Uranium Mines

Uranium is a rare element of rather high atomic weight. There are two different isotopes, one of them is even rarer and not stable. This U-257 is used to fuel atomic reactors and build atomic bombs.

Uranium forms minerals and ores. The minerals are generally exceptional, as they shine in strange colours under ultraviolet light. And they are not really healthy, as they emit a small but continuous radiation. Uranium is used for colour, and for ceramics, as is makes dark colours very good. Again the use is not a good idea, because of the radiation.

Uranium is mined all over the world. It is rather common, but mining is generally difficult and the amount of uranium is low. However, the amount of energy it may produce is enormous and the production of weapons does not follow economic rules.

However, uranium mining is very dangerous, both for the miners and for the environment. The dust in the mines not only causes silicosis and cancer, it is also radioactive and leads to various destructions in the internal organs, impotence and destroys DNA. Inside the body, even alpha and beta rays are extremely dangerous. Miners who die in this way should actually be deposited in a final repository for radioactive waste. The slack heaps are full of radioactive isotopes, which are dispersed by wind and rainwater. Many such spoil heaps do not even allow plant growth because of the radiation. The tailings of GDR uranium mining in East Germany are currently being cleaned up, which will take more than half a century and cost many billions. There are statistics that children who played on these tailings in the 1960s and 70s died young and of terrible diseases.