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Uranium mining and the Navajo people

The United States encourages uranium mining production because of the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union , its opponents in the Cold War . Large uranium deposits were found on the Navajo Reservation in the Southwest , and these were developed through the 20th century. The absence of environmental protection in the environment and the protection of the environment and the protection of the environment and the protection of marine resources.

Private companies hired many Navajo employees to work the mines. Disregarding The Known Health Risks of exposure to uranium, the private companies and the United States Atomic Energy Commission failed to inform the Navajo workers about the dangers and to Regulate the mining to minimize contamination. As they were collected, they were slow to take action for the workers. Studies show that the Navajo mine workers and other cancers, including cancers (including Xeroderma pigmentosum ) [1]and other diseases, from environmental contamination. For decades, industry and the government failed to regulate or improve conditions, or inform workers of the dangers. As high rates of illness Began to Occur, workers Were Often unsuccessful in court cases seeking compensation, and the states at first officiellement Did not Recognize radon illness. In 1990, the US Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act .

Despite efforts made in cleaning up uranium sites, significant problems of uranium development persisted on the Navajo Nation and the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Hundreds of abandoned mines, and these present environmental and health risks in many communities. [2] The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are 4,000 uranium mines with uranium production, and another 15,000 locations with uranium occurrences in 14 western states. [3] Most are located in the Four Corners area and Wyoming. [4]

The Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (1978) is a United States environmental law That Amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and authorized the Environmental Protection Agencyto suit les health and environmental standards for the stabilization, restoration , and disposal of uranium mill waste . [5] Cleanup has continued to be difficult, and EPA administers several Superfund sites located in the Navajo Nation.


The Navajo People in the 1930s, when the federal guardian to the Navajo Nation attempted to decide what to do on their land.

But pressure for mining increased in the postwar years, when the United States believed it had to develop its resources to compete with the Soviet Union in the Cold War . In 1948, the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) announced it would be the sole purchaser of any uranium mined in the United States, to cut off dependence on imported uranium. The AEC would not mine the uranium; it contracted with private mining companies for the product. [6]The subsequent mining boom led to the creation of thousands of mines; 92% of all western mines were located on the Colorado Plateau because of regional resources. [7]

The Navajo Nation encompasses portions of Arizona , New Mexico , and Utah , and their reservation was a key area for uranium mining. More than 1000 mines were established by leases in the reservation. [7] From 1944 to 1986, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Navajo people worked in uranium mines on their land. [8] Other work is scarce Was and near the reservation, And Many Navajo men Traveled miles to work in the mines, sometimes Taking Their families with em. [6]

Between 1944 and 1989, 3.9 million tons of uranium were mined from the mountains and plains. [9] In 1950, the US Public Health Service made a massive study of uranium miners. In 1962 it published the first report to show a correlation between cancer and uranium mining. [7] The federal government was finally regulated in the amount of radon in mines, setting the level at .3 WL on January 1, 1969. [6] The Environmental Protection Agency was established on December 2, 1970. Purpose, environmental regulation could not repair the damage already suffered. Navajo miners contracted lung cancerat much higher rates than the rest of the population, caused by breathing in radon. [6]

Private companies resisted regulation through lobbying Congress and state legislatures. In 1990 the United States Congress finally Passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Granting repairs For Those affected by the radiation . The act was amended in 2000 to address criticisms and problems with the original legislation. [7]

The tribal council and delegate access Navajo Remained in control of mining decisions before the adverse health effects of mining Were APPROBATION. [10] No one fully understood the effect of radon exposure for miners , as it was insufficient data before the expansion of mining. [11] [12]

Church Rock Uranium Mill Spill

On July 16, 1979, the tailings pond at United Nuclear Corporation’s uranium mill in Rock Church, New Mexico , breached its dam. More than 1,000 tons of radioactive mill waste and 93 million gallons of acidic, radioactive tailings solution and mine effluent flowed into the Puerco River , and contaminants traveled 80 miles (130 km) downstream to Navajo County, Arizona . [13] The flood backed up sewers, affected nearby aquifers and left stagnating, contaminated pools on the riverside. [14] [15] [16]

More radioactivity was released in the Three Mile Island accident than occurred four months earlier. [17] It has been reported as the largest radioactive accident in US history.

