News:New attention to Church Rock uranium spill comes 30 years later

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Thirty years ago today, an earthen tailings dam near the United Nuclear Corp. Church Rock Uranium mine collapsed, spilling ninety million gallons of liquid radioactive waste and eleven hundred tons of solid mill wastes into the Rio Puerco.

The spill contaminated water, land and air at least 50 miles downstream on Navajo Nation land in New Mexico and Arizona.

It is believed that more radiation was released in the spill than in the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania, making the Church Rock spill the largest release of radioactive waste ever in the U.S. — and second only to the Chernobyl meltdown globally. The privately-owned site of the Church Rock spill is a Superfund site — and it is still leaking radioactive waste throughout Indian lands to this day.

The New Mexico Independent, By Tracy Dingmann 7/16/09 9:35 AM