Nuclear waste to be moved away from Colo. river |

Nuclear waste to be moved away from Colo. river

SALT LAKE CITY ” The Department of Energy announced Wednesday it will move millions of tons of radioactive uranium processing waste off the banks of the Colorado River near Moab.

The radioactive tailings are from the the only decommissioned uranium mill overseen by the Energy Department that hasn’t yet been cleaned up. The mill stopped operating in 1984.

About 12 million tons of waste sit in a floodplain, 750 feet from the banks of the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to an estimated 25 million people in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and other cities throughout the Southwest.

The department said in a prepared statment that its final environmental impact statement for the site several miles northwest of Moab would recommend moving the tailings to an alternate site to the north in Crescent Junction.

The announcement was a victory for environmentalists and Western state officials who feared the department would decide to leave the the uranium tailings in place.

The waste has given rise to sharp debate over what should be done with the remains of uranium ore processing, which contain potentially deadly chemicals such as ammonia, residual uranium and radon, which can cause lung cancer and leukemia and won’t decay for thousands of years.

The contaminants are leaching gradually into the river, and environmentalists feared a flood could wash huge quantities of the substances into the river.

DENVER ” A Venezuelan man suspected of hacking into U.S. Air Force computer servers in Denver, bringing down a network that provided training for thousands of personnel, had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver.

According to a federal arrest warrant unsealed Tuesday, Rafael Nunez-Aponte, 25, of Caracas, bragged about the 2001 cyberspace break-in, in which an Air Force Web page was replaced with one providing the Web address of the World of Hell, a computer hacker group.

Nunez-Aponte was charged with unlawfully accessing a nonpublic government computer, punishable by up to one year in prison; and damaging a protected computer, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

DENVER ” The Rocky Mountain region remains one of the country’s fastest growing, attracting young and highly educated people, according to a new report by Colorado College.

The second annual “State of the Rockies Report Card,” released Tuesday, contradicts the image of Westerners as cowboys or farmers living in wide, open spaces. Only 1 percent of the people make a living from farming, fishing and logging, the report said.

Most people live in growing suburbs where the median price of a home is $134,500, compared with $119,600 for the country.

Colorado led the region in several categories, including median family income, at $55,883, and education, with 22 percent of the 25-plus age group having at least a bachelor’s degree.

The study rates 280 counties in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming. Researchers looked at environmental and community health and civic capacity and engagement, including charitable giving, education levels, newspaper concentration and religious involvement.

Denver and Santa Fe, N.M., received grades of A and Boulder got an A-minus for their civic environments. In Colorado, Douglas County got an A and Hinsdale County, with a population of 750, and Sedgwick each received an A-minus.

DENVER ” A coalition of advocacy groups launched a campaign to increase awareness of the plight of sexual assault victims on Wednesday and criticized Gov. Bill Owens for vetoing a bill that would have required hospitals to inform rape victims of the availability of emergency contraception.

Anpeytu Raben, chairwoman of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said Owens made a mistake when he vetoed House Bill 1042 on Tuesday.

“We are concerned that some sexual assault victims will not have access to information vital to their healing process and might have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy as a result of sexual assault. The just and moral response for all sexual assault victims is the ability to make informed choice. That’s what we lost through your veto,” she said.

Owens, who is also Catholic, said Tuesday that he vetoed the bill because he believed it would have crossed the line by forcing church-backed institutions to violate their own ethics guidelines and require them to refer patients to places where treatment that could end a pregnancy could be obtained.

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