by Chris Shuey, MPH.
Uranium Impact Assessment Program Director
Southwest Research and Information Center
This press release from the U.S. NRC, dated March 16, 2011, says that NRC believes it is “appropriate” for all Americans living within 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) of the Fukushima plants to evacuate. Unless there’s new recommendations from the Japanese government, I believe this is a greater evacuation distance than previously announced.
The suggested evacuation distance is based on “protective action recommendations” that are triggered when whole body radiation doses exceed 1 rem (10 milliSieverts) and doses to the thyroid exceed 5 rem (50 mSv), NRC said. The agency cited “[a]ttached…computer calculations” to support the recommendations, but there were no attachments to the press release.
You’ll note that NRC says background radiation from all natural and human-made sources is 620 millirems per year (0.62 rem/yr). On its web site, the NRC says about half of this background is from natural sources and the other half is from human-made sources, including medical uses of radioactive materials. This is the highest “background” radiation dose I have ever heard cited by a regulatory agency.
03/17/2011 • Back to top
“Paul Robinson, research director for the Southwest Resource Information Center, an Albuquerque conservation group, said he’s skeptical that the uranium industry will strike it big in New Mexico anytime soon… ‘There is almost no growth in the U.S. uranium production through 2030,’ he said. ‘The buzz about uranium production is all marketing, not demand.’
‘The trend has more to do with rounding up investors,’ Jantz said. ‘Irrespective of the industry’s press releases, conventional mining at least has a real problem in that there’s only one mill in the entire U.S. to deal with this stuff. That’s the White Mesa mill in Blanding (Utah).’” NewsWest.net
03/17/2011 • Back to top
Governor Susana Martinez’s first Executive Order, adopted on January 1st, moments after she was sworn in, called for the formation of the “Small Business-Friendly Task Force” to review the states existing rules and regulations in order to determine if the “rescinding or revision of which could significantly enhance the business environment in New Mexico through economic development and employment growth.” (Read full Executive Order)
The folks at Clearly New Mexico where curious about what exactly the Task Force was up to since January and had to file an open records request with the state to find out who is on the task force and what it was meeting about. One of the records they received was an email with the subject: “Governor’s Mid Point Small Business Task Force Report.” (See SBF Task Force Mid Point Report in PDF format)
The Mid Point Report states clearly that one of the Task Force’s main tasks is to gut environmental protections. Visit Clearly New Mexico to find out more.
03/15/2011 • Back to top
“A bill that would bar the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board from making any greenhouse gas rules that are more stringent than federal law is making its way through Senate committees… ‘Most of us know that this bill is a knee-jerk reaction that is over-the-top and ineffective,’ Frederick said.” Clearly New Mexico
03/09/2011 • Back to top
by Eric Jantz, Staff Attorney
“Clean water is scarcer than ever before. Economic and settlement policies over the last century have encouraged water consumption as if it were an infinite resource. It’s not. Global climate change is causing water resources to diminish. Contamination threats from mining, oil and gas development, and other industrial projects loom large. Although as a society we’ve gained an enormous amount of information suggesting that our policies of the past are jeopardizing future generations’ clean water supplies, we haven’t gained the wisdom to act accordingly.” New Mexico Wilderness Alliance
03/07/2011 • Back to top
Staff Attorney Eric Jantz will be speaking tomorrow on the “Legacy and the Latest Uranium ‘Boom’– The Renewed Fight to Protect People and Water” panel of the Public Interest Environment Law Conference.
Rising uranium prices have spawned a new round of uranium speculation centered in the West. This new “boom” threatens many of the communities and landscapes where past mining resulted in severe public health and environmental impacts. Panelists will discuss current efforts to hold the mining industry and government accountable for impacts from past mining, current efforts to resist and change destructive policies, and work aimed to generate energy and income that does not also destroy water, air, and sacred places.
03/04/2011 • Back to top