June 15th, 2012
For the last several years a number of companies and politicians have expressed interest in getting more actively involved in Wyoming’s Uranium industry. Currently a task force of lawmakers is studying nuclear energy production and companies are testing the waters before they jump into the marketplace. The upside is that Wyoming has a lot of Uranium, the downside is cost and regulations. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.
Everyone is predicting a uranium boom internationally and Wyoming has the largest deposits in the U.S. The state has a legacy of uranium mining, as well. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov looks at the boom and its history.
When the Cold War caused a uranium boom in the 1950s, soil and water in the state suffered contamination. Reclamation has improved the landscape, and regulation is catching up with the industry but it’s not perfect yet. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.
The uranium industry may have a long way to go in earning back the public’s trust, especially on the Wind River Reservation. In 2010, the Department of Energy released well monitoring data from the Wind River Reservation. What they found was that uranium levels in a number of their wells had spiked up to 100 times the legal limit. In early May the Department of Energy released tap test results showing uranium levels nearly twice the legal limit, but later said the results were anomalies. It’s generally believed these problems stem from nearly 1.8 million cubic yards of radioactive waste left behind by the Susquehanna Western uranium mill that operated from 1958 to 1963. After a nearly year-long investigation, Wyoming Public Radio's Tristan Ahtone brings us this story on how the Susquehanna Western uranium mill got on the reservation, and the people it's still affecting.