Startling Saturday


Beneath the murky green waters on the north end of Lake Powell, entombed within the tons of silt that have been carried down the Colorado River over the years, lies a 26,000-ton pile of un-remediated uranium mill tailings. It’s just one polonium-, bismuth-, thorium-, and radium-tainted reminder of the way the uranium industry, enabled by the federal government, ravaged the West and its people for decades.

In 1949, the Vanadium Corporation of America built a small mill at the confluence of White Canyon and the Colorado River to process uranium ore from the nearby Happy Jack Mine, located upstream in the White Canyon drainage (and just within the Obama-drawn Bears Ears National Monument boundaries). For the next four years, the mill went through about 20 tons of ore per day, crushing and grinding it up, then treating it with sulfuric acid, tributyl phosphate and other nastiness. One ton of ore yielded about five or six pounds of uranium, meaning that each day some 39,900 pounds of tailings were piled up outside the mill on the banks of the river.

In 1953 the mill was closed down, and the tailings left where they sat, uncovered, as was the practice of the day. Ten years later, water began backing up behind the newly built Glen Canyon Dam; federal officials decided just to let the reservoir’s waters inundate the tailings. There they remain today.


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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15 Responses to Startling Saturday

  1. Den says:

    It’s a shark feeding frenzy thanks to Fire and Fury, reputations blowing up everywhere, tsk, tsk, tsk.


  2. David B. Benson says:

    South for 24 minutes. Where am I?


    • David B. Benson says:

      Home north along the Grand Avenue Greenway to the College Hill Climb and Maple Street Extension was slow because of slightly icy conditions. Round trip was 52 minutes.

      Day 7: 376+52=428 minutes. Quite good for a winter week.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Gail Collins is almost always amusing.


  4. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Your post was sure depressing. A horror story. That’s just one area where they poisoned our country and us. Chemicals everywhere all these decades, almost every kid born here now has some kind of issue. They all have one of these if not a few others: asthma, ADHD, autism, allergies. Lots of stomach problems with young kids, not certain what link there might be there. Maybe allergy-caused.


  5. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Still around zero, supposed to go up about 30 degrees the next couple days. We could use a warm-up.

    Phone pulled the same trick today, working this morning and on, when I went to pick it up around 4:30 it was dead again. Maybe it IS a loose wire outside like Doc suggested. I was even thinking the extreme cold killed the line, and as the day warmed up the wire worked. Late afternoon, getting colder, out it goes again. Maybe it needs a new wire. We’ve lived her almost 40 years and cold weather never stopped the phone from working.


    • David B. Benson says:

      The change in the temperature could eventually loosen the plug just enough to give that temperature dependent behavior. The connector in the junction box is obvious. Just push it in, not hard.


      • Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

        I’ll go look at it in the morning when the phone is still dead. The box we have on the back of the house isn’t our original, it’s fairly new. Heck, it could be 10 years old I’d think it was fairly new.


        • David B. Benson says:

          Newness isn’t a factor. The choice of materials is. I’m suggesting that the design engineer did not do his job very well.


  6. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Jill and I went to a bridal shop so she could try dresses on, see what style she likes, get an idea of what to look for. She tried on 4, didn’t like any of them.

    Since the bridal shop was in the same plaza where Jill’s favorite sushi place is, we were forced to go there for lunch. She parked the car halfway between the two places and we walked to Maru from the bridal shop. There’s a special drink that we get every time we go there. A waitress from a couple years ago invented it. She liked to invent new drinks and get the management to push them, put them on the menu. It’s in a tall martini glass, is a darkish fruity color with a stick with a couple raspberries on it. We always have two of them. It’s kind of sweet, which is why I like it, but I couldn’t tell you what the ingredients are. Jill knows. She paid attention unlike me.


  7. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    “Fire and Fury” was like a gift. I love all the gossipy part and the storm it caused, and watching Trump who can’t control himself.

    It’s everything we already know, and if we didn’t know something in that book we think it’s probably true.

    In early morning tweets Saturday, Trump wrote that throughout his life, his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.”

    “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!” he added.


  8. Den says:

    Carol, the phone company will fix it be patient, if the problem is in your house they will tell you and you can deal with it then. They have junction boxes everywhere and connections on the poles to check up to the box on your house.

    A good way to check your phone wires in the house, providing the phone is working that is, is to press 5 and listen for static in the receiver while wiggling the phone wire where it plugs into the wall and at the phone base, any static, replace the cord, that would eliminate internal cord issues, then it’s on the phone co to fix the box.


  9. Den says:

    Yes Peter, our little secret…


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