ATOMIC ENERGY: Coming of the Giants

Stomping into the office of Four Corners Uranium Co. in Grand Junction, Colo. last week, a dog-tired amateur prospector from Missouri tossed a bundle of papers to a vice president. "I've had it," he said. "Here are my location certificates. They're all yours." As late as last winter, uranium claims sold for as much as $1,500. But last week small operators were glad to get a few hundred dollars, and some were even turning their claims over to bigger companies for nothing but an agreement to do the assessment work ($100 a year) needed to keep them.

Everywhere, small uranium outfits,...

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