Fracking for Uranium to start in U.S. — We’re “doing the environment a favor”

Published: February 5th, 2013 at 12:15 am ET


Title: Energy’s Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium
Source: Forbes
Author: Christopher Helman
Date: Jan. 23, 2013

Energy’s Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium […]

UEC’s process doesn’t take place 2 miles down. Rather, it’s dissolving uranium from just 400 feet to 800 feet down–not only from the same depths as groundwater but from the very same layers of porous rock that hold it. “By design it’s much worse than fracking,” says Houston attorney Jim Blackburn, who is suing UEC on behalf of residents near the company’s new project in Goliad, Tex. “This is intentional contamination of a water aquifer liberating not only uranium but other elements that were bound up with the sand. We know this process will contaminate groundwater; that’s the whole point of it.”

UEC argues that it is doing the environment a favor. “We’re taking out a radioactive source from the aquifer that won’t be there for future generations,” says Harry Anthony, UEC’s chief operating officer.

[…] for Blackburn, and the people he represents, the idea of a tiny company gambling a region’s groundwater on a market that may never appear seems nothing short of insane. “There’s no source of water here other than groundwater,” says Blackburn. “How can you mine inside a drinking water aquifer?”

And yet it is happening. Last month UEC received the last permit it needed: an aquifer exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency.  […]

See also: [intlink id=”fracking-natural-gas-nuclear-bombs-radioactive-engineer-awesome-drilling-be-allowed-half-mile-blast-site-video-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 5th, 2013 at 12:15 am ET


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34 comments to Fracking for Uranium to start in U.S. — We’re “doing the environment a favor”

  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    What could possibly go wrong?

    "…UEC bores under ranchland into layers of highly porous rock that not only contain uranium ore but also hold precious groundwater. Then it injects oxygenated water down into the sand to dissolve out the uranium. The resulting solution is slurped out with pumps, then processed and dried at the company’s Hobson plant…"

    Slurped out? I'm sure that takes care of the rest of the witches brew of carcinogenic and genotoxic heavy metal contaminants flushed into the aquifer. And I'm sure all their process water is crystal clear before being disposed of back into the aquifer.

    Hey – they're doing the environment a *favor*.


      Good Lord, how much more can all of us take? This is so far out of control, and the so-called 'Agencies' so corrupted, that life doesn't stand much of a chance.

      Drill Baby, Drill!


        "A 2009 study of Texas in situ mines by the U.S. Geological Survey determined that the groundwater around uranium deposits is naturally high in junk like arsenic, cadmium, lead, selenium, radium and, of course, uranium. Though levels of some pollutants ended up lower after mining and remediation efforts, the USGS found no instance in which there wasn’t more selenium and uranium in the water than before mining.

        An investigation of 76 in situ mining sites by geoscientist Bruce Darling done on behalf of locals in Goliad County concluded that producers’ inability to sufficiently reduce concentrations of uranium (and other pollutants) “calls into question the operators’ understanding of the geochemistry of the hydrogeologic systems that they are exploiting.” A study of in situ leaching for the Natural Resources Defense Council by University of Colorado hydrogeologist Roseanna Neupauer found that “contaminants will remain in the aquifer after all efforts at restoration and will migrate through the aquifer into the future.”

        Source article Above, (Page 2)

        • Mack Mack

          —> Here's a Reminder to everyone that nuclear energy only provides 8.26% of U.S. energy usage.

          —> Uranium is the nuclear fuel.

          Fracking for uranium, mining for uranium, destroys land and causes cancers.

          —> "More than 200 pounds of tailings are produced for each pound of uranium" that's mined.

          Tailings = radon

          Radon = lung cancer

          —> "How does the fracking process affect drinking water quality? "

          "Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid. Many of these have the potential to be harmful to humans and wildlife, a few of which are: mercury, benzene, lead, and uranium."

          "Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used for each fracking. After the process, the pressure of the rock formation causes the fluid to return to the surface, though only 30-50% of it is recovered. That makes for 12,000 to 20,000 gallons of chemicals left in the ground."

          • or-well

            8.26%. How often have we read the oft-repeated spin of 20%?
            (or the oft-repeated, absurd, "up to 30%" for Japan?)
            Simple conservation. An hour less of TV per day?