The state contingency plan of the Navajo public is more often than not. Local residents did not learn immediately about the toxic hazard. [17] The locals were accustomed to using the riverside for recreation and herb gathering. Residents who have waded in the acidic water went to hospital complaining of burning feet and were misdiagnosed with heat stroke. Sheep and cattle died en masse. [15] The Navajo Nation asked the governor of New Mexico for a request for assistance from the US Government and the declared site, but the governor refused. [17] This is the Navajo Nation received.

For nearly two years, the state and federal government in the water market, but ended the program in 1981. Farmers had little choice of water for livestock and crops. [18]

Health studies on exposure to uranium

Concerned over the adverse health consequences which Europeans experienced from uranium mines, William Bale and John Harley conducted an independent study. Their work led the US government to start the United States Public Health Study (USPHS) on uranium mine workers. Bale and Harley’s studies focused on identifying the level of radon in mines and correlating with disease , specifically lung cancer. Radon, they found, which would be inhaled and evenly concentrated in the lung tissue. Because of this action, radon gas concentrations are up to 100 times higher than the amount of radon gas indicated. [7] The USPHS was launched in 1951, with two goals: to identify uranium mine environmentexposures, and to conduct a medical evaluation of the miners. [7]

Ethical concerns

The USPHS study raised ethical concerns. The Navajo workers were rarely notified of the possible dangers which the USPHS was studying. [6] As late as 1960, the USPHS consents to failure of the mine. [7] The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, created in 1994 to explore the treatment of workers, said: “‘They had been better informed, they were able to , which may have resulted in some mines being ventilated later than they were. ” [7] The USPHS failed to abide by a centerpiece of Nuremberg Code(1947), by failing to have informed consent of the subjects of a research study. [6]

In 1952, the USPHS issued two reports, reporting exceptionally high concentrations of radon in these uranium mines, even higher than those found in European mines years before. [7] Medically, there was little evidence of sickness. Aim, the latency of exposure to disease, also found among the European cases, explains why there were few medical effects observed at this early stage. [7] In a private meeting between the AEC and the USPHS, the AEC informed the USPHS that it was not possible to cause high levels of cancer, but proper ventilation of the mines could avoid the problem. [6] The government failed to take any action on this finding. [6]

Continued effects and research

The USPHS continued to study uranium miners, eventually including 4,000 American Indian and non-Indian underground uranium miners. They added miners in 1951, 1953, 1954, 1957 and 1960. [7] In 1962, the USPHS published the first account of the effects of radon exposure. It is a significant correlation between radon exposure and cancer. [6] Additional studies were published in 1968, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1987, 1995 and 1997; These demonstrations of linear exposure between radon exposure and lung cancer, a latency period of 20 years between radon exposure and health effects, and noted that, while smoking tobaccoBecause of a shorter period of time for the development of cancer, it did not fully explain the relationship between radon and cancer. [7] Similar reports found instances of other diseases such as pneumoconiosis , tuberculosis , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other diseases of the blood . [7] A 2000 study of the number of cancer cases among Navajo uranium mine workers concluded that the miners were 28.6 times more likely to contract the disease than the study’s control group. [19]

Many miners died from radiation-related illnesses. A 1995 report published by the American Public Health Association found:

Lung cancer, pneumoconiosis and other respiratory diseases, and tuberculosis for Navajo uranium miners. The most important long-term mortality risks for the Navajo uranium mines continue to be lung cancer and pneumoconiosis and other nonmalignant respiratory diseases. ” [20]

Over the decades, Navajo miners extracted some million tons of uranium ore, which was used by the US government primarily to make nuclear weapons. Some miners, unaware of the adverse health effects, with their family homes. These were found to be contaminated, with the family at risk. In 2009, those people began to relocate occupants until the homes could be rebuilt. [21]

United States government response

Following the publication of the reports in the early 1950s, some private contractors successfully ventured their mines. The states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah have established minimum standards for radon concentrations (Dawson and Madsen 2007). But, the AEC was lax in the enforcement of the rules; AEC commissioners did not establish national radon standards at the time the studies were released. [7] The AEC said it had no authority to regulate uranium, but it regulated beryllium . The health and activist communities have criticized the AEC for its failure to take action related to the scientific reports. The agency repressed the reports. [7]

Government and uranium industry staff were privy to the information, but it was not until the 1960s that workers were informed of the environmental hazards. [7] The government response continued to be slow. Regulation of the uranium industry was first debated in 1966, but little progress was made. Journalists began to publish stories detailing the illnesses of uranium miners, giving them public attention. [6] In 1969, Congress set the standard radon level for mines at .3 WL. [6]

Navajo miners was trying to find a way to get compensation for health damages, but often lost in short. But the publicity, presentation of harmful evidence, and victim testimony to their cause. [7] Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was the first senator to propose a Radiation Compensation bill, with the goal of collecting lawsuits and compensating victims fully, though it was defeated in 1979. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) 1981 compensation was made with a similar fate, and in 1983 did not reach the Senate floor. [7]

Progress toward legislation

In 1989, Orrin Hatch, supported by fellow Utah Representative Wayne Owens (D-UT), sponsored the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which was signed into law by President George HW Bush on October 15, 1990. [7]The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA): “Controlling and Controlling the Treatment of Hypertension” uranium industry during the build-up to the Cold War. ” [22] The United States Department of JusticeEstablished regulations for Implementing the act, related to Individuals eligible for payment, and guidelines for identification, Including wedding licenses , birth certificates and official documents, some of the Navajo qui Did not Possess. In some cases, the government did not recognize individual’s documentation as legitimate. [7]

With additional data from the public health studies (PHS), the 2000 Revised Amendments of the United States of America and uranium ore transporters), providing for compensable diseases, thereby allowing more claims to be eligible to qualify. ” [23] As of November 17, 2009, the government has paid claims of 21,810 people , denied 8,789, and paid $ 1,455,257,096 in reparations. [24]

Abandoned Mine Land program

The Navajo Nation Abandoned Mine Land (s) (NN AML) are numerous United States Environmental Protection Agency -designated “AML sites” on lands of the Navajo people who have been used for mining (eg, uranium) . Sites include:

  • Abandoned Uranium Mines on the Navajo Nation, Arizona (Site NNN000906087); a region with many of the “521 abandoned uranium mine areas”. [25]
  • Skyline Abandoned Uranium Mine, Utah; in Monument Valley at Oljato Mesa [26]
  • AUM Skyline Waste Piles (NN000908358)
  • Northeast Rock Mine Church, New Mexico (NECR, NNN000906132); “mostly on Navajo tribal trust land”, “the highest priority abandoned mine cleanup in [sic] the Navajo Nation”, and a site which adjoins the United Nuclear Corporation (UNC) uranium mill Superfund site “on private fee land”. [27]

“During the late 1990’s, portions … were closed by the Navajo Nation Abandoned Mine Land Program”. [26]


This specific Superfund site for the AUMs on Navajo land has been in existence since 1994. This is following many years of research on the health effects of uranium mining which eventually led to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990. Since its acceptance as a Superfund site , many federal, tribal, and grassroots organizations have come together to assess and remediate contamination sites on the Navajo Nation. Due to the fact that there are hundreds of contaminated sites, there have been a few big successes and many communities stuck in limbo. The following is a history of this superfund site, the organizations that have collaborated on this environmental remediation, and recent criticisms of the handling of this large and complicated problem.

The Abandoned Uranium Mines on the Navajo Nation were established as a Superfund site in 1994 in response to a Congressional Hearing brought by the Navajo Nation on November 4, 1993. This hearing included the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE ), and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Superfund statuses de la Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) which permits the United States federal government to assign funds for environmental remediation of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. [28] The Navajo Nation is located in Region 9 (Pacific Southwest) of the Superfund which serves Arizona ,California , Hawaii , Nevada , the Pacific Islands , and Tribal Nations. The site is official EPA # is NNN000906087 and it is located in Congressional District 4. According to the EPA’s Superfund site overview, other names for the AUM may include “Navajo Abandoned Uranium Mines” or “Northeast Rock Mine Church.” Church Rock Mine is one of the EPA’s most successful clean-up sites among over 500 sites spanning the 27,000 square mile Navajo Nation. [29]

