A nuclear problem
© Indian Country Today May 09, 2008. All Rights Reserved
Posted: May 09, 2008
by: Rob Capriccios
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given hope to a growing group of Natives from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in what’s being called a classic ”David vs. Goliath” battle for federal oversight involving a proposed expansion of a nearby uranium mine.
A three-judge panel from the commission ruled in late April that Native opponents to new developments on the Crow Butte Resources mine, located approximately 30 miles south of the reservation, raised valid arguments regarding groundwater contamination and health issues. The panel called for oral arguments on the matter, as well as a hearing on objections to the foreign ownership of the mine, which is owned by the Canadian firm Cameco Corp., the world’s largest uranium producer.
NRC’s whopping 130-page decision came as a result of Cameco’s desire to expand the mine, which opened in 1991 and produces approximately 800,000 pounds of yellowcake uranium each year. Crowe Butte officials have been petitioning to renew their existing license, and have filed notices of intention to develop two new uranium mines.
For several years, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe have monitored developments at the 2,100-acre Crow Butte site. Many have growing concerns that activities there are affecting the quality of water on their lands, perhaps even leading to higher cancer rates and increased health problems for children and elders.(more…)