Find the errors in this picture? The small company from whom we rent offices in Vancouver has recently shut down its uranium mine in Colorado and put thirty miners out of work. Yet the blogs today are full of news about planned mining of uranium on the moon, besides the Grand Canyon, in Alaska, and besides isolated South African villages. Previously we have seen stories of uranium mining in Ontario and almost every other place you can name.
Is the phenomenon of news articles and successful blogs on uranium mining rooted in a need for and the viability of uranium mining or is this just a passing journalistic fantasy based on a need to fill empty pages and computer screens?
I personally suspect the latter: it is so easy to attack uranium mining and nuclear power that any journalist lacking a coherent topic is drawn to the idiotic. There is also another possibility: any aspirant miner lacking a decent ore body is drawn to the “romance” and stock market possibilities of uranium mining.
Hopefully this plethora of proposed small uranium mines in really way-out places and the news reports thereabout is just another bubble that will soon burst. Hopefully we will soon get back to sober and considered reporting based on a rational assessment of the uranium that is truly needed.
It is no doubt “socialistic” in these high-fever times to suggest that we should rather nominate obvious uranium deposits most of which are currently in operation and most of which have vast reserves for the future as the responsible places to mine, and put an end to this silly rush to the moon, to the Grand Canyon, and Alaska.
This proposition is indeed socialistic because it removes from small entrepreneurs the right to go drilling anywhere the fancy takes them seeking to develop uranium deposits. But surely we should recognize that uranium mining is not a trivial activity to be undertaken lightly. Starting, operating, and in particular closing a uranium mine safely is not a trivial activity to be undertaken lightly. Deep experience and deeper pockets are needed to do it properly. Witness the cost to the US taxpayer to close the 24 sites that supplied uranium to the Manhattan Project—I refer to the UMTRA Project. True in those far distant days it was a mere one billion dollars and admittedly that was long before a billion was a mere billion.
I submit that we do need a North American “national” energy policy. I submit the next president should immediately sit down with the Prime Minister of Canada (also newly elected) and formulate a policy for North American energy independence. It can be done, for between Canada and the United States we have the wind, solar, hydro, coal, and uranium resouces needed to keep both countries prosperous and well-supplied with reliable energy.
And I believe it can be done without increasing environmental impact. We can, I opine, develop those resources already being operated to supply all the uranium, oil, coal, wind, etc. energy we need for the foreseeable future. There is no need to go disturbing the Grand Canyon, the school children of Alaska, and every isolated mesa in Colorado to do this. All that is needed is some inspired leadership. And a little honest talk about what is, what can be, what should be, and what will be. Gilbert and Sullivan would be proud of us.