Nearly four years after the initial Congressional Hearing, the EPA announced their first helicopter survey for the AUMs in September 1997. Located in the Oljato area in Southeastern Utah near the Utah-Arizona border, this is one of several helicopter surveys that aims to measure ” radiation ( gamma radiation ) from the perspective of uranium nanoparticles. “The aim of these surveys is to determine these sites. . ” [30]

Over ten years later, on June 9, 2008, the EPA announced its five-year plan for the clean-up of uranium contamination on the Navajo Nation. [31] This five-year plan contains nine specific objectives for 2008-2012: assess up to 500 contaminated structures and remedies that poses a health risk; assess up to 70 possible contaminated water sources and assist those affected by it; assess and require cleanup of AUMs via a tiered ranking system of high priority mines; Clean Church Rock Mine, the highest-priority mine; remediate groundwater of abandoned uranium milling sites; assess the Highway 160 site; assess and clean Tuba City Dump; assess and treat health conditions for populations near AUMs; and lastly to summarize the action of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) in its assistance to the Navajo Nation’s cleanup efforts. Since the introduction of the five-year plan, the EPA has released a progress report (available online) each consecutive year. As of August 2011, the EPA lists its accomplishments as: screening 683 structures, sampling 250 unregulated water sources and shutting down 3 such contaminations, provision of public outreach and educational programs for safe water practices, instituting a 2.6 million dollar water hauling feasibility project , and providing up to 386 homes with clean drinking water through a 20 million dollar project with Indian Health Services. For 2012, the EPA has been designated as one of the following:[32]

According to the EPA’s website, the AUM Superfund site is not on the National Priorities List (NPL) and has no proposals to be put on this list. The NPL is the list of hazardous sites that are deemed eligible for long-term environmental remediation. The EPA suggests that it is not possible for the uranium mines on the Navajo nation. NPL status guides the EPA in its decisions on sites to further investigate, [33] a process that has been criticized for the handling of these mines. With over 500 uranium sites, the New York Times (see Recent Press).

Partnership agencies

Superfund works with many agencies in the federal government and the Navajo Nation in order to properly assess and direct funding to mining sites. These agencies include: the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (NNEPA), the Indian Health Services(IHS), the Dine Network for Environmental Health (DiNEH), the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources (NNDWR), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NNEPA was established in 1972 as a separate regulatory branch of the Navajo Nation in 1995. The NNEPA also adopted the adoption of the Navajo Nation Environmental Policy Act. According to the NNEPA website, their mission is: “With respect to Dine values, to protect human health, land, air and water by developing, implementing and enforcing environmental laws and regulations with a commitment to public participation, sustainability, partnership, and restoration. . ” [34] (Dine is the word for Navajo in the traditional Navajo languageNNEPA consults with the US EPA on site assessments (the US EPA is the lead agency for the Site Assessment Project). NNEPA helps the EPA in assessing and deciding which contaminations should be demolished and which water sources should be considered a human health risk. The two collaborate to perform outreach for the Navajo people whose lives are affected by uranium mining. The Center for Disease Controland the DiNEH Project are also integral players in the assessment of water quality and community outreach. The Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources, with funding from the EPA, assisted Navajo residents by hauling water for residents near 4 contested water sources, to a 2.6 million dollar project. Indian Health Services helped the 20 million dollar drinking water project started in 2011. This project serves 386 homes near 10 contaminated water sources. The NNEPA, IHS, NNDWR, and DiNEH project have been partners with the US EPA in water hauling projects.

Community involvement and response

Forgotten People [35](FP) is a grassroots organization on the Navajo Nation which represents the health and well being of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The Full Name of This Organization is Forgotten People Dine Be Iina ‘na’ hil naa, meaning Dine Rebuilding Communities. Forgotten People began a political organization dedicated to advocacy for the Navajo people against forced relocation plans which spanned 1974 to 2007. When forced relocation programs were terminated in 2007, the organization shifted focus to a broader range of issues with a focus in environmental remediation. In 2009, Forgotten People received the Environmental Excellence Award from the NNEPA. Forgotten People is an integral aspect of the Black Falls water project, which involved collaboration with the US EPA to provide clean drinking water and educational outreach for the Black Falls community which was affected by uranium mining. The success of Black Falls with the evolution of the development of the water supply and the development of the water supply. . Their efforts have been coordinated by FP and funded by the US EPA. Forgotten People represents an evolving grassroots community which is moving from their own hands. The success of Black Falls with the evolution of the development of the water supply and the development of the water supply. . Their efforts have been coordinated by FP and funded by the US EPA. Forgotten People represents an evolving grassroots community which is moving from their own hands. The success of Black Falls with the evolution of the development of the water supply and the development of the water supply. . Their efforts have been coordinated by FP and funded by the US EPA. Forgotten People represents an evolving grassroots community which is moving from their own hands.

