On July 26, the African continent was rocked by news of a military coup in Niger, the fourth in West Africa since 2020. Cooperation between the US and Nigerien militaries has been suspended. The Niger government has withdrawn from its military agreements with France. The over 1,000 US troops in Niger have been restricted to their bases. France has evacuated 600 nationals from the country, while in a veiled threat, President Emmanuel Macron declared he “would not tolerate any attack against France and its interests.” Meanwhile, a rift has emerged in West Africa, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu on one side, and the military governments of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger on the other.
With immediate effect, the Republic of Niger, under the leadership of new president General Abdourahamane Tchiani, and supported by the people of the country, announced the suspension of the export of uranium and gold to France on Sunday. In parallel to the decision, protestors were surrounding the French Embassy in Niger calling for the end of French colonial practices repeating the slogan “Down with France!” and reaffirming their support to the coup leader, Tchiani. Wazobia Reporters, a Nigerien news website,reported one protestor proclaiming “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe.”
The US and France have threatened foreign intervention to re-install a pro-Western regime in Niger. Niger is a major producer of gold and uranium, the latter of which is needed for European nuclear energy. The country has significant oil reserves to which foreign corporations have wanted access. It also hosts large US drone bases. These Western threats follow coups led by nationalist, anti-colonial military officers in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, whose governments have warned that intervention would be considered an act of war, and could thus set off a regional conflict. West Africa is rich in natural resources. It is also very strategic for the United States and France.
Maybe it’s the good kind of uranium that turns you into Spider-Man or the Incredible Hulk and not the bad kind of uranium that turns you into Thyroid Cancer Man – one of the lesser-known Marvel superheroes. ProPublica has come out with an investigation entitled “The Cold War Legacy Lurking in U.S. Groundwater.” After World War II, the Cold War started between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. because the rich needed to stop the damn Communists from pushing their furry hats on everyone! There was a feverish need to build loads of nuclear weapons. To do that, the U.S. needed uranium, and its ruling class didn’t care how they got it. More than 50 uranium mines popped up across the Western U.S. But they didn’t just turn our weapons radioactive.
Hot Springs, South Dakota – A budding national reputation for healing mineral waters spawned this town of 3,400 in the early 1900s. Appreciative of that source, today’s area residents have fended off proposed radioactive uranium mining in the aquifers for more than four decades. This summer of 2022, they scored a breakthrough. They collected enough signatures to obtain a ballot measure that would declare the activity a “nuisance” in Fall River County. If the measure passes in the county’s Nov. 8 general election, then an interested party could take legal action to prevent or stop the nuisance, according to South Dakota law.
Churchrock – Larry King, president of Churchrock Chapter and a former uranium worker, doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in the melting Arctic of receiving federal benefits afforded sick Navajos who worked in the uranium industry before 1971. King isn’t the only one. Linda Evers of Milan, co-founder of the Post-’71 Uranium Workers Committee, and the group’s members also can forget about help with their medical bills unless Congress changes qualifications for the 1990 program. This weekend, the first day dawned in the countdown to July 10, 2022, when, according to statute, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Trust Fund “terminates,” along with the authority of the U.S. Attorney General to administer the law, according to the Department of Justice.
Window Rock - President Jonathan Nez has sent a letter stating the Nation wants radioactive mine waste disposed off of — and nowhere near — the Navajo Nation. The letter is in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s recent proposal to allow United Nuclear Corporation to transfer the waste from the Northeast Church Rock abandoned uranium mine on the Navajo Nation to the neighboring uranium mill tailings impoundment at the UNC Church Rock Mill Site. Comments are being taken until May 27. Nez’s letter to John R. Tappert, director of the ?Division of Rulemaking, Environmental, and Financial Support Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards ?for the NRC, states the Red Water Pond Road Community and many other Navajo communities have been severely impacted by the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.
Rapid City, SD – The first-ever No Uranium in Treaty Territory Summit is taking place on Oglala Sioux Tribal land to alert the local public about the current fights against mining companies and to share knowledge about the extensive history of uranium mining in the Black Hills. The summit has been organized by local activist groups Defend the Sacred Black Hills and Magpie Buffalo Organizing and will span two 8-hour days with over 20 presenters. The flyer for the summit described the process of radioactive decay, whereby unstable uranium atoms break down into more stable heavy metals and release high-energy particles in the process.
