Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Uranium is a silver-gray metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table that has the symbol U and atomic number 92. It has 92 protons and electrons, 6 of them valence electrons. Uranium has the highest atomic weight of the naturally occurring elements. It occurs naturally in low concentrations (a few parts per million) in soil, rock and water, and is commercially extracted fromuranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite. There are many current applications of uranium, including the fissile explosive material used in nuclear weapons, fuel for nuclear power plants, high density bullets, and, prior to the discovery of the harmful effects of its radiation, glass and ceramic dyes, and in luminescent paints...
The Yucca Flat area of the Nevada Test Site evincing the underground nuclear tests made by the United States government.

November 1951 nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. Test is shot "Dog" from Operation Buster, with a yield of 21 kilotons. It was the first U.S. nuclear field exercise conducted on land; troops shown are a mere 6 miles from the blast.

The Nevada Test Site is a United States Department of Energy reservation located in Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the City of Las Vegas, near [show location on an interactive map] 37°07′N, 116°03′W. Formerly known as the Nevada Proving Ground, the site, established on January 11, 1951 for the testing of nuclear weapons, is composed of approximately 1,350 square miles (3,500 km²) of desert and mountainous terrain. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a one-kiloton (4 terajoule) bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat on January 27, 1951. Many of the iconic images of the nuclear era come from NTS.

Cancer and test site

In a report by the National Cancer Institute, released in 1997, it was determined that ninety atmospheric tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) deposited high levels of radioactive iodine-131 (5.5 exabecquerels) across a large portion of the contiguous United States, especially in the years 1952, 1953, 1955, and 1957—doses large enough, they determined, to produce 10,000 to 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 allowed for people living downwind of NTS for at least two years in particular Nevada, Arizona or Utah counties, between January 21, 1951 – October 31, 1958 or June 30, 1962 – July 31, 1962, and suffering from certain cancers or other serious illnesses deemed to have been caused by fallout exposure to receive compensation of $50,000. By January 2006, over 10,500 claims had been approved, and around 3,000 denied, for a total amount of over $525 million in compensation dispensed to "downwinders".[5]Uranium miners, mill workers and ore transporters are also eligible for $100,000 compassionate payment under the Radiation Exposure
Compensation Program, while $75,000 is the fixed payment amount for workers who were participants in the above-ground nuclear weapons tests.

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