From the event, “Youth Speak in Defense of the Canyon”:

Four Corners to Fukushima series:

** Check out this video about the mine, ecosystems at the Grand Canyon, and Red Butte ***

The U.S. Forest Service is allowing Energy Fuels, Inc., to excavate the Canyon Mine this fall without first updating the 26-year-old Environmental Impact Statement for the uranium mine, located due south of Grand Canyon National Park on the Kaibab National Forest.

There is a 20-year moratorium on new mines on one million acres surrounding Grand Canyon, but the Canyon Mine is being considered a “valid existing right” that preceded the mining ban. It is, therefore, being allowed to operate during the moratorium.


Human health impacts:

– Uranium mining results in radiological and chemical toxicity.
– Respiratory cancers are widespread amongst communities exposed to uranium mining.
– Uranium compounds can be deposited in the lungs for long periods [several months to years].
– Compounds ingested through contaminated substances can cause damage to kidney cells, and could possibly result in acute kidney failure or death, depending on on intake level and the individual’s capacity.
– Consumption of contaminated groundwater has strong correlation with colorectal, breast, kidney, prostate, and total cancer.
– Radon exposure interferes with the gene pool, resulting in miscarriage, genetic defects, and lowered fertility.
– Uranium is an endocrine disruptor.
– Ingestion of contaminated substances can lead to heavy metals poisoning, which could cause neurologic or endocrine damage.
– Children are 20% more sensitive to radioactivity because their cells are actively dividing.

Environmental impacts:

– A radioactive element, radon, is released in the atmosphere during the process of uranium mining. After several days, it turns into polonium 218, which is highly dangerous with no biological role. Through rain, it contaminates vegetation, and consequentially, the animals eating the vegetation.
– When uranium is harvested, it is ground into a fine powder. Uranium ore contains arsenic as well. The powder can leach into the water table, which is more probable depending on location of water source to mining site.
– Once groundwater is contaminated from uranium mine tailings, it is impossible to undo the damage.
– Surface mines can generate up to 40 tonnes of waste rock for every tonne of uranium ore produced, while underground mines produce about one tonne of waste rock per tonne of ore


“Uranium Health Effects: A discussion of chemical and radiological health effects associated with exposure to uranium and its compounds” – http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/guide/ucompound/health/index.cfm

“Groundwater uranium and cancer incidence in South Carolina” – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21080052

“Cancer, genetic defects are uranium’s legacy An interview with Dr. David Maxwell ” – http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/fall08legacy.html

“Polonium: Biological Role and Toxicity” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polonium_218#Biological_role_and_toxicity

“Pembina Institute: Uranium Mining: Nuclear Power’s Dirty Secret”, May 2007


Resolution 2245, a resolution declaring Flagstaff, AZ a nuclear-free zone.


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