Ever since I was pregnant with Orien I have been a fanatic about the risks of nuclear power and weapons. From mining and milling through the disposal of nuclear materials the cycle is murderously dangerous for biological systems, like our fragile human bodies that fall prey to cancers and all sorts of health consequences from radioactive exposure.
When we met Fritz Pipkin, whose cancer is in remission, it all came roaring back at me. The energy crisis in the US has meant an upsurge of applications to build new nuclear power plants so stories like this are a dire warning to us.
The Monticello Mine emitted Radon 222 from 1940-1960. The mine was cleaned up in 2000. During the time it was operational the mine spewed 2600 pounds of particulates daily up its “roaster stack.” The emissions ate away screens, rusted chrome, burned clothing… Still, the kids in town swam in the warm tailings ponds and over 135,000 tons of fill from the mill were used in the town for mortar or backfill.
Two surveys have documented the cancer clusters (over 600 cases) but the victims of mill tailings exposure want preventive screening and health care and assistance for those diagnosed with cancers.
It is up to all of us to prioritize universal health care and a civilian renaissance that will include money for responsible super fund clean up. It is also up to all of us to prevent nuclear power and weapons from being developed.
No More Victims!