[ RadSafe ] Christmas-present to RADSAFE - US South-West Uranium

Franz Schönhofer franz.schoenhofer at chello.at
Thu Dec 20 17:48:15 CST 2007

Dear US friends and collegues on RADSAFE,


May I as a European distribute something like a Christmas-present to you?


I have spent last October in the US South-West (New Mexico, Colorado and
Utah). I have been in these areas many times before and these landscapes
have been fascinating. You may ask, why I returned once again? If you ever
have been there, you will know why



I scheduled my travel so that I was able to visit the Trinity Site (the
site, where the first nuclear bomb was exploded), which is open only twice a
year. Last time I was in the area I did not know about the schedule and
missed it by a few days because I had to return to Vienna on my cheap
airline ticket. The visit to this place is somehow fascinating – it was the
birth of the „nuclear age“ and the beginning of a whole new era of politics.
I do not want to discuss here, whether this was positive or negative, simply
this explosion changed history. 


I had the pleasure that Phil Egidi from the Colorado Department of Health
and Environment had offered to show me some Colorado Uranium Mines,  Uranium
Ore processing plants and also sites of remediation of tailings both in
progress and already finished. I am grateful to Phil for this education – I
am always eager to learn! Not to forget that under those two days he showed
me around I found that he is a technically very competent person and I think
that Colorado should be happy to have him! I also have to mention, that
those trips to the remote (former) uranium mines were on backroads, running
through stunning landscapes, canyons which cannot be described – even
photographs would not give an impression of this great landscape. 


After this I went on my own in the south-western part of Colorado, in the
south-eastern part of Utah, in the north-western part of New-Mexico. As I
mentioned I have been there before several times, but again I spent two days
at the Arches NM, crossed some very high passes well above 11 000 feet. I
visited a lot of former Anasazi dwellings – I am interested in those old
cultures. I bought approximately 20 fetishes, mostly from Zuni, to enlarge
my collection of more than 40. Not to tell, that my eye was already trained
to discover further uranium mines, where I collected samples, met at two
facilities nice people, at one a geologist and at another one workers who
were excited when I told them that I had been to Monitello (Utah) during
remediation, because they had been working there. 


What might also be of interest for RADSAFE: I did not face any problems on
entering the USA – just the contrary. I went via Paris to Atlanta. The
immigration officer asked his standard questions about where I was going to
– Albuquerque – what I was going to do there – to visit the Trinity Site and
afterwards to Colorado to visit uranium mines and uranium extraction
facilities. At once he became interested and started to ask questions (not
whether I was trying to buy Uranium for terror groups!!!) about whether
there was any health risk from nuclear power plants and similar! We had a
very nice conversation which had to be interrupted after about 10 minutes,
because many more people waited for immigration. Gratulation to the USA for
such open minded immigration officers!


When going back I had about two kilos of uranium rock samples in my
checked-in luggage, some of them showing a clearly elevated activity with my
dose-rate meter. There was no problem for transport. This might be a sign
for reasonable handling of luggage.


What is the conclusion? I enjoyed my stay in the US-South-West. I have seen
a lot of the uranium-mining operation, which is undergoing a change now,
since the uranium price rose considerably. I enjoyed Phil’s guidance.
Whether at the mines or at the fantastic other places – all people were
extremely friendly, helpful and it was very easy to establish contacts. –
Well, as it has been before!!! It is great that all the political turmoil
during the last years has not changed the attitude of those US-citizens who
are travelling to see the natural wonders of their own country!


I wish most on RADSAFE who celebrate it a nice Christmas, Hanukkah, Season
Greetings. I know that most will be addressed by wishing you a Happy and
Successful New Year!


Best wishes to everybody,




Franz Schoenhofer, PhD

MinRat i.R.

Habicherg. 31/7

A-1160 Wien/Vienna



More information about the RadSafe mailing list