The Department of Energy is closely monitoring the potential for flooding this spring at the site of a former uranium mill on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Tailings from the mill contaminated groundwater in the area decades ago. DOE had planned to let the uranium dissipate naturally over the next century, then flooding in 2010 caused an unexpected spike in contamination levels.
The crisis in Ukraine has rekindled calls for the US to export more of its newfound glut of natural gas overseas, but not everyone thinks that’s a good idea.
In recent days a number of Congressmen, including Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, have called for the Department of Energy to expedite its approval of natural gas export terminals. Barrasso says it would give the US more foreign policy leverage.
“The approval of contracts by the federal government, to say ‘this is going to go’ will undermine Russia’s pricing ability in the Ukraine and in Europe,” Barrasso says.
The Department of Energy and the Tribal Joint Business Council have signed a cooperative agreement for one year to address the work being done on the contaminated uranium mill tailings site on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The Riverton Site is where a uranium and vanadium ore processing facility operated until the 1960s. The DOE is responsible for long-term management of the site, but the Tribes have pushed for more involvement in the process.
The US Department of Energy has released data from sampling the agency did at the Riverton Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act Site in August. The area, which is on the Wind River Indian Reservation, was contaminated with uranium and vanadium in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a uranium mill processed ore there. In the ‘90s the DOE recommended waiting for natural dissolution to clean the site, and levels of contamination seemed to be diminishing predictably until a big flood in 2010.