Colorado Experience: Uranium Mania

Colorado Experience: Uranium Mania

America’s explosive successes in peace and war were fueled by the radioactive wealth from the Colorado Plateau. The mineral carnotite was a “Pandora’s rock” of scientific, medical, industrial and military power for 20th Century America with its unleashed resources of radium, vanadium and uranium. Even though the energetic and frenetic mining and refining of uranium ore in Western Colorado has mostly ceased, its remaining trace elements of memory and controversy still radiate from Uravan and Grand Junction throughout the state, the nation and the world.


  1. Avart goblogios on August 8, 2023 at 4:45 am

    WOW! I took my sophomore geology courses at the colorado Mesa university and took historical geology from dr. Rex Cole. He is a human encyclopedia on the colorado plateau geology. Honor to have learned from him

  2. toordog on August 8, 2023 at 4:46 am

    These people seem very proud to be a part of the pollution and cancers of this planet….

    Yeah, that’s where I want to have a picnic….

  3. John on August 8, 2023 at 4:47 am

    Fascinating history

  4. ChrisNVegas on August 8, 2023 at 4:49 am

    More people have died falling from windmills than all the world nuclear accidents combined.
    Nuclear is very safe when plants are properly designed.

  5. Bob Taylor on August 8, 2023 at 4:58 am

    Nuclear energy is by far the safest most reliable energy source now available with no greenhouse gases produced. One should think through the materials required, reliability, efficiencies, and waste stream produced with renewable energy sources to better understand the folly of thinking we could go renewable given currently available technology.

  6. Tempest Hampton on August 8, 2023 at 5:02 am

    Shame on you PBS how about you report on the damage caused to the residents and the fact Colorado State considered all of us collateral damage! They refused to give us downwinder designation yet some of us are suffering untold medical problems that as my hematologist stated … I have the same health issues as a survivor of heroshima! How about you report that truth!!!

  7. Thomas Bingel on August 8, 2023 at 5:02 am

    Very recommendable! The naive optimism of the 1950s became tragic

  8. Lurker1979 on August 8, 2023 at 5:02 am

    All I think of is the Fallout games. lol

  9. Electric Poliville on August 8, 2023 at 5:04 am

    Yes, gotta beware of future manias

  10. Virginia Frank on August 8, 2023 at 5:04 am

    I lived in Uravan from 1977 until 1983, and worked in the instrument shop in the mill. It was the greatest place I’ve ever lived.

  11. Joluvslilhorses on August 8, 2023 at 5:13 am

    Chernobyl and Fukushima……ugh

  12. rahkin rah on August 8, 2023 at 5:15 am

    I live on the Western Slope and have driven through there numerous times. Thank you for this episode.

  13. Tami Jolin on August 8, 2023 at 5:15 am

    My grandparents, their children, my great uncle and his family and my great grandparents lived in Uravan. The men of course worked in the mine and the kids played in the tailings. Every man has had cancer and most of the male children have too.

  14. H Gj on August 8, 2023 at 5:16 am

    Interesting that they mention three mile island, but fail to mention the largest radioactive material spill in US history in 1979 at Church Rock in neighboring New Mexico

  15. Janelle Bellard on August 8, 2023 at 5:17 am

    My grandpa worked these mines, he is in one of those pictures. He died in 1985 from Lung cancer from those mines.

  16. Bryan Hall on August 8, 2023 at 5:19 am

    As a kid growing up in the San Luis Valley, we’d always have other kids from Los Alamos come to summer church camp. We always kidded them about glowing in the dark…

    Still, nuclear power is one of the best solutions for our base power needs. Although now burning thorium makes more sense than much more expensive uranium.

  17. granskare on August 8, 2023 at 5:24 am

    Stalin had spies within the project.

  18. Bruce Hutch on August 8, 2023 at 5:30 am

    It’s a politics of the radical left environmental movement that have destroyed nuclear power plants as a major source of electricity. The Mining that’s needed for lithium cadmium other Rare Earth minerals that are needed for batteries for electrical powered machinery and vehicles are mega monster sized compared to these uranium mines. And the destruction caused with lithium and rare earth mines is massive in third world countries and China as compared to uranium mines.

  19. Jerry Deem on August 8, 2023 at 5:33 am

    I earned my ‘school clothes’ money by detasseling corn. Not quite the same thing l suppose, but……l don’t glow in the dark or have lung cancer.

  20. MikesAvenger on August 8, 2023 at 5:36 am

    I can watch this stuff all day!

  21. Toys, Tools, and Tales! on August 8, 2023 at 5:37 am

    Birth defects, sterilization, and cancer are more than double the rates of the rest of the united states in grand junction Colorado. Should of buried this town to and they tried. All the top soil have to be removed when the buried the other town.

  22. Taylor Davison on August 8, 2023 at 5:38 am

    Oh, goody! More Colorado history for me!

  23. nisw1918 on August 8, 2023 at 5:41 am

    Yellow cake.

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