EPA awards $220 million in uranium mine cleanup contracts

February 22, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded three contracts for cleanup efforts at more than 50 abandoned uranium mine sites in and around the Navajo Nation in the southwestern United States. The Navaho Area Abandoned Mine Remedial Construction and Services Contracts, worth up to $220 million over the next five years, were awarded to the Red Rock Remediation Joint Venture, Environmental Quality Management, and Arrowhead Contracting, the agency announced on February 11.

According to the EPA, the cleanup work is slated to begin later this year, following the completion of assessments in coordination with the Navajo Nation EPA, the tribe’s environmental agency. The sites are in New Mexico’s Grants Mining District and 10 Navajo Nation chapters. The companies selected have experience working on hazardous waste sites across the country, including cleaning up other abandoned mine sites in the Southwest, the EPA said.

Funding: Most of the funding for the contracts comes from the nearly $1 billion settlement reached in 2015 for the cleanup of more than 50 abandoned uranium mine sites for which Kerr McGee Corporation and its successor, Tronox, have responsibility. In addition to the funds from that settlement, the EPA and the Navajo Nation have secured funding through enforcement agreements and other legal settlements for the assessment and cleanup of approximately 200 abandoned uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation.

The history: During the Cold War, 30 million tons of uranium ore were mined on or adjacent to the Navajo Nation, leaving more than 500 abandoned mines. Since 2008, the EPA has conducted preliminary investigations at all of the mines, completed 113 assessments, cleaned up over 50 contaminated structures, provided safe drinking water to over 3,000 families in partnership with the Indian Health Service, and completed cleanup, stabilization, or fencing at 29 mines.

Cleanup of the abandoned uranium mines is a coordinated effort between multiple federal agencies and the Navajo Nation.


Related Articles

ANS URGES CONGRESS TO DEVELOP U.S. FUEL SUPPLY FOR ADVANCED NUCLEAR

The American Nuclear Society wrote to Congress, urging the need for a domestic supply of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.

September 15, 2021, 3:42PMPress Releases

The United States Congress needs to take swift action to build a domestic supply of fuel for advanced reactors and to avoid future dependence on Russia for advanced nuclear fuel, the American...

Actinide Days are here!

August 26, 2021, 12:10PMANS News

ANS is celebrating Actinide Days by giving some exceptional radioisotopes the credit they deserve on social media, and today it’s double the fun, with both plutonium-238 and uranium-238...

U.S. power sector emissions drop in 2020

July 26, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector fell 10 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to the 17th and latest edition of Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric...