nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Uranium mining has devastated Navajo land

Amid Toxic Waste, a Navajo Village Could Lose Its Land NYT, By DAN FROSCH,FEB. 19, 2014 CHURCH ROCK, N.M. — In this dusty corner of the Navajo reservation, where seven generations of families have been raised among the arroyos and mesas, Bertha Nez is facing the prospect of having to leave her land forever.

The uranium pollution is so bad that it is unsafe for people to live here long term, environmental officials say. Although the uranium mines that once pocked the hillsides were shut down decades ago, mounds of toxic waste are still piled atop the dirt, raising concerns about radioactive dust and runoff.

And as cleanup efforts continue, Ms. Nez and dozens of other residents of the Red Water Pond Road community, who have already had to leave their homes at least twice since 2007 because of the contamination, are now facing a more permanent relocation. Although their village represents only a small sliver of the larger Navajo nation, home to nearly 300,000 people, they are bearing the brunt of the environmental problems………

These days, this sprawling reservation, about the size of West Virginia, is considered one of the largest uranium-contaminated areas in United States history, according to officials at the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has been in the throes of an expansive effort to remove waste from around this tiny and remote Navajo village, and clean up more than 500 abandoned mine areas that dot the reservation……..

Between 2008 and 2012, federal agencies spent $100 million on the cleanup, according to the E.P.A.; an additional $17 million has been spent by energy companies determined to be responsible for some of the waste.

But the scope of the problem is worse than anyone had thought. The E.P.A. has said that it could take at least eight years to dispose of a huge pile of uranium mine waste that has sat near Red Water Pond Road since the 1980s — waste that must be removed before the area can finally be free of contamination.

But before the latest round of cleanup can begin, an application to remove the waste pile must be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which will then conduct environmental and safety reviews. That process will probably take two years, and there is the possibility that public hearings on the plan could extend the process several more years, said Drew Persinko, a deputy director for the commission.

That time frame seems unreasonably long for tribal members, who said that spending so long living away from the reservation has been difficult. So far, the E.P.A. has spent $1 million on temporary housing for residents of Red Water Pond Road;……

Today, the site near Red Water Pond Road holds one million cubic yards of waste from the Northeast Church Rock Mine, making it the largest and most daunting area of contamination on the reservation……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/us/nestled-amid-toxic-waste-a-navajo-village-faces-losing-its-land-forever.html?_r=0

February 21, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] mining practices absolutely devastate the environment, making native Navajo land, for instance, too toxic to live on despite hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on clean […]

    Pingback by Christina Sarich - The Myth of ‘Safe’ Thorium for Nuclear Energy - PRN.fm - PRN.fm | May 23, 2014 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: