Saturday, November 5, 2016

Uranium: The Genotoxic Ring of Power

Uranium has often been treated akin to Tolkien’s ultimate ring of power found in The Lord of the Rings chronology because its energies, and the technologies developed to harness them, represent the penultimate promise of control over global society and nature.

Tolkein described the rings of power as “better left unused” because of their corrupting influences.[i] It is indeed unfortunate that uranium and its by products are chemically toxic and emit genetically hazardous ionizing radiation through radioactive decay processes.

Uranium supply and utilization chains are extractive and externalizing and their governance by powerful organizations, both private and public, has failed to prevent widespread contamination of the earth from mining, refining, fissioning, and atomic detonations.

The Fukushima crisis represents how truly catastrophic risk is centralized in the nuclear complex as five years after the crisis radionuclides from melted uranium fuel at the Daiichi site continue to contaminate the atmosphere and Pacific Ocean.

Yet those seeking the power of uranium continue to hold the reigns of social power, as demonstrated in these two articles excerpted below.

First, we see that despite record low uranium prices, Cameco, one of the world's most powerful uranium players, continues to operate profitably because of long term contracts. These long-term contracts are essentially promises that the nuclear supply chain will remain operative into the future despite the catastrophic risks demonstrated by the Fukushima crisis:
Cameco tops profit expectations on uranium sales jump

Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, largely helped by a jump in uranium sales volumes.

Cameco's (CCO.TO 0.73%) uranium sales rose 35 percent to 9.3 million pounds in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while its average realized uranium price fell 0.6 per cent to $43.37 per pound.

Chief Executive Tim Gitzel said though uranium prices are at the lowest levels in more than a decade, the company's average realized prices were well above the market price thanks to its portfolio of long-term contracts.

However, Cameco warned that the uranium market would remain depressed until Japan's nuclear reactors are restarted and excess supply is depleted, among other things
Cameco's warning that uranium prices will remain depressed until Japan's reactors are re-started points to the power of the international uranium cabal, their insistence that reactors be re-started despite the unprecedented geological and volcanic activity that has repeatedly and catastrophically shaken Japan's infrastructure over the last few years.

Uranium, the ring of power, degrades and destroys all who are captured within its embrace.

We see the destructive capacities of this toxic ring of power in Arizona, where native Americans still live on reservations afflicted with uncapped uranium mines. Despite this toxic legacy, the state is supporting still more mining that threatens sacred ground and the water supply for the entire state:
Kelly Benally. November 2, 2016. Uranium Mining at Grand CanyonHavasupai Sacred Site & Diné Communities Face Imminent Threat. IC Magazine (A publication of the for world indigenous studies)

Grand Canyon, AZ — On October 13, 2016, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) issued three controversial air quality permits for uranium mines near the Grand Canyon. The uranium mining will desecrate sacred sites and further contaminate communities that have already been plagued by decades of toxic abandoned uranium mines.
The ring of power that is uranium has the capacity to destroy us all as its agents sacrifice our future for their greed.

[i] J. R. R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Volume. New York (Mariner Books (2005), 48. Fukushima 11/6/2016