The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started accepting bids this week to assess and plan a $1 billion cleanup of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo reservations.

The agency expects to spend $85 million on the planning stages, which would come from the $1 billion settlement with Kerr-McGee Corp., the operator of the mines in the southwestern US.

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The roughly 50 mines are scattered across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, and could contain dangerous levels of gamma radiation.

“This is only one element of a much larger project since 2008,” said Clancy Tenley, the EPA official who is directing the cleanup program in the Navajo Nation. “EPA and five other agencies have invested more than $100 million in cleaning up and assessing abandoned mines on the Navajo Nation.”

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Out of the more than 500 abandoned mines in the region, tribal and federal officials have determined that these 46 mines are in the worst shape, according to the Arizona Republic.

Reprinted with permission from E&E Publishing

Clean Up Negativity: Click To SharePhoto by Wolfgang Staudt, CC

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