caught in the act

Why is this man filming me?

What about his buddy in the Ranger with the viewfinder glued to his eye?

Several men with digital recorders and hard hats took part in a digitized stand-off Saturday as a group of about 20 uranium-curious amateur photographers toured mining operations outside Kingsville sans invitation.

Admittedly, there was a lot of sensitive and expensive equipment and unmarked hoses lying around.

Who was to know what our intentions were?

None in this group are particularly impressed with the industry boreholing its way through the South Texas scrub once more.

la times graphic

But it wasn’t like no one was expecting us. The day before, those attending this informative weekend workshop on uranium mining had been threatened by the Kleberg Sheriff’s office with arrest. Problem is: this land belongs to someone (or at least one-seventy-second of it does), and they’re on our side.

So, where contaminated groundwater now flows backward (as in, back toward Kingsville, population 24,400, instead of southeast into the Gulf), Uranium Resources Inc. outfitted their crew with cameras to record the meanderings of the passers-through.

Our host tells of of this 10,000 gallon spill and that contaminated pasture. Still, at least we’re not the Grand Canyon. Check the U mining claims around the great gorge!

===

Fort Worth Startlegram did a nuke package this past week.

They wrote of pros and not-so-pros:

Pros

Unlike coal and gas-fired plants, nuclear plants create no harmful greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

Nuclear power plants provide so-called baseload generation — that is, nuclear plants can continue running around the clock and provide a stable source of power.

Nuclear fuel is relatively cheap.

Cons

Highly radioactive byproducts from nuclear reactors can remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. There is a move afoot to create a nuclear waste dump in the Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, although that project remains stymied in Congress. Critics warn of a great potential risk when transporting dangerous radioactive waste to the site.

Nuclear construction is expensive and, critics say, so far impractical without taxpayer help.

Uranium mining can harm the environment and poses a potential public health risk.

While detractors and protractors (tools?) could expand either side of this list, I would have rather seen a simple sentence given to the magma pockets at Yucca. As is, it suggests we have a solution held up by italicized politics rather than scientific concerns.

Common sensers know that politics greases wheels, even when those wheels are squarely chiseled; science stalls them with an informed declaration of their obvious squareness. Sometimes even that is not enough.

Which is sort of my long-winded way of suggesting that if you find the idea of radioactive wastewater flushing its way across Texas objectionable, perhaps it’s time to consider this coming week’s meeting on Waste Control Specialists’ application (pdf), a small matter that could turn the Panhandle into the nation’s next radwaste dump.

THE CLOSER: On this lovely Sunday, I’d like you (and anyone else you may know) to consider the following possibility, as expressed at last Thursday’s anti-war demonstration in downtown San Antonio.

It doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B…

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