            One problem comes, not on a national level, but locally.
            (same in Japan)

            Are there not Cities that are dependent on NPPs for a greater percentage of their electricity?

            Could eliminating NPPs be managed by re-allocating the "juice" in the grid, if surplus was available from conservation?

            Anyone familiar with how that works?

            (I don't mean burning more coal or gas in new power plants)

          • Thad

            Don't know who decided to call / compare this procedure to fracking. The company thinking fracking had wide approval in Texas or enviromentalists hanging a bad name on it.
            No hydraulic fracking involved— It is on situ solution mining by a leaching process– Hydrogen peroxide is pumped into the aquifier dissolving the yellow cake then suctioned back out– they call the H2O2 oxygenated water– that sounds more benign. And most people thing of the 3% bathroom antiseptic- not knowing at higher concentration a violent oxidizer- used in rocket fuel for the X-15.
            The volumes and contaminate listed above is for oil/gas fracking so mot the case in the leaching process.
            BUT still stupod is as stupod does– we need to get away from nuclear energy and we don't need any more bombs—

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      I spoke to a Texan who is very familiar with the situation. It's been going on for some time.

      Everyone involved knows how bad this is. The people affected by the polluted drinking water aquifer have basically been told, 'Leave or die'. There is no money for relocation, so if the locals don't want to stay, they have to move on their own dime. The State and Feds don't give a damn about them, it's all about getting the uranium out.

      This is our future. I pray none of you live on, or near, a lethal recoverable resource, because you will have no chance of stopping its' extraction.

  • kez

    Hey it's Texas … it's not so much "drill baby drill" …

    It is and always has been "deregulate baby deregulate."

  • We are doing the environment a favor by eliminating all the humans.


      CB, so you think that if there are no intelligent human beings to actually percieve the life and beauty all around us, then the world would be more appreciated?

      By whom?

      I have never understood the self-annihilation aspect of the so-called 'Green Movement'.

      Without people, there would be no debate. Without people, there would be no beauty…

      Insanity. Not as bad as the people who want to control and destroy all other life on earth for their own selfish purposes…but sure seems to help their 'Prince Phillip Agenda'.


        when it came to humans, the ability to intellectualize ones perceptions does not necessarily translate into anything viable. Using differing 'observation platforms', ongoing studies have concluded that humans – are – a 'diseased' species.

        From the moment they were observed gleefully torturing their own, to the kicking of 55-gallon drums of poison into streams, it was concluded they were a self destructive species; not just on this world, but potentially, any other(s) they may have made it too.

        Other than their own actions, there will be no – further – intervention on their behalf. Every opportunity was afforded them.

        "Without people, there would be no beauty…" is but another example of human arrogance. Such a self-righteous species has earned its ignominious fate…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    It it's way this subject.
    The human race is mentally deficient..and dangerous in the position it holds on Earth.
    As time hovers dangerously..near 'midnight'…in so many aspects.
    Humanity is going to fail to look up.

    It's rather pathetic, watching humanity fall victims to the hubris and lethal behaviors..
    Humanity is evidently too ignorant to understand…it's place or position…in the 'Big Picture'
    Humanity acts as if the earth is just a theater to act out the wants of Man.

    It is time for the 'scene de faire".
    Humanity went to intermission.

    This falls away..just like our dreams..of a hopeful and healthy future for those we love.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    PS..For me contemplating the death of Earth..brings a flash of a myriad of many it is said happens before one's own death.

    The whispering of the pines…the endless blue skies..
    Foam breaking on the seashore..stars in the desert sky.
    Green mountains..flowing rivers..the soft hand of a child.

  • irhologram

    Mack. You're "it" here baby. As courage to Change rises, keep REMINDiNG. WE DIDN'T EVEV NEED THIS. Germany now has SURPLUS in making that choice. 8.26% of U.S. usage? ANYONE. An cut back that much and not even be that inconvenienced. BUT FIRST we must know what we're dealing with. How can people be responsible ip without information LINKED to initiative?

