LM continues to work with the Navajo Nation to perform long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTS&M) at four Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) Title I sites located on the Navajo Nation. Compliance activities include monitoring and maintaining engineered disposal cells, as well as remediating groundwater.
The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. Uranium exploration, mining, and milling occurred in the Four Corners area; nearly 4 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from Navajo lands.
In 2007, DOE, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Indian Health Service, developed a coordinated Five-Year Plan (Plan) to address the impacts of uranium contamination in consultation with the Navajo Nation. The Five-Year Plan is a coordinated approach by the Federal agencies to address these impacts. The Plan outlines a strategy to better understand uranium issues on the Navajo Nation and to address those that pose the highest risks first.
LM provides updates about DOE’s progress in accomplishing activities specified in the Plan at EPA Uranium Stakeholder Workshops. LM representatives will participate in the fifth workshop in April 2013, in Gallup, New Mexico. The workshop brings Navajo stakeholders together with Federal and state agencies to learn about and offer feedback on efforts which address uranium issues on the Navajo Nation. The upcoming workshop also will solicit input on the next Five-Year Plan.
DOE holds a cooperative agreement with the Navajo Nation, particularly the Navajo Abandoned Mine Lands (AML)/Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Department, which provides resources to assist with long-term surveillance and maintenance activities, ensure appropriate physical and administrative controls are in place, review environmental reports, perform public relations, and support other important activities related to the UMTRCA sites. The Navajo AML/UMTRA Department also implements the Navajo AML Program, which has reclaimed 913 of the 1,032 uranium mine sites on the Navajo Nation.
DOE met its commitments in the first Navajo Nation Plan, including continuing operation of existing groundwater treatment activities, performing long-term surveillance and maintenance at four UMTRCA Title I sites to ensure they remain effective, and working with he Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency to remediate contamination found at the Tuba City, Arizona, Highway 160 Site. LM will continue to cooperate on the development of the next Five-Year Plan, consult with the Navajo Nation, and seek additional community input.
More information about Navajo AML reclamation efforts can be found at http://www.aml.navajo-nsn.gov/AML_Files/AMLReclamationPage.html, and about the work of the Navajo AML/UMTRA Department at http://www.aml.navajo-nsn.gov/index.html
Information about the four UMTRCA Title I sites located on the Navajo Nation may be found on the LM website at
http://www.lm.doe.gov/mexican_hat/Sites.aspx – Mexican Hat, Utah
http://www.lm.doe.gov/monvalley/Sites.aspx – Monument Valley, Arizona
http://www.lm.doe.gov/shiprock/Sites.aspx – Shiprock, New Mexico
http://www.lm.doe.gov/tuba/Sites.aspx – Tuba City, Arizona