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2007/10/21

The Cost of Uranium Mining

The following images are for a story series we have been working on at The Independent dealing with the effects of exposure to uranium by mine workers. Many have still not been compensated for their disabilities and in the midst of the issues of compensation and cleaning up the contamination, companies are trying to get the uranium mines to re-open in the Navajo Nation area.



A close-up look at Cippriano Lucero's hand reveals a strange growth on his index finger. Lucero says that many of the miners he knows have similar growths on a variety of places on their bodies.


A Sign attached to the fence surrounding the Rio Algom mine north of Milan, NM., state that the area is a radioactive materials site.




Johnny Lucero, a former uranium miner who lives in Milan, NM., talks Wednesday about his near fatal work experiences while working at the Anaconda mine. Lucero is suffering from a host of health problems, as is his brother, Cipriano (background), that they blame on their exposure to radiation while working in the mines.



Helen Savedra listens Wednesday as Linda Evers shares her experiences of working for a uranium mining company in the late 1970's, and the aftermath of her exposure to radiation which she says caused both of her children to be born with birth defects.


Chili Kicks on Route 66 restaurant owner Molly Chavez, a former uranium mine worker, reflects for a moment inside her Grants, NM business on the number of miners she knows who have died from illnesses believed to have been a result of radiation exposure.



A sign attached to a barbed-wire fence warns people to stay out of the area
as a grader and other heavy equipment move dirt around and churn up dust
Wednesday afternoon at the Rio Algom mine site along Hwy 509, north of Milan,
NM.


A heavy equipment operator wears only a ball-cap and a safety vest as
protective equipment on Wednesday while moving dirt around at the Rio Algom mine north of Milan, NM. Signs attached to the fence surrounding the area state that the area is a radiation materials site.



Strong winds carry misted water through the air and toward Hwy 605 at the
Homestake mining site near Milan, NM. on Wednesday.
(The water is the band of white seperating the forground from the hills, and during the interviews with miners I heard one person refer to the water as being contaminated. Whether it is or not I am unsure, but it certainly had a foul odor to it as you drive along the highway, which is downwind from the mine site.)



A closer look at the water being misted into the air at the mine site.
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