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Mount Rushmore Monument, Black Hills, South Dakota. Photo by Dean Franklin via wikimedia.
There are at least 3,272 Abandoned Open Pit Uranium Mines and Prospects in the Northern Great Plains-Black Hills, the Territory of the Great Sioux Nation. There are 397 in Montana, 2,103 in Wyoming, 113 in North Dakota, 272 in South Dakota, and 387 in Colorado. Furthermore, “More than 4,000 exploratory holes, some large enough for a man to fall into, are found in the southwestern Black Hills with an additional 3,000 holes just 10 miles west of the town of Belle Fourche, SD. These holes go to depths of 600 feet…Hundreds of more exploratory holes for uranium are being bored in Wyoming and South Dakota with those states’ approval.” (www.defendblackhills.org) Tourist attraction Mount Rushmore is in this area. The Native Americans of the Northern Great Plains have higher than US national average cancer rates, but especially of lung cancer.
See nine minute video below:
“America’s Secret Chernobyl‘
Uranium Mining and Nuclear Pollution
in the Upper Midwestern United States
1. World War II ended with the nuclear bomb and introduced the use of nuclear energy for the production of electricity which caused the price of uranium to rise. Uranium mining in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota began in the middle of the 1960s. As the economy of the Northern Great Plains states depends primarily on agriculture, when uranium was discovered in the region, many get-rich-quick schemes were adopted. Not only were large mining companies pushing off the tops of bluffs and buttes, but small individual ranchers were also digging in their pastures for the radioactive metal. Mining occurred on both public and private land, although the Great Sioux Nation still maintains a claim to the area through the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868, the March 3rd Act of 1871, Article VI of the US Constitution, and the 1980 Supreme Court decision on the Black Hills. The Great Sioux Nation was never consulted on any of this.” The article continues here: http://www.defendblackhills.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=113&Itemid=3 More information is at http://www.defendblackhills.org
See more here: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/02/americas-chernobyl-results-uranium-mining-great-plains-151091
Our Postscript: The USA actually has multiple competitors for “America’s Secret Chernobyl”, it seems. These old uranium mines may or may not be the worst from the vantage of radiation, we don’t know. Regardless, they are highly dangerous, polluting groundwater, rivers and streams, soil and agriculture and blowing radioactive dust in the wind. But, Chernobyl was a nuclear accident, so it involved more diverse, and synthetic radionuclides. Thus, we chose not to use this title, especially as we may need to use it at a future date, for a different topic.