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Texas Fracking For Uranium: CIA, Who Is This Islamic Terrorist What Are His Connections To Agora Inc Baltimore and CIA Agora Canadian Grant Atkins

Energy's Latest Battleground: Fracking For Uranium


 February 11, 2013


 No tour of Uranium Energy Corp.’s processing plant in Hobson, Tex. is complete until CEO Amir Adnani pries the top off a big black steel drum and invites you to peer inside. There, filled nearly to the brim, is an orange-yellow powder that UEC mined out of the South Texascountryside.

 From the 1950s through the early 1980s big oil and chemical companies like Union Carbide, Exxon, Chevron, Conoco and even U.S. Steel mined uranium in South Texas. Not only did they find a lot of the stuff while hunting for oil and gas, but the federal government, amid the Cold War, even required that they also run tests in every oil and gas well to check for the presence of uranium. The oil companies sold their yellowcake to the government for the production of nuclear weapons and reactor fuel. “Back then every company was down here,” recalls Anthony, who was a young engineer for Union Carbide. “This was the stomping ground.”

But in the process, they made a mess, gouging out muddy pit mines and building tailings ponds to hold toxic sludge left over from processing ore with acid. A uranium mine in Karnes County was designated a Superfund site; it remains polluted, as does the nearby Falls City uranium mill site, where, the Department of Energy says, “contaminants of potential concern are cadmium, cobalt, fluoride, iron, nickel, sulfate and uranium.”





Texas Sees Renewed Push for Uranium Mining

 April 15, 2012



 At the back of a South Texas uranium processing facility, a few dozen black container drums stood outside, waiting to be shipped. Each was filled with about $50,000 worth of yellowcake, a powdery substance created from raw uranium.

“That’s pretty close to a Lexus in every drum,” said Gregory Kroll, the superintendent of the site, which is run by Corpus Christi-based Uranium Energy Corporation. The company mines the uranium in Duval County and brings it here for processing, before sending it on to a plant in Illinois, where it is further refined.
Company officials hope that the Hobson plant will increase its yellowcake production, now at 200,000 to 250,000 pounds per year, far below the plant's capacity. Uranium has been mined in Texas for decades, but companies see a potential hike in demand for their product. They are ramping up for a new push, despite concerns from environmental groups that past operations have not been sufficiently cleaned up and pose a threat to aquifers that people drink from.



Uranium Mining Pollution
near the King Ranch

 This week's stop on the Texas Toxic Tour takes us to Kleberg County, in Southeast Texas, near the famous King Ranch. This is the story of Teo Saenz and his family and neighbors, who are struggling to protect their land and water from pollution from Uranium Resources Inc.'s underground mine, and from regulatory neglect from the state government. Listen and watch this story unfold through interviews with area residents and pictures of URI's mining operations.

 Arriving in 1839, Teo's family was among the first settlers in the area. "My wife's grandfather came to this area, so we all have a very deep respect for the land, and the future for our kids, and the next generation," he says. Now Teo and his neighbors live next to an underground or "in-situ" uranium mine run by Uranium Resources Inc.

Teo's family and neighbors and the City of Kingsville use the Goliad aquifer for their drinking water. Because of concerns about contamination from radioactive and chemically toxic substances such as arsenic, molybdenum, and selenium caused by uranium mining operations, several of Teo's neighbors have had to shut down their water wells. "We're about three quarters of a mile from the [mining] production area, so we would be the first ones hit by any migration of uranium or radium or arsenic," explains Teo.

  For years Teo and his neighbors have tried to get Uranium Resources Inc. to clean up the heavy metals and radioactive materials created during the their mining operation as required by their Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) permit, to no avail. Now the company is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, ceasing operations, and leaving Texas taxpayers with a massive pollution clean-up job.

Radioactive Spills

Spills of highly radioactive water containing the leached-out uranium, other toxic materials and uranium-heavy process fluids are common in the in-situ uranium mining process. Hundreds, if not thousands of spills have occurred at the Texas mines, documented in part by thousands of pages of self-reporting sent to the TNRCC by the mining companies. In the recent 5-month period from January to May 1999 at the URI mine, at least three spills totaling 15,000 gallons of uranium-contaminated water have occurred.

Winning the Battle -- Losing the Aquifer?
Over two years after the TNRCC allowed Area 3 mining to begin, Kleburg County and Teo Saenz and his neighbors won the legal battle for the right to a contested case hearing to decide whether the permit should have ever been approved. The Travis County District Court ruled on February 29, 2000 that the TNRCC must grant a hearing on URI's plan to open a new uranium mining area. This ruling marks the sixth time in the last several years that a court has had to step in to protect citizens rights to participate in permit decisionsimplemented by the Bush-appointed TNRCC Commissioners.
But the damage had already been done. After mining as much uranium as it could from Area 3, URI stopped mining months ago. In a March 31, 2000 press release, URI admits, "the company has exhausted all of its available sources of cash to support continuing operations and will be unable to continue in business beyond June 2000 unless it can secure a cash infusion."


Uranium Mining in Texas

History of Uranium Mining in Texas
Corporations began mining uranium in Texas in the mid-1950's. The industry's early history of unregulated open pit mining resulted in companies dumping tons of radioactive and heavy metal waste in towns south and southeast of San Antonio -- most notably, at the Conoco/Conquista site in Karnes County, at the Chevron site in Panna Maria, also in Karnes County, and at Exxon's Ray Point site in Live Oak, County. (Source: 71st Texas State Legislature Report on Regulation of Uranium Mill Tailings and Waste...). In one lawsuit with plaintiffs numbering over 1,000 and another suit with approximately 600 plaintiffs, workers and their family members and citizens in the areas of the mining alleged personal injury and property damage. 
Live Oak County farmer/rancher Jeff Sibley's family lived through this early history. He wrote an account, 'Uranium Mining in Texas', drawing from his own experiences and from his research of Texas State agency records.




Is Uranium Mined in Texas ?

The two uranium mining techniques that have been used in Texas are open pit mining and in situ mining. Shallow uranium deposits that occurred above groundwater at depths typically no deeper than 300 feet in Karnes County were mined simply by digging open pits. Most of the open pit mining for uranium occurred in Karnes County, although some occurred in Gonzales, Atascosa, Live Oak, and McMullen counties. Deeper deposits in Brooks, Kleberg, Jim Hogg, Duval, Webb, Bee, Live Oak, and Karnes counties have been mined using in situ mining techniques.
In situ mining involves injecting fluids into the ground to dissolve minerals, then
pumping the fluids to the surface where they are processed to recover the minerals.
In situ mining for uranium generally reverses the process by which nature formed the uranium deposits. A leaching solution is injected into the uranium-bearing zone through injection wells arranged in a pattern designed to efficiently recover the uranium. The leaching solution circulates through the uranium-bearing zone and dissolves the uranium.
The uranium-bearing solution is then recovered through production wells (see Figure 1). In the past, the leaching solution was an acid solution. More recently, the leaching solution typically consists of groundwater supplemented with oxygen and bicarbonateions, which is safer and better for the environment. At the surface, this solution is processed to remove the uranium. The water is then refortified with oxygen and bicarbonate ions and reused for additional in situ mining.


Exploration drilling for uranium and open pit mining of uranium are regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). There are no longer any active open pit uraniummines in Texas. Most of the old open pit mines and mill sites have been reclaimed through a program managed by the RRC.

In situ mining and uranium processing plants are regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). There are five active in situ uranium mining sites in the state – one in Brooks County, one in Kleberg County, and three in Duval County – and one inactive in situ processing facility in Karnes
County, presently undergoing license renewal. In addition, an in situ uranium mining permit application for a site in Goliad County is pending.



In Texas, Abandoned Oil Equipment Spurs Pollution Fears

Abandoned oil field equipment is a common problem in Texas, which is home to vast numbers of old wells that were never properly sealed. Some remain from the heady decades of the early- to mid-20th century, before current standards kicked in. In recent decades, regulators have worked to plug the old wells so they do not act as a conduit for liquid pollutants to enter groundwater. But some fear that the recent surge in oil drilling, brought about by the modern practice of hydraulic fracturing, will set off worrisome encounters with the old wells.

“Not every unplugged well leads to pollution, but a high percentage of wells that are left unplugged do present pollution hazards,” said Scott Anderson, an oil and gas expert based in Austin with the Environmental Defense Fund.



Uranium series disequilibrium in the Bargmann property area of Karnes County, Texas

Historical evidence is presented for natural uranium series radioactive disequilibrium in uranium bearing soils in the Bargmann property area of karnes County on the Gulf Coastal Plain of south Texas. The early history of uranium exploration in the area is recounted and records of disequilibrium before milling and mining operations began are given. The property contains an open pit uranium mine associated with a larger ore body. In 1995, the US Department of Energy (DOE) directed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to evaluate the Bargmann tract for the presence of uranium mill tailings (ORNL 1996). There was a possibility that mill tailings had washed onto or blown onto the property from the former tailings piles in quantities that would warrant remediation under the Uranium Mill Tailings Remediation Action Project. Activity ratios illustrating disequilibrium between {sup 226}Ra and {sup 238}U in background soils during 1986 are listed and discussed. Derivations of uranium mass-to-activity conversion factors are covered in detail.


PANTEX: Pollution in the Panhandle

 The Texas Toxic Tour stops this week in the Texas Panhandle--home to the nation's nuclear weapons disassembly and temporary plutonium storage facility. This is the story of Doris and Phil Smith, farmers living next to the plant, whose well water may soon be contaminated with the creeping plume of contaminants emanating from the plant. Watch the video interview with the Smiths to hear a moving and informative firsthand account of their fight against not only the weapons plant, but also against the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. "A farmer spends his entire life propagating life," muses Phil Smith in the video, "and right across the road we're combating a facility that has no other means than death."

Nukes in North Texas

Just 17 miles north of Amarillo sits the Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant, a Department of Defense facility which formerly assembled nuclear weapons now dismantles old ones and maintains newer ones. "Pantex is scheduled to store in excess of 20,000 plutonium pits. At present there are 12,000 pits that are stored in above ground earthen bunkers that were used back in 1942 during the war times. They were used to store conventional weapons, they were not ever intended to store plutonium pits that have a half-life of 24,000 years," explains Doris. Designated as a Superfund cleanup site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1994 after years of contaminating the region, Pantex is currently regulated by the federal Department of Energy (DOE), along with statewide oversight by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).(1)

Aquifer at Risk

The Pantex facility rests on 16, 000 acres(2) directly above the Ogallala Aquifer, the primary source of water in the region. Local residents, some of whom are located within a half-mile of the facility,(3) get their drinking water from wells which tap into the Ogallala. The aquifer also supplies the City of Amarillo. Not only is the Panhandle rich farm country, but large numbers of beef cattle are raised there. "This 26-county area produces twenty-five percent of the nation's" fed beef," explains Phil. "Iowa beef [a local producer] is three miles from the Pantex site. The water they are using comes directly from the Pantex site... Over 5,000 cows are processed there each day," Doris adds.




Revealed: Texas officials covered up dangerously radioactive tap water for years


 12 Nov 2010

 Texas officials charged with protecting the environment and public health have for years made arbitrary subtractions to the measured levels of radiation delivered by water utilities across the state, according to a series of investigative reports out of Houston.

Those subtractions, based on the test results’ margin of error, made all the difference for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): without the reduction, demonstrated levels of dangerous radiation would have been in excess of federal limits for years. 
This was being done in direct contravention of an order by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which told state regulators in 2000 to stop subtracting the margin of error.-

- Thanks to the TCEQ’s under-reporting of radioactive content, one particular water provider in Harris County was able to skirt needed maintenance for years, even though uncensored tests showed radiation was almost always above legal limits.
Independent tests, the station noted, showed that some of the radiation contained harmful alpha particles, which can cause cell mutations and increase the risk of cancer.
The practice of under-reporting radiation continued until last year, when the EPA once again demanded Texas comply with the law.
The state, governed a large majority of Republicans, has long flouted the EPA’s air quality standards, with TCEQ officials claiming the federal agency does not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
“What was illegal and a bad idea yesterday is illegal and a bad idea today,” TCEQ chairman Bryan W. Shaw told The Dallas Morning News. “We won’t see any environmental benefits from this. We’ll just see the additional bureaucracy associated with permitting in this state and across the U.S.” -

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