Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hi Ho Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go!

Thursday we went to a Uranium mine in Pirna, about a 25 minute train ride outside of Dresden. We go to wear these intense mining outfits. The first layer was a pair of long underwear and high socks. On top of that, we wore some blue pants and matching blue jacket. We then wore a second, really heavy jacket. Then we got some sweet hard hats and yellow rain boots. Everything was so heavy, I felt like I gained 20 pounds just by putting on the clothes. Before we went into the mine, we were given a red belt that had a light and an oxygen tank on it. This thing was like 10 pounds by itself, it was so heavy, I could barely pick it up. I felt like such a wimp. Once the weight was distributed to my hips, it was much lighter. Go figure :)

After finally getting all of our gear on, we went 200 meters under ground to some of the tunnels in the mine. The elevator to bring us down was so rickety and a little scary, but being in the mine was really cool. The mine is actually no longer being used to harvest uranium. Ever since the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of Soviet control, the mine has been working on cleaning up the mine in order to fully shut it down. We learned about how they flood the mines with water from an underground spring, then run this water through a series of purification methods in order to return the water to the Elbe River. Overall, it was a really fun trip!

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