ENDAUM Continues Fight Against Uranium Mining

Mayor of Hiroshima Invites President Bush to Witness the Effects of Nuclear War

Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (or ENDAUM) is continuing its battle against Hydro Resources, Inc. (or HRI), a corporation that is working to begin in-situ leach (or ISL) mining of uranium near the communities of Crownpoint and Church Rock on the Navajo Nation.

Underground uranium mining in the area ceased many years ago, leaving Navajo miners in poor health as a result. ISL mining is an alternative method by which alkaline solution is injected into the aquifer to dissolve surrounding uranium. The resulting solution, rich with uranium, is then pumped to the surface where the uranium and other heavy metals are removed. The water is then reinjected into the aquifer. However, in the 30 years that ISL mining has been used, no mine operator has ever been able to reclaim the water to pre-mining conditions. ENDAUM is concerned that the proposed ISL mining in the area will contaminate the sole-source aquifer which is used by the 15,000 people that live in Church Rock and Crownpoint.

ENDAUM has enlisted the assistance of the Southwest Research and Information Center (or SRIC) and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center in their case against HRI. ENDAUM and SRIC are suing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or NRC) for issuing a permit to HRI to begin ISL mining in the area.

Previous mining activities have left the area's population reeling with polluted groundwater and high rates of birth defects and cancer. Mitchell Capitan, of ENDAUM, said, "What uranium left is mainly heartbreak." The uranium industry's continued focus on the Navajo Nation has raised questions of environmental justice. Eric Jantz, of the Environmental Law Center, said, "NRC is essentially deferring to the uranium industry for regulatory authority and that in itself has subtle shades of discrimination."

* On the 57th anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing of Japan, Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba invited President George W. Bush to Hiroshima "to confirm with his own eyes what nuclear weapons can do to human beings." Akiba made the statement before a crowd that had gathered in memorial of the 220,000 Japanese people that were ultimately killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

Akiba also chastised Bush's unilateral diplomacy, claiming that Bush is attempting to decide the fate of the world following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Akiba said, "... We, the people of the world, have the right to insist that we have not given you the authority to destroy the world."

Members of the Japanese government of late have hinted at the possibility of revising its three non-nuclear principles, which were adopted in 1971 and ensure Japan's pacifism. These principles are not to possess, make or import nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, Akiba lamented the world's growing tendency to forget the horrors of nuclear war. However, he claims that Japan will never forget that day, saying, "For the victims of the atomic bomb ... a hot and bitter summer has returned, [and] with the return of the heat, the memories of that misery also return."

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