Uranium

The Department of Energy announced Friday that water being provided to residents of the Wind River Reservation is safe to drink.

Last week, DOE officials confirmed that tap water in four households on the reservation showed elevated levels of uranium nearly twice the legal limit.

This week, the DOE’s April Gil said in a statement that the elevated levels were inaccurate, the tap water has been retested, and is safe for consumption.

Last week, the Department of Energy announced that uranium at nearly twice the legal limit had been found in the tap water of four households on the Wind River Reservation. The event marks another incident in a long and troubled history in the area.  Wyoming Public Radio's Tristan Ahtone brings us this report on the find.

Tribal officials on the Wind River Reservation continue to seek answers after the Department of Energy announced that uranium was found in some residents' tap water.
DOE officials announced last week that data collected in the fall indicated that four households near a former uranium waste site had levels of uranium nearly twice the legal limit.

Tribal officials on the Wind River Reservation continue to seek answers after the Department of Energy announced that uranium was found in some residents' tap water.

DOE officials announced Wednesday evening that data collected last fall indicated that four households near a former uranium waste site had levels of uranium nearly twice the legal limit.

Dean Goggles is executive Director for the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission.

 

The BLM has drafted an Environmental Impact Statement on a proposed uranium mine near Rawlins. The project would stretch over more than 4,000 acres of land and would use in-situ technology, where they inject fluid into the ground to extract the uranium and then bring it to the surface to process.

Dennis Carpenter, the BLM’s Rawlins Field Manager, says the project doesn’t raise many concerns.

“It’s a pretty small project by most of our standards,” Carpenter said, adding that the area has been mined in the past.

In a February letter to the Department of Energy, Gov. Matt Mead expressed concern that the passive handling of uranium contamination on the Wind River Reservation might not be living up to the DOE’s remedial action plan.

The DOE asserted that the site would clean itself up after 100 years, and despite that uranium tailings were removed from the site decades ago, spikes in uranium were measured in DOE monitoring wells in 2010.

With problems over water contamination in the town of Pavillion, and possible actions to remediate a contaminated uranium site on the Wind River Reservation,  tribal officials have pushed to be the lead agency in both situations, as the areas impacted are within the boundaries of the reservation and impact tribal trust assets.

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a Joint Resolution asking Congress to increase funding and monitoring at the Riverton Uranium Mill Tailings remediation site.  Mill Tailings at the site, on the Wind River Reservation, constitute contaminated materials left over from the former Susquehanna-Western uranium mill that operated in the 50’s and 60’s.

Senator Cale Case told the Senate that the federal government had expected the site to naturally clean itself up after the company ceased operation in the area.  However, he says that hasn’t been the case…

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