Forgotten People also gathers and displays relevant public records for a variety of issues facing the Navajo on their website. For their campaigns against uranium mining, their website displays all official responses. It also preserves the response of the President of the Navajo Nation in response to proposals for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon . In 2005, the President of the Navajo Nation, Joe Shirley, Jr. , signed the Dine Natural Resources Protection Act which banned uranium mining and processing on Navajo land. After signing the law, President Shirley stated, “As long as there are no answers to cancer, we should not have uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. I believe the powers that be committedgenocide on Navajo land by uranium mining. ” [36]

Criticism and press

Despite the EPA’s claims of a “strong partnership with the Navajo Nation,” recent articles have been published which call into question the equitability and efficiency of the EPA’s action on the abandoned uranium mines. On March 31, 2012, The New York Times published an article entitled “Uranium Mines Navajo Land Dot, Neglected and Still Perilous” [37]by Leslie MacMillan. The article suggests that politics and money are influencing the prioritization of mine clean-up efforts. David Shafer, an environmental manager at the United States Department of Energy, said that it is a question of whether or not there is a problem with the process of cleaning up. Similar issues are common in environmental remediation projects for victims of industrial pollution. While the EPA does prioritize that it is nearer to people’s homes, MacMillan highlights some remote locations where people have been neglected by the EPA. Cameron, ArizonaRancher Larry Gordy stumbled across an abandoned uranium mine on his grazing land for his cattle near Cameron in the summer of 2010. There are still no warning signs in the town of Cameron to alert people of potential contamination. On December 30, 2010 Scientific American published an article entitled “Abandoned Uranium Mines: An ‘Overwhelming Problem’ in the Navajo Nation” [38]by Francie Diep. Diep told Gordy’s story and reported that the EPA evaluated his site on November 9, 2010. Diep suggested that this date be moved up to publicity of Gordy’s story; The EPA had been promised to visit within six months of its original discovery of the uranium mine. Similar allegations of EPA priority were made for the Skyline Mine in the Oljato Mesa. Elsie Begay, a 71-year-old Navajo woman from the Oljato region was the topic of a series of articles in The Los Angeles Times in 2006. [39]These articles were written by Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a Betrayed People (2010) author Judy Pasternak. One EPA representative, Jason Musante, said this publicity “may have bumped the site up to the priority list.” MacMillan reports that the site at Cameron has yet to be given a priority by the EPA. When EPA officials were asked to report to the Cameron site, the officials declined to visit Oljato. MacMillan spoke with a Navajo hotel manager at the Skyline Mine who expressed hesitation about the EPAs remediation, stating, “That’s what they want you to see: something that’s all nice and clean up. MacMillan drew attention to the fact that these are grazing on contaminated land and people are eating these cattle. Taylor McKinnon, director at theCenter for Biological Diversity , went so far as to say the “worst he had seen in the Southwest.” Although the standard is tested, the standard tests for meat do not include checking for radioactive substances like uranium. The EPA has had an emphasis on health effects throughout its five-year plan, so the lack of any attention in this matter has raised eyebrows. In addition to the questioning of political bias in the priority of mining sites, there is some criticism of the EPA’s decision to revisit a 1989 permit. New Mexico ‘s KUNM radio station reported on May 9, 2012 that Uranium Resources Incorporated has expressed interest in starting production near Church Rock by the end of 2013.[40] An online petition has already gained nearly 10,000 signatures against this new mining initiative.

