Federal Settlement to Fund Assessment at Eight Abandoned Uranium Mines on Navajo Nation

Jan 19, 2018

Assessment of eight abandoned uranium mines will soon begin on the Navajo Nation. It follows a $500,000 federal settlement with the company responsible for the contamination. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

An abandoned uranium mine that emits dangerous levels of radiation near Cameron on the Navajo Nation.
Credit Joshua Lott/The New York Times

Under the deal made with EnPro Holdings, radiation tests will be conducted along with surveys of biological and cultural resources at the sites in Cameron and Tuba City. Crews will also install fencing and signs that warn of possible radiation exposure.

Two of the mines are on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s high-priority list, which includes 46 with high radiation levels, potential for water contamination, or in close proximity to homes.

The assessments are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Navajo and EPA officials have worked for a decade to evaluate more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on or near the reservation. To date, about 50 structures have been remediated and nine mines have been cleaned up or stabilized.