As part of our #NuclearIsDirty roll-out series, NIRS is hosting a webinar on a vast but little-known environmental justice problem: abandoned uranium mines, or AUMs. There are 15,000 abandoned mines throughout the Midwest and Western U.S., disproportionately on or near First Nations communities and their drinking water supplies.
On Friday's webinar, we will hear from indigenous activists about the toxic wastes of uranium mining, the environmental justice and public health impacts, and their efforts to remediate these sites and protect their communities:
Klee Benally, Diné - Clean Up the Mines organizer
Charmaine White Face, Lakota - Defenders of the Black Hills
Petuuche Gilbert, Acoma - Laguna and Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment
Last week, we featured a briefing on the Church Rock mill tailings disaster, the largest single radiological release in U.S. history. Listen to or share the recording here:
But Church Rock was not an "accident" because it is just the tip of the dirty, radioactive iceberg. Uranium extraction is an inherently dangerous and destructive industry, creating vast amounts of radioactive and toxic waste before a single fuel rod ever goes into a reactor.
First Nations communities in the rural Midwest and Western US have habitually been targeted for uranium and other dirty mining and resource extraction. In some communities, ambient radioactivity is as high or higher than in Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones. Communities are fighting back. Navajo have won and defended a ban on uranium mining on their territory for over 10 years. And now Diné, Lakota, Acoma, and other First Nations activists are leading the Clean Up the Mines campaign. The goal: to remediate the 15,000 abandoned uranium mines and protect communities and their water.
#NuclearIsDirty ... From the Start! In the first "episode" of the rollout series we are focusing on the roots of nuclear power, the problems that are the very foundation of the nuclear industry:
- Uranium mining and the mountains of waste generated just to produce nuclear fuel.
- Environmental justice, and the targeting of vulnerable communities throughout the fuel chain.
- The dangers of radiation exposure, and its disparate impacts on women and girls...