During the uranium days of the West, more than a dozen mills — all with processing capacities at least ten times larger than the one at White Canyon — sat on the banks of the Colorado River and its tributaries, including in Shiprock and Mexican Hat on the San Juan River; in Rifle and Grand Junction and Moab on the Colorado; and in Uravan along the San Miguel River, just above its confluence with the Dolores. They did not exactly dispose of their tailings in a responsible way. At the Durango mill the tailings were piled into a hill-sized mound just a stone’s throw from the Animas River. They weren’t covered or otherwise contained, so when it rained tailings simply washed into the river.
By Popular Resistance. Klee Benally is a Navajo (Diné) musician, artist, film producer and activist living in Flagstaff, Arizona. He has worked on numerous campaigns to protect sacred sites and other issues. For the past three years, he has coordinated the Clean Up the Mines Campaign, which is also part of the Haul No Coalition. There are more than 15,000 abandoned Uranium mines in the United States. They are left over from the Uranium Rush of the 1950s and 1960s. These mostly open-pit mines continue to emit radiation and toxic heavy metals that pollute the air, land and water and are causing severe health impacts such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and birth defects. Popular Resistance has worked with Klee Benally since before the founding to create, launch and maintain the Clean Up The Mines campaign.
WASHINGTON— The Trump administration wants to roll back a 20-year ban to allow uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, according to a Forest Service report formally released today. Under today’s recommendations the Interior Department would revise an Obama-era mining ban that sought to protect tribal resources and drinking water, as well as safeguard critical wildlife corridors and habitat threatened by uranium contamination. “This appalling recommendation threatens to destroy one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful regions to give free handouts to the mining industry,”
By John Ahni Schertow and Garet Bleir for InterContinental Cry. In 2012, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a twenty-year ban on mining surrounding the Grand Canyon National Park. It was one of the biggest wins for the environment that year. After all, 10,000 uranium mining claims threatened to turn this iconic natural landscape into a radioactive wasteland. The moratorium put an end to all that -- at least for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, our celebration of the historic decision had consequences. It drowned out two pressing facts that the media urgently needed to focus on: there were at least four old uranium mines near the Grand Canyon that could be reopened despite the moratorium; and there were still hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo (Diné) land that needed remediation.
By Carletta Tilousi for The Guardian - The Havasupai – “people of the blue-green waters” – live in Supai Village, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Today our lives and water are being threatened by international uranium mining companies because the US government and its 1872 mining law permit uranium mining on federal lands that surround the Grand Canyon. In 1986, the Kaibab national forest authorized a Canadian-based uranium company to open Canyon mine, a uranium mine near the south rim of Grand Canyon national park. The Havasupai tribe challenged the decision but lost in the ninth circuit court of appeals. Miners were just starting to drill Canyon mine’s shaft in 1991 when falling uranium prices caused the company to shut it down for more than two decades. Havasupai ancestors share stories of the sacredness of the Grand Canyon and all the mountains that surround it. They have instructed us to protect the waters and the mountains from any environmental contamination. That’s why we stand firm against any uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region. As uranium prices began to rise again in 2007, the uranium company reopened three closed mines on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, north of the Grand Canyon.
By the Intermountain West Uranium Summit. ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- Intermountain West Uranium Summit participants are inviting affinity groups everywhere to take part on July 15-16 in our first Cross-Border AntiNuclear Action (CBAN), commemorating the anniversary of the largest radioactive accident in U.S. history and the explosion of the first atomic bomb. Members are holding events in our locales to raise awareness that the entire nuclear industry, from cradle to grave, is one deadly chain. Beginning with extraction of uranium, proceeding to refinement of yellow cake, through transportation on public routes, operation of nuclear power plants, and weapons manufacture, to waste disposal issues, the nuclear process releases lethal radiation to air, land and water. It history is fraught with accidents, illness and threats to life on earth. It must stop before it kills more humans and other living things.
By Vic Bishop for Waking Times - Sad but true, the dramatic opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota failed to achieve the result of stopping corporate and political powers from proceeding with the pipeline. Less than six months after the camp’s abandonment, the pipeline is functional and leaks are already being reported. Another, less publicized, struggle has been taking place for years around the area of the Grand Canyon, where indigenous rights and environmental activists have been seeking a ban on uranium mining in this part of America’s breathtaking landscape. Beginning in the 1950’s when a rush to draw uranium for the first generation of nuclear weapons brought mining operations to this region, opponents recently lost a bid to prohibit the mining and processing of radioactive materials near the iconic Grand Canyon. The environmental impact of uranium mining and processing is devastating, as radioactive contamination is common, affecting people as well as wildlife, springs, aquifers, and sacred sites.