Colorado has uranium on the brain these days.
An environmental engineer and lecturer brought in by conservationists told an audience in Fort Collins Tuesday they should be concerned about the deterioration of their water quality if a proposed uranium mine near Nunn goes forward, according to the Greeley Tribune.
“If I was living in this area, I would certainly have concerns about groundwater,” said Dr. Gavin Mudd, an assistant lecturer at Monash University in Clayton, Australia. “Knowing the extent of problems they’ve had at mines in Wyoming and Texas, for example, I would certainly be concerned about protecting my groundwater quality.”
An executive for Denver-based Powertech Uranium Corp. said he wouldn’t have a problem living next the mine, which would use in-situ leach mining.
“I would be very happy to live next to one of those things,” Powertech President and CEO Richard Clement told the paper. “Believe me, if I could move the project next to my house in New Mexico I would be more than happy to live there. I’ve been around these projects 30 some-odd years. There are no concerns.”
Mountain communities in Southwest Colorado, meanwhile, are heatedly debating the benefits and risks of a mill that would process uranium in Montrose County.
Uranium mining claims are on the rise around the state and nation as nuclear power continues to be touted as a renewable energy source that can dramatically reduce carbon emissions and global warming. But stopping mining claims near national parks and proposed wilderness areas, including the Grand Canyon, where President Barack Obama’s family vacationed over the weekend, has become a rallying cry for environmentalists.
Still, numerous politicians, including some former and current Democratic lawmakers from Colorado, are calling for more recognition of nuclear power and traditional energy sources such as natural gas in pending climate change legislation.