Uranium mill becomes waste dump

MUSKOGEE – Problems related to the contamination of radioactive waste generated at two area facilities shuttered decades ago have spread to a uranium mill in Utah.

A report released Tuesday by the Grand Canyon Trust details how White Mesa Mill, the last functioning uranium mill in the United States, has become "America’s cheapest radioactive waste dump." The report, The Business of Radioactive Waste, chronicles how more than 700 million pounds of radioactive wastes wound up being buried in the mill’s waste pits a mile outside Bears Ears National Monument.

The authors of the report cite documents that trace 26 million pounds of radioactive waste to the shuttered Fansteel facility near the Port of Muskogee. The waste was a byproduct of Fansteel’s extraction of tantalum and columbium from ore and slag, which was pulverized then digested using hydrofluoric acid, and extracted from the acidic solution using an organic solvent.

Another 21.94 million pounds, […]

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