

    In-situ uranium mining increases the chances of introducing higher doses of radiation and other pollution into the water. Right now, that uranium sits in the rock, doing its thing. Powertech/Azarga would pump a whole bunch of water down to that uranium, infuse that water with radioactive material, then extract the uranium and discard the irradiated water. Powertech is irradiating water that would not otherwise be irradiated. That's a problem.

    Plus, if I recall correctly, in-situ mining uses a bunch of other chemicals that nature certainly isn't introducing into the water supply. That makes water quality worse. That's the point of the 2009 USGS report to which this 30-second ad alludes and which Joe Lowe cited during his primary campaign. Removing the uranium apparently has not corrected water quality issues from their previous unextracted-uranium baseline.

    Spencer's thesis thus sounds like saying, "Hey, I see you have a wart on your finger. Let me extract it with this axe...."

    But Spencer, I welcome your data and analysis to the contrary. If we can improve water quality in the Black Hills by mining uranium, show us how!

  3. mike from iowa 2014.07.14

    Your Honor,my client,uranium,was minding its own business when for some inexplicable reason its home was flooded by surface water and my client was forced to swim to the surface and was rescued by some Chinese-Canadians and forced to move to who knows where for some nefarious reason. My client respectfully requests damages for being accused of polluting the very water that precipitated this heinous home invasion.

  4. Larry Mann 2014.07.14

    Corey, It would be interesting to have a comprehensive discussion with you on this topic.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.07.14

    How much money should Cory expect to be paid, Mann?

  6. larry kurtz 2014.07.14

    Homestake is such a shining example of environmental stewardship, init?

  7. larry kurtz 2014.07.14

    $PWURF is up a little today: did you buy, Larry?

  8. Larry Mann 2014.07.14

    Typical tactic of the ill informed. Attack the character of those with whom you disagree.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    (And don't let Mr. Kurtz scare you off. My friend Larry K. is a bit high-strung.)

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    (...which I say with love of high-strungedness... ;-) )

  11. Larry Mann 2014.07.14

    Corey, At your convenience and in any manner you prefer.

  12. Donald Pay 2014.07.14

    Yeah, Spencer is way off. It's not as simple as he thinks. The argument generally is over (1) whether mobilized uranium (and other elements) will be captured by wells without excursions during mining and (2) whether the groundwater can be restored to background levels (or close to it). Knowing how past test holes in this area were not properly abandoned, there is the additional concern in this case about how improper abandonment may affect the permeability of confining layers.

    A nice study is provided below which describes some of the restoration issue. Restoration of groundwater to background levels is fudged by regulatory agencies. They can't restore the water, but they can come close on some, but not all, parameters. It's a question of what you want to live with. But if Spencer looks at the data presented, he will see that the uranium and radium in water after mining is usually greater than uranium and radium in water after what the NRC calls "restoration."

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.14

    There goes Donald, blinding us with science again.

    I notice that Tables 3–6 of that study find levels of uranium in the groundwater at four in-situ uranium mining sites higher than baseline after "restoration". That would seem to support CWA's thesis and rebut Spencer's.

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