1. Rod, you and I have been responding to the same issues this morning, because we have participated in the same conversation. I take the view, than uranium mining is really a non issue, because traditional mining ad even in situ leaching are largely unnecessary. I emailed you earlier today:
    Rod, I would commend your work. Neither of us want to hide from the problems of nuclear power, and we both offer solutions. There is right now enough uranium and thorium above ground to power human society for thousands of years. The above ground resources come in the form of depleted uranium, phosphate mine tailings and other unconventional resources, for example uranium and thorium recovery from the fly ash of coal powered steam plants. In addition continued recovery of thorium is assured from rare earth mines. Rare earths are increasingly in demand for technologies that support post carbon energy. Thorium almost inevitably co-ocures with rare earths, and traditionally has been left in the tailings of rare earth mines. In addition the recovery of uranium from sea water has been demonstrated to be technologically possible at an acceptable price. The recovery of 32,000 tones a year of uranium from sea water is sustainable probably for millions of years, because 32,000 tons of year of uranium flows into the sea from rivers.
    None of the sources I have mentioned would create the problems traditionally associated with the use of nuclear power.
    I have further comments on Nuclear Green this morning in a post titled “Nuclear Green in a Nut Shell.”

  2. Hi Rod and Charles. Thanks for the posts. Reading your posts was very reassuring.
    The whole thing reminds me of the E M Forster book, Two Cheers for Democracy. Only two cheers, because it is an imperfect system of government, with definite problems. Two cheers, because it is the best form of government the world has ever known.
    And in that spirit., I give Two Cheers for Nuclear Power.

  3. It is also important to mention that the overwhelming number of issues with uranium mining both in health and safety, and environmental damage were from the middle of the last century. At that time these issues attended ALL types of mining, but since then regulation has tightened considerably, particularly in the case of uranium. As a consequence the number of incidences has gone down, while in petroleum and gas exploration and production these events are more common than they were in the past.

    1. “It is also important to mention that the overwhelming number of issues with uranium mining both in health and safety, and environmental damage were from the middle of the last century.”
      I doubt if very many people realize the significance of that statement. I was in the Navy Nuclear Power Program in the early 60’s. While studying in the library I came across a military manual (Army?) on radiation protection written in the early 1940’s. The manual explained how they determined the “acceptable” radiation dose and why it was safe. In a nutshell they picked the level based upon that amount of radiation that caused reddening of the skin, like a sunburn – and to make sure it would be safe they divided that value by 10. Kind of scary isn’t it? More than likely these are the same dose limits that uranium miners were restricted to in the 1040’s.

      1. Why is that scary?
        Last time I checked, we still allow people to smoke cigarettes.
        At least radiation is known to cause only cancer.

        1. It is scarry because it takes about 200 to 300 rem to cause reddening of the skin like a sun burn and 10 percent of that, 30 rem, is well above the once in a life time dose. Yes, people receive that and more for medical reasons, but usally for prevention and to kill cancer. It would take several hundred bone scans and probably a thousand barium enemas to acheive that dose and quite hard to do all of thoese procedures in one hour. It is also scarry because I assume they gave someone a dose to determine what level caused reddining of the skin!

          1. Yeah, but 200 to 300 rem is also enough to produce noticeable radiation sickness, and it will cause some people to die — if it is a whole-body dose. Since the focus was on the reddening of skin, without mention of any other (obvious) effects, I suspect that this justification of acceptable dose was for something other than whole body.
            Something like a hand can withstand a much larger dose than the whole body because there are no major blood-producing organs located there. If I recall correctly, the DOE’s dose limit for the skin or extremities is still 50 rem/year.
            As for how scientists knew about the reddening of the skin, the early twentieth century provided all sorts of opportunities to learn about the effects of radiation exposure: extensive, even frivolous, use of x-rays, radium baths, etc., were quite popular back in the days before people knew better.

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