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It's been 25 years since a new uranium mill has been built in the United States, but that may be about to change if the state of Colorado says yes to an application for the Pinon Ridge plant, to be located about 200 miles west of Denver. The plant would process up to 1,000 tons of uranium ore a day.The plant has Gov. Bill Ritter's support. He told the NY Times:
"We're confident nuclear power can and will play a greater role in solving this country's energy and climate challenges," said Governor Ritter in an e-mail message. Among the biggest unanswered questions is "ensuring that uranium mining and milling is done in a way that doesn't jeopardize the public's health or the environment."
Colorado was once a big supplier of uranium for the country, but now we import most of what we use. That could change with the new plant and pending energy and climate legislation, which could give a boost to the nuclear industry if Sens. Kerry and Graham--booth nuclear energy advocated--get their way.
Uranium mining was phased out for many reasons, chief of which was its impact on miners. Studies show that cancer risks among miners is five times more likely than that of the general population.