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KSJD Local Newscast - December 18, 2023

A federal program tasked with surveying abandoned uranium mines used during the Cold War era held a meeting last week about mines located on the Navajo Nation. More than 3,400 defense-related uranium mines are scattered throughout the Four Corners region, the result of a prospecting rush beginning in the 1940s sponsored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. The meeting was held in Sanostee, New Mexico, a community that’s home to 12 such abandoned mines, many of which are located at the base of the Chuska Mountains near the Sanostee Wash. The Defense-Related Uranium Mine program, or DRUM, is a Department of Energy initiative started in 2017 to both survey abandoned mines and ensure they’re sealed off and inaccessible to the public. Some Sanostee residents who attended the meeting expressed concern about runoff from the mines and its effects on livestock that graze