Almost all of the abandoned uranium mines in this country, including the Cameron Mine that Goodtimes references, were operated during World War II and the Cold War to supply the raw material for our weapons programs; commercial nuclear power was non-existent or in its infancy at the time.
As to the “$1.5 billion taxpayers have paid out to 23,408 former uranium miners who weren’t apprised of the dangers of mining uranium and perished prematurely to cancer and related illnesses,” if Goodtimes had looked at the application form, available online (Radiation Exposure Compensation Program – Uranium Mine Employee Claim Form), he would have seen in Part 8, Employment History, the key question for eligibility: “Was the person who became ill employed in any other kind of work in the uranium industry between 1942 and 1972, besides mining?”
Obviously our wartime industry should have been more careful with the mines and miners, but in wartime life is different than when we are at peace. We are still paying the cost of those wars in many ways, including cleaning up those old mines and compensating the miners, but please don’t place the price on today’s nuclear generation. Current mines and miners are subject to much stricter regulation and monitoring than in the past.
Goodtimes once again brings up Chernobyl without mentioning that unlike ours, the reactor there had no massive containment to retain fission products. Technically it is a completely different type of reactor than is used for commercial generation here. The Russian design used a combustible graphite moderator; our reactors use very non-combustible water as moderator.
And, let me state once again that I am not against renewable energy supplies. Let’s just view all energy sources with their warts as well as beauty marks.