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Uranium boom in the West

New rush gains steam

Source:  Copyright 2007, Denver Post
Date:  January 28, 2007
Byline:  New Rush Gains Steam
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Late last year, the Bush administration delivered two big gifts to the nuclear power industry, signing deals to help India produce more energy from nuclear reactors and for Westinghouse to build four new reactors in China.

Those countries are half a world away from Colorado, but the worldwide resurgence of interest in nuclear power runs risks for the state's public lands, health and safety.

The nuclear industry's efforts to recast itself as a supposedly clean source of energy - a spin echoed by the administration - has helped spark a uranium boom in the American West. Interior Department records show a sharp increase in mining claims on Western public lands since 2002, driven by a seven-fold increase in the price of uranium.

As recently as 2004, no uranium interests were among the largest mineral claimholders in the West. Now, government data show that uranium interests are among the biggest claimholders across the ...

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