  • irhologram

    Oh, the iPad, again., correcting me. Anyone can, it should have read. And I don't know where the "ip" in the next sentence came from. I suggest we stop waxing poetic and begin to understand that what has already been done to correct the situation is BACKFIRING and IMO those remediation choices were made with foreknowledge, as was this initial assault on geological integrity. Now DO what you may may with that…but it's time for a response from those of us who really loved beauty, family, and the pursuit of happiness. I can hardly believe the CRAP that has been thrown in the faces of people here, who simply want a SETTLEMENT. WHO realistically do you think, will give you that? The people who set you up?

  • irhologram

    And so, if you don't get a slow death……….now on the docket…is a fast death, like the disaster film box office pay dirt.. Some here think we can still noodle our way out. Some think, if we're dead "spores, " lets just dry up. Some think they are too d-dumb they can't add 2+2. Nice try. We all know you can.

  • Mack Mack

    Fracking, mining

    Uranium mining around the Grand Canyon

    "Appeals court upholds reopening of uranium mine near Grand Canyon"

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      "Last month UEC received the last permit it needed: an aquifer exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency."

      A drinking water aquifer exemption, from the EPA, for radioactive uranium fracking.

      The only thing of economic value in the US anymore is resource extraction – oil, gas and minerals. The people resource is dead, as manufacturing as a significant source of revenue/employment is gone. Farming is belly up, with persistent drought, output being distilled for fuel rather than eaten, and the radiation levels soon to make US food products lethal. We as a nation of citizens are finished. We only exist now to assist with the extraction of resources, and hell to pay if we are in the way.

      It was a Democratic EPA that condemned those South Texans to a slow, cancerous death, while a Republican former Secretary of Energy on the company board lies about 'mining safety'. The US has some of the most dangerous mines of any industrialized country:

      Our leaders, of all political parties, have condemned the world to omnicide.

      And there is no turning back.

      • Pierpont

        The USEPA has been a disaster almost from the git-go. It has been run by one freakin' crony of environmental saboteurs after another. Witness the John Wheeler/Alan Rubin and their "Toxic Sewage Sludge is Good for You" campaign. Witness the EPA roll-over on gas fracking. And now fracking ground water in drought areas to dissolve uranium.

        The USEPA is the enemy, doesn't matter what party is in power. Clinton's Carol Browner was just a polluted as Nixon's William Ruckelshaus. Money corrupts. EPA has been roundly criticized for the way it directs its scientists to publish only the data the current administration approves. The Union for Concerned Scientists blasted the EPA for this a few years ago.

        I hate to have this 'tude, but I've seen too many EPA decisions that can only be explained by corruption. I was a gutter grunt with the OhioEPA when it was first set up, and worked with USEPA gutter grunts pulling samples from the chemical swamp called NE Ohio. There was so much optimism and enthusiasm back then, and eventually the Cuyahoga River even stopped catching on fire. But when USEPA honchos like Wheeler and Rubin began threatening their own conscientious scientists and outspoken activists, the Agency took a dive from which it has never recovered.


        That Forbes article is a beautiful piece of writing by Christopher Helman, BTW.

        • Thad

          Every state has a state EPA which should be more attuned to the wants and needs of the people in that state. States can and in a few cases have set higher standards than the feds EPA. The only restriction is state EPA can not set lesser standards. So while many expect the feds to protect them or curse the feds for not they could elect/ cause they own state to take care —

          • Pierpont

            That's a good point, and I was fortunate to be a part of a few busts at the state level.

            While environmental protection has been preempted by the feds, you are right, the states are generally allowed to write more stringent regulations. But what a mess that often is. I mean look at Texas, it's the freakin' railroad commission that enforces fracking regs, and you read about the nightmares of people trying to deal with those crooks.

            And most of the research upon which state and fed regs are based is done by USEPA scientists or academics funded by EPA. But like I say, the EPA is censoring and threatening scientists up who don't publish the data industry wants published. So if the published data are crooked then the regs will be crooked and it doesn't matter who enforces them.

  • Sol Man

    Self-hate so great; death wish.
    Corporations' mandate for profit over all.

  • PurpleRain PurpleRain

    When don't any crazy folks with all their assault weapons ever take out the truly INSANE greed-driven owners of these death-and-poison industries?

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      What's better, PurpleRain? Kill them quick, or let them die slowly and painfully from radiation poisoning, watching their children die from the suffering they're responsible for? They're all affected just like we are.

      We don't need guns for them. Just sit back and watch. There is no escape for them at all. We'll get to see it in living color.