Navajo treatment, impact and response

Beginning in the 1960s, uranium miners were beginning to become ill with cancer. [6] The state of Utah did not recognize exposure to the disease, making unattainable workers’ compensation for many of the Navajo sick (Dawson and Madsen 2007). Private industry’s treatment of the Navajo workers was poor, selon recent standards: companies failed to educate workers is precautionary Measures, Did not install Sufficient engineering controls, Such As adequate ventilation; and did not provide sufficient safety equipment to protect the mine. [41] The Navajo were never told about the radiation effects, and did not have a word for it in their language. Many Navajo Did not speak English and trusted companies to the uranium-have Their interests in mind. [41] Navajo workers and residents have felt that the results of the case have become known, and the US government to try to prevent the damage, and to pay compensation. [41] Lung cancer became prevalent among the Navajo people who worked in uranium mines in Navajo lands in 2005. [8]

Allegations of racism

White workers also faced different conditions: Navajo workers were forced to enter the mine directly after a detonation, while it was filled with dust and smoke. However, the white workers were able to stay behind. [41] Navajo miners were paid less than minimum-wage, well below minimum wages. [42] [43] Until radon exposure safety standards Were Imposed by the Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz over the objections of the Atomic Energy Commission and the uranium mining industry in June 1967, [44] [45] mines lacked ventilation Exposing workers to radon .

Widows of mine workers to their grievance; they started a grassroots movement that eventually reached the Congressional floor. [6]

The Church Rock Uranium Mill Spill Raised Claims That Race A Factor in the Federal Government’s Paying Attention to the Disaster:

When there was a relatively minor problem at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, the entire attention of the nation was focused on this location and the state of the art. When the largest release of radioactive material in the history of the United States occurs in Navajo country, however, the attention paid to it by the Federal and State Authorities is minimal at best. [46]

-  Peter MacDonald, Chairman of the Navajo Nation

Enduring impact

Many residents of the Navajo Nation have concerns about the future because of large amounts of radioactive waste remaining. One Navajo Elder explains: “We, the elderlies, that resides around here do not know what was good and bad about the uranium. There have been several deaths in this area that have been affected by radiation or cancers. We need help. I lost my wife last year [to cancer] and now I am 87 years old. My wife would have been 70 years old which made a lot of difference. I am lonely and can not get anywhere without her help. I have been hurted and miserable. ” [41] In areas near uranium mills, residents suffer stomach cancerat rates 15 times those of the national level. In some areas, the frequency gets as high as 200 times the national average. [9] Hundreds of abandoned uranium mines exposed in the Navajo Nation area posing contamination hazard. [47] Near the formation of uranium mills, water contamination and the contamination of rocks which many residents used to build their houses, continues to be problems. [48]

A 1995 report published by the American Public Health Association found: “excess mortality rates for lung cancer, pneumoconiosis and other respiratory diseases, and tuberculosis for Navajo uranium miners. The most important long-term mortality risks for the Navajo Uranium Miners continues to be lung cancer and pneumoconioses and other nonmalignant respiratory diseases. “That is to say , which is not a cancer, which the Navajo people naturally have a higher rate of experiencing than the national US average. [20]

Clean-up efforts

Since 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Navajo Nation’s Environmental Protection Agency, has been mapping areas affected by radioactivity. In 2007, they compiled an atlas of the nuclear industry . [49] In 2008, the EPA implemented a five-year cleanup plan, focusing on the most pressing issues: contaminated water and structures. The EPA estimates that 30% of all Navajo people lack access to uncontaminated drinking water. [49]

The EPA is targeting 500 abandoned uranium mills as another part of their five-year cleanup plan, with the goal of ridding the area of ​​nuclear waste. [49] Its priority was identification of contaminated water sources and structures; many of the latter have been destroyed and removed. In 2011, it completed a multi-year project of removing 20,000 cubic yards of contaminated earth from the reservation, near the Skyline Mine, to controlled storage on the shelf. [50]

In 2017, a $ 600 million settlement to clean up 94 abandoned uranium mines. [51]

See also

  • Native American reservation politics
  • In-situ leaching
  • World Uranium Hearing
  • Church Rock uranium mill spill
  • Struggle for the Land
  • Nuclear labor issues
  • Environmental racism
  • Environmental racism in Europe
  • Thunderheart


  1. Jump up^ http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/rare-disease-suddenly-arises-on-navajo-reservation/review of documentary “Sun Kissed”
  2. Jump up^ Pasternak, Judy (2006-11-19). “A peril that dwelt among the Navajos” . Los Angeles Times .
  3. Jump up^ US EPA, Radiation Protection, “Uranium Mining Waste,” 30 August 2012 Web.4 December 2012,http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/uranium.html
  4. Jump up^ Uranium Mining and Extraction Processes in the United States,Figure 2.1. Mines and Other Locations with Uranium in the Western UShttp://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/tenorm/402-r-08-005-voli/402-r-08-005-v1-ch2.pdf
  5. Jump up^ Laws We Use (Summaries): 1978 – Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (42 USC 2022 and seq.) , EPA , retrieved December 16, 2012
  6. ^ Jump up to:m Brugge, Doug, Timothy Benally, and Esther Yazzie-Lewis. The Navajo People and Uranium Mining, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006
  7. ^ Jump up to:t Dawson, Susan E, and Gary E Madsen. “Uranium Mine Workers, Atomic Downwinders, and the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.” In Half Lives & Half-Truths: Confronting the Radioactive Legacies of the Cold War, pp. 117-143. Santa Fe: School For Advanced Research, 2007)
  8. ^ Jump up to:a Fettus B , Geoffry H .; Matthew G. Mckinzie (March 2012). “Nuclear Fuel’s Dirty Beginnings: Environmental Damage and Public Health Risks From Uranium Mining in the American West” (PDF) . National Resources Defense Council . National Resources Defense Council . Retrieved 29 April2014 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:a Pasternak b , Judy (November 19, 2006). “A peril that dwelt among the Navajos” . Los Angeles Times .
  10. Jump up^ Pasternak, Judy (2010). Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed . New York: Free Press.
  11. Jump up^ Brugge, Doug (2006). The Navajo People and Uranium Mining . Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  12. Jump up^ Judy Pasternak’sYellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed
  13. Jump up^ Pasternak,Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a Betrayed People, Free Press, 2010, p.149,ISBN 1416594833
  14. Jump up^ Brugge, D; Bui, C (September 2007). “The Sequoyah corporation fuels release and the Rock Rock spill: unpublicized nuclear releases in American Indian Communities” . Am J Public Health . 97 : 1595-600. PMC  1963288  . PMID  17666688 . doi : 10.2105 / AJPH.2006.103044 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Brendan Giusti “Radiation in Church Rock Spill Still Haunts 30 Years Later,” The Daily Times ( Farmington, New Mexico ), July 16, 2009 Section: Local
  16. Jump up^ Ferenc Morton Szasz,Larger Than Life: New Mexico in the Twentieth Century,UNM Press, 2006, pp.82-83,ISBN 0-8263-3883-6
  17. ^ Jump up to:c Brugge, D .; DeLemos, JL; Bui, C. (2007). “The Sequoyah Corporation Fuels Release and the Rock Spill Church: Unpublicized Nuclear Releases in American Indian Communities” . American Journal of Public Health . 97(9): 1595-600. PMC  1963288  . PMID  17666688 . doi : 10.2105 / AJPH.2006.103044 .
  18. Jump up^ Chris Shuey, MPH”The Puerco River: Where Did the Water Go?”,Southwest Research and Information Center,1986
  19. Jump up^ Brugge, Doug; Rob Goble (September 2002). “The History of Uranium Mining and the Navajo People”. American Journal of Public Health . PMC  3222290  .
  20. ^ Jump up to:b Roscoe, Robert J; Deddens James, A; Salvan, Albert; Schnorr, Teressa M (1995). “Mortality Among Navajo Uranium Miners”. American Journal of Public Health . 85 : 535-541. doi : 10.2105 / ajph.85.4.535 .
  21. Jump up^ Dan Frosch (July 26, 2009). “Uranium Contamination Haunts Navajo Country” . New York Times .
  22. Jump up^ United States Department of Justice. Radiation Exposure Compensation Program, About the Program. November 6, 2009.http://www.justice.gov/civil/torts/const/reca/about.htm(accessed October 28, 2009).
  23. Jump up^ United States Government Accountability Office. “United States Government Accountability Office.” September 7, 2007. www.gao.gov/new.items/d071037r.pdf – (accessed October 28, 2009).
  24. Jump up^ Department of Civil Justice Division, “Radiation Exposure Compensation System”, Radiation Exposure Compensation Program, 17 November 2009 (accessed November 17, 2009).
  25. Jump up^ “Abandoned Uranium Mines | Addressing Uranium Contamination on the Navajo Nation | Superfund | Pacific Southwest | US EPA” . www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2015-08-16 .
  26. ^ Jump up to:b http://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=6847
  27. Jump up^ “Northeast Church Rock Mine | Addressing Uranium Contamination on the Navajo Nation | Superfund | Pacific Southwest | US EPA” . www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2015-08-16 .
  28. Jump up^ “Superfund” . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  29. Jump up^ “Addressing Uranium Contamination in the Navajo Nation” . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  30. Jump up^ “US EPA to Perform Helicopter Survey of Abandoned Uranium Mines in the Oljato Area” (PDF) . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  31. Jump up^ “Health and Environmental Impacts of Uranium Contamination in the Navajo Nation Five-Year Plan” (PDF) . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  32. Jump up^ “Health and Environmental Impacts of Uranium Contamination in the Navajo NationEPA Progress in Implementing a 5-Year Cleanup Plan”(PDF) . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  33. Jump up^ “National Priorities List” . Retrieved 9 May 2012 .
  34. Jump up^ “NNEPA” . Navajonationepa.org . Retrieved 2012-05-18 .
  35. Jump up^ “Forgotten People | News, Events, and Activism concerning the Bennett Freeze trainer” . Forgottennavajopeople.org . Retrieved 2012-05-18 .
  36. Jump up^http://www.forgottennavajopeople.org/projects/advocacy/4%2030%2009%20Navajo%20Nation%20issues%20ban%20on%20uranium%20mining.pdf
  37. Jump up^ Leslie Macmillan (March 31, 2012). “Uranium Mines Navajo Land Land, Neglected and Still Perilous” . New York Times.
  38. Jump up^ Francie Diep (December 30, 2010). “Abandoned Uranium Mines: An” Overwhelming Problem “in the Navajo Nation” . Scientific American.
  39. Jump up^ “A peril that dwelt among the Navajos” . latimes.com. 2006-11-19 . Retrieved 2012-05-18 .
  40. Jump up^ “EPA Revisits Permit for What Could Be First in New Wave of Uranium Mines” . KUNM. 2012-05-09 . Retrieved 2012-05-18 .
  41. ^ Jump up to:e Dawson, Susan E. “Navajo Uranium Workers and the Effects of Occupational Illnesses: A Case Study,” Human Organization, Vol. 51, number 4, 1992: 389-397.
  42. Jump up^ Eichstaedt 1994, p. 38.
  43. Jump up^ Kuletz, Valerie (1998). The Tainted Desert . New York: Routledge. p. 25.
  44. Jump up^ Pasternak, Judy (2010). Yellow Dirt: A Poisoned Land and a Betrayed People . Free Press. p. 112. ISBN  1416594825 .
  45. Jump up^ Eichstaedt, Peter (1994). If You Poison Us: Uranium and Native Americans. Santa Fe, NM: Red Crane Books. pp. 71, 74.
  46. Jump up^ Mill Tailings Dam Break at Church Rock, New Mexico, US Congress, House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, October 22, 1979
  47. Jump up^ Diep, Francie (December 30, 2010). “Abandoned Uranium Mines: An” Overwhelming Problem “in the Navajo Nation” . Scientific American .
  48. Jump up^ “Uranium contamination at Navajo Reservation”,New York Times,27 July 2009
  49. ^ Jump up to:c United States Environmental Protection Agency. Addressing Uranium Contamination in Navajo Nation. October 7, 2009. http://www.epa.gov/region09/superfund/navajo-nation/index.html(accessed November 17, 2009)
  50. Jump up^ Felicia Fonseca, “Navajo woman helps prompt uranium mine cleanup”, Associated Press, carried inHouston Chronicle, 5 September 2011, accessed 5 October 2011
  51. Jump up^ “Feds: Agreement reached to clean up abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation” . Arizona Daily Sun . January 18, 2017 . Retrieved 2 February 2017 .

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