C5. The Stanrock Tailings Wall. The wall of fine white sand in back of the trees is made up of radioactive mill wastes (called "uranium tailings") in the Elliot Lake region of Ontario. More than 100 million tons of these tailings have been deposited directly into the local environment. These wastes will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. They contain some of the most deadly radioactive materials known to science including radium-226, polonium-210, radon-222, as well as thorium-230, bismuth-214, and lead-210. The tailings piles are unmarked and not visible from the highway. Radioactive contaminants have been carried by the Serpent River system into the Great Lakes. Stanrock Tailings Pile, Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada. 25 August 1986.
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