Letter: Is AZ going to supply Iran with uranium?
Currently, Denison Mines (USA) Corp. has submitted both air and water quality permits to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to operate two uranium mines in Mohave County, Pinenut Mine and EZ Mine, both located southwest of Fredonia.
Denison is a Canadian-owned company that in 2009 sold 17 percent of corporate shares to a Korean energy firm, KEPCO. Along with the transfer of shares, Denison also agreed to supply KEPCO with 20 percent of their annual uranium production until 2015. KEPCO has since entered into a contract with the United Arab Emirates to construct, operate and supply nuclear fuel to new nuclear plants in that country.
Between February 2008 and November 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration, Denison has received more than 150 citations for safety issues, approximately 4-1/2 citations a month. Denison is currently mining in Mohave County at the AZ 1 Mine. Between 2009 and 2010, they have been cited 29 times for safety issues.
With all the recent news of miners being trapped or the loss of life during mining because of overlooked safety risks to make another dollar, we need to keep Arizona and Mohave County out of the media spotlight by not allowing Denison to mine uranium in Arizona.
Currently, in the United States we have 104 nuclear reactors; this only makes up 21 percent of consumed electric. We have an annual uranium consumption of 55 million pounds, while we only have an annual uranium production of less than 4 million pounds. We currently rely on purchasing more than 51 million pounds of uranium a year from foreign countries. U.S. production could easily reach 30 million pounds or more. This would greatly reduce the amount of imported uranium.
Because of that, we do not need a Canadian company coming into Arizona and sending 20 percent of our uranium overseas. We do not need to send uranium from Arizona into countries like United Arab Emirates. The United States is certainly not thinking about selling Syria a nuclear reactor, but the United Arab Emirates has a less-than-stellar record of monitoring and disrupting nuclear proliferation. Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan used Dubai as a key transit point for his black market operations. From the early 1990s, Khan used multiple front companies in Dubai to transport uranium centrifuge components to Iran.
We do not need to have a Canadian company coming into Arizona and risking the lives of our citizens because of complete and total disregard for safety. We do not need to risk supplying Islamic extremist countries like Iran with uranium from Arizona. Let's mine our natural resources with a U.S.-owned company that will supply U.S. citizens with jobs and keep U.S. uranium in the U.S. for our nuclear energy. For more information, visit www.azdeq.gov/download/calendar/111710fqa.pdg.