by Marjorie Childress

New Mexico In Depth

June 16, 2022

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission appears to have slowed its timeline for deciding whether to let another federal agency house uranium-contaminated debris on a mill site it regulates near Church Rock.  Local Navajo people and Navajo Nation officials object to the plan, saying the proposal doesn’t move debris far enough away from the community.

“It’s very surprising to me, in a good way,” Eric Jantz, an attorney for the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, said Thursday of the slow down in the commission’s approval process contained in a May 4 letter.

“Typically, the NRC sits back and waits for formal appeals, but this time they got involved at a critical juncture,” said Jantz, who represents the Red Water Pond Road Association, an organization formed by residents who live near two large abandoned mines and the mill site just north of Church Rock. The center has litigated on behalf of the community for decades to force cleanup of abandoned uranium waste and to resist future uranium mining. …

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