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Subject Alert!!! Idaho WILDFIRE roars through former URANIUM mine site!
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Original Message [link to health.yahoo.net]

A wildfire in east-central Idaho has burned through three former mining sites containing traces of radioactive thorium and uranium and was advancing a fourth such site on Thursday, but state officials said they believed the risk to human health was low.

As a precaution, state environmental authorities planned to take air samples in North Fork, a small community in the fire zone north of Salmon, to assess any radioactive hazards posed by fire damage to the sites.

One area of concern is a defunct uranium mine and milling operation 5 miles west of North Fork, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a cleanup several years ago of polluted soil, hazardous wastes and piles of raw uranium and thorium ore.

No decontamination of buildings at that site was ever performed, and at least one of those buildings burned in the fire, according to officials from the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Flames also swept two abandoned gold mines about 20 miles west of North Fork, where surface radiation, presumably from natural uranium and thorium deposits in the ground, has been measured at several times normal background levels, officials said.

Authorities said they were unsure how recently the wildfire had encroached on those three mining sites. But the situation was brought to the attention of the Environmental Quality Department on Thursday, agency officials said.

"This is new ground for us, but we are dealing with the issue at this time," said Erick Neher, a regional administrator of the department, adding that the risk of human exposure stems from the potential for radioactive material consumed by fire to be become airborne.

50% rule followed, view rest of article at link above.

This seems potentially scary for the folks downwind of these sites.
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