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Wed May 26, 2010
Researcher works on restoring uranium mine sites
By Renny MacKay
Laramie, WY – A Texas researcher was in Wyoming this week to talk about a new technique for restoring groundwater to its natural state after uranium mining. Specifically this applies to in-situ uranium mining; where water is pumped into the ground to get uranium out. Texas A and M at Kingsville professor, Lee Clapp, says uranium companies try to get uranium levels back to original levels when they're done mining.
"There are some sites that revert to baseline concentrations naturally. They're naturally reducing. There are other sites that are very difficult and it is those sites we're targeting."
Clapp is working on a process of injecting hydrogen into the ground after the in-situ mining. The concern is that if uranium doesn't go back to its original concentration it could move through the ground into a drinking water aquifer. This technique has showed promise in Texas and Clapp says he is hoping to collaborate with researchers in Wyoming to test the process here.
Clapp was in Laramie to participate in the Produced Waters conference hosted by the Ruckleshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources.