Why the Debate Over Russian Uranium Worries U.S. Tribal Nations – by Simon Romero (New York Times – May 2, 2022)


If imports end because of the war, American companies may look to increase domestic mining, which has a toxic history on Indigenous lands.

KAIBAB NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz. — After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the United States slapped bans on Russian energy sources from oil to coal. But one critical Russian energy import was left alone: uranium, which the United States relies on to fuel more than 90 nuclear reactors around the country.

That dependence on Russia is breathing life into ambitions to resurrect the uranium industry around the American West — and also evoking fears of the industry’s toxic legacy of pollution.

With some of the most coveted uranium lodes found around Indigenous lands, the moves are setting up clashes between mining companies and energy security hawks on one side and tribal nations and environmentalists on the other. Arizona’s Pinyon Plain Mine, situated less than 10 miles from the Grand Canyon’s southern rim, is emerging as ground zero for such conflicts.

The Havasupai Tribe, whose people have lived in the canyonlands and plateaus of the Grand Canyon since time immemorial, call the area of the mining site Mat Taav Tiijundva — “Sacred Meeting Place” in a rough translation.

For the rest of this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/02/us/us-uranium-supply-native-tribes.html