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History of Uranium, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Uranium excitement was not limited to the redrock desert. In the 1950s and 1960s, Salt lake City became known as the "Wall Street of Uranium Stocks." Triggered by a promoter named Jay Walters, Jr., a mania for buying penny stocks to finance developing uranium mines swept the country. The first offering was sold in 1953; by the end of 1954, eighty-one uranium firms were listed with the Utah Securities Commission. Housewives, schoolteachers, auto mechanics and insurance executives stood in line to buy certificates to finance large corporations such as Uranium Corporation of America, Standard Uranium, Federal, and Lisbon, and scores of false claims that didn't have a whiff of ore.

Utah's fabled uranium boom was not without tragedy. From the Manhattan Project days, health scientists warned that radiation in the mines was a danger to miners. Medical literature dating as early as the sixteenth century documented cancer deaths claiming a high percentage of radium miners in the Erz Mountains of Germany and Czechoslovakia. But neither the AEC, state governments, nor the mining companies would take responsibility to regulate ventilation and safety practices. It was not until hundreds of uranium miners in Utah, Colorado, Arizona and new Mexico had succumbed to lung cancer that safe levels of radiation were finally imposed. And not until 1989, after years of furtive court battles, that the United States Congress passed legislation to financially compensate radiation victims.


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