Friday, December 12, 2008

Navajo Nation calls for clean-up of 520 uranium mines

The Navajo Nation's top health official told the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, that a long-term, comprehensive assessment and research program with adequate resources is needed to address 520 uranium mines on the Navajo Nation that were abandoned between 1944 and 1986 without being cleaned up. [right, Navajo miners near Cameron, AZ, 1956. Credit, Cline Library, NAU. Fronske Studio]

Health Division Executive Director Anslem Roanhorse Jr. said only one site has been fully assessed so far, the U.S. EPA estimated the total volume of contaminated materials to be about 871,000 cubic yards. That one site alone has more than 4 times the volume of materials cleaned up at the City of Times Beach, Missouri dioxin site over a period of 14 years and a cost of $110 million. So, the implications are that a reservation-wide clean up effort could be hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.

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