“Terrible news”


Legislation banning Russian uranium imports should have been a driver to phase out nuclear power. Instead, the new bill will further victimize Native American communities with US uranium mining expansion. The bill signed by President Biden last week adds uranium to the list of fossil fuel imports now banned from Russia due to its war against Ukraine.

The bill has been eagerly embraced by uranium corporations who will now receive massive funds to support new uranium mining and milling in the US, even though the more than 4,000 abandoned uranium mines (Church Rock pictured) have never been adequately cleaned up — or in some cases at all.

As Navajo leader and former Church Rock uranium miner, Larry King said when President Biden signed the bill:  “This is terrible news.” Far from cleaning up and restoring former mines sites to their original condition, King says, “The companies got what they want out of Navajo and moved on.” Now it will all start again.

Said Carletta Tilousi of the Havasupai tribe, who are fighting the already opened Pinyon Plain mine that puts the Grand Canyon and precious water supplies at risk: 

“Uranium mining in the southwest has scarred and left a horrifying legacy of death in our communities. Thousands of abandoned uranium mines on federal and tribal lands have not been cleaned up. Uranium will continue to poison the Grand Canyon including the aquifers that feed into the Colorado River. Contaminants from the uranium mine are likely to make their way to the deep aquifers that feed Havasu Springs. The mine closure is the only way to avoid this risk.”

The bill will once again jeopardize the health and safety of largely Native American communities while interfering with progress on climate crisis mitigation by diverting precious funds and scarce time away from renewable energy expansion. Furthermore, waivers in the bill will in fact allow foreign uranium including from Russia to continue to be imported in order not to impede continuous operation of the US nuclear power fleet.

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