Friday, January 05, 2007

Uranium Enrichment, New Mexico

The great Southwest of the United States is the home to some of that 'U' family of ingredients to make bombs, as well as power the Nuclear reactors for the worlds generation of electricity. Canada mines most of the worlds supplies out of the 'Athabaska' (Middle) region. Australia holds the largest known reserves. Uranium is fairly plentiful over the Earths surface, due to its suspected role in keeping the Earths core 'nice and toasty' (think Lava, Magma..lots of it) through the recycling force of 'Plate Tectonics' (Subduction of one plate beneath another adjoining plate).
New Mexico has a lot of background radiation because of it's 'Dirt'. Grants NM was the site of the first big Uranium find in the USA by 'Paddy' Martinez, an Indian Sheepherder 'Prospector'. He lived to the ripe old age of 80 plus. He was hired to keep prospecting and find more (He did). Grants NM had the 'Haystack Mountain' area to supply the USA with it's Uranium Ore for years (about 30). It gave a lot of the residents in the area, jobs in mining and milling. Boom times were responsible for the active economy. Now Oil and Gas is a driving force, due in part, to the 'Depletion Allowance' paid to the State's bank account, by the companies that are mining and drilling.
We do pretty well (to say the least) financially, for a generally backwards State that has a big number of people on it's Welfare rolls.
Recently we (Hobbs area New Mexico) were presented with the opportunity of using the, now common, 'Urenco Centrifuge Technology'. You know the same type of Uranium processing that North Korea and Iran, as well as most 'Nuclear Countries' like India and Pakistan as well as Israel and many (unknown) others possibly use. The 'Centrifuge Enrichment' system is fairly simple and easy to conceal. Pharmaceutical manufacturers use it. Say didn't someone send missiles to destroy a "Pharmaceutical facility a few years back? Actually most of the world uses Centrifuge Technology now.
A fine intelligent young scientist, "Abdul Quadeer Khan", (Cough! Cough!), 'Borrowed'? the technology while working for a contractor to 'Urenco' in Amsterdam, and took it home to Pakistan. From Pakistan it 'Migrated'$$$? around the world.
The USA since 1993 has chosen to buy Russia's old Nukes to keep them off the market as well as 'Downblend' the radioactive material into a grade useable for electrical power generation reactors. Russia likes this plan. It brings them lots of US cash. The recent 'Polonium', Russian spy incident, shows that a lot of people are carrying some pretty nasty stuff around in their pockets, and I'm not talking about a dirty handkerchief.
Believe it or not, we (USA) still use the ancient, outrageously expensive, massively complicated, technology that is situated in Oak Ridge Tennessee.
You know, the Tennessee hills that produced the best 'Corn Squeezins' in the world for years.
The argument being, that "We do not want to contribute to 'Nuclear Proliferation', now, do we"? That old "Not in my backyard" syndrome has a bit to do with it as well. You know, the argument put forth by one or two people, that can derail any new project and 'Litigate' it to death.
Well at this late date it's like trying to put the 'gas' back into the dog. Uranium Hexafluoride Gas, to be exact. A lot of people in the USA, as well as the world, think we are 'way too powerful' like a football team that keeps on winning, and needs to be chained down, or at the very least have every player thouroughly discredited in the Media, while the rest of the world runs faster to gain an advantage over us. Some times I think we as a Nation, are similiar to those short, 'You Tube' Videos that portray mostly young males, doing things that almost guarantee that they are removed from the 'Gene Pool'.


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