Blast from the Past

September 4, 2006

As the global warming threat increases, nuclear energy enjoys a renaissance, but the industry’s own checkered past hints that nuke power will be neither easy nor cheap. Also in this issue: The BLM’s decision to lease land for energy exploration in the watersheds of Grand Junction and Palisade, Colo., reveals the way oil and gas leasing works.


With global warming an increasing threat, some are urging a return to nuclear energy, but the industry’s own checkered past reminds us that a nuclear renaissance will be neither easy nor cheap
The Fourth Wave
With uranium prices rising, speculators are looking anew at busted mining towns like Jeffrey City, Wyo., but locals have learned to be skeptical
Navajo Windfall
The Navajo Nation is fighting to keep uranium mining off the reservation, but eager uranium companies are determined to mine– and the federal government is on their side
Retooling a Leviathan
The nation’s nuclear infrastructure is aging, and in need of very expensive – and very complicated – retooling just to survive


Navajos pay for industry's mistakes
The federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was created to compensate uranium miners and mill workers sickened by their jobs, but on the Navajo Reservation, Dr. Bruce Baird Struminger says the program has proved flawed
The Hot West
Graphics show the location of the West’s nuclear sites and uranium sources, and the nuclear fuel cycle is described
Waste disposal the industry's Achilles' heel
The French have dealt with their radioactive waste for decades by reprocessing it, but the process is more problematic than it sounds, particularly in an age of terrorism

Editor's Note

HCN's secret past
High Country News reveals its odd historical connection with the West’s uranium obsession of the 1950s

Uncommon Westerners

The rural West's pragmatic booster
Economist and demographer Larry Swanson wants to help rural Western communities find a way to survive


In a dark, narrow storm drain below the border town of Douglas, Ariz., eight illegal immigrants drowned in the summer of 1997

Book Reviews

Endangered Species 101 — in poetry
The Dire Elegies laments the plight of North America's endangered wildlife in poetic detail
Destroyer of worlds
In 109 East Palace, the granddaughter of one of the Manhattan Project's administrators re-examines the story of the atomic bomb built in Los Alamos
A life of brutal grace
The Boy Who Invented Skiing" is the memoir of Swain Wolfe, who spent his boyhood in a Colorado Springs tuberculosis sanatorium in the '30s


The green Republican: back from the dead?
Worried about falling poll numbers, some Republicans, led by Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, are resisting some of the Bush administration’s more far-reaching attacks on environmental protection

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Dirk Kempthorne and luxury RVs; The Farmer Wants a Wife, maybe; no rules (or bras) at Sturgis; look before you pee; hard-working Washington pot-growers; Arizona’s biggest marijuana farm; with defense lawyers like this one, who needs a prosecutor?; and big bird with a bad grip

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Bikers, filmmakers, engineers, cheesemakers all visit HCN; Ed Wayburn celebrates 100th birthday


The anatomy of an energy lease
The BLM’s decision to lease land for energy exploration in the watersheds of Grand Junction and Palisade, Colo., reveals the way oil and gas leasing works
When can the BLM say 'no'?
BLM and Forest Service officials say they have little power to prevent drilling in an area once it’s been OK’d for leasing, but critics say the government simply refuses to use its power
Anti-government attack has many fronts
Across the West, anti-government activists from out of state are funding ballot measures that attack government spending and the judiciary as well as land-use planning
States crack down on illegal immigrants
With Congress stalled on immigration reform, Western states such as Colorado are tackling the issue with tough new laws

Two Weeks in the West

Two weeks in the West
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne kicks off "listening tour" on "cooperative conservation"; court shoots down Forest Service’s anti-public input rules; Idaho judge blasts BLM’s similar anti-public input rules; feds ignore states’ requests for roadless acreage


High Country News Classifieds