Cleanup plan for over 1.4 million tonnes of radium- and uranium-contaminated soils from abandoned US mine

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a plan to clean up the Northeast Church Rock Mine – the largest and highest priority abandoned uranium mine on Navajo land.

Under EPA oversight and in conjunction with the Navajo Nation’s own environmental protection agency, General Electric conducted two previous cleanups at the site to deal with residual contamination, including the removal and rebuilding of one building in 2007, and the removal of over 40,000 tonnes of contaminated soil in 2010.

The latest cleanup effort will involve the removal of some 1.4 million tonnes of radium- and uranium-contaminated soil, which will be placed in a lined, capped facility. The multi-year cleanup – which will be conducted in several phases – will allow unrestricted surface use of the mine site for grazing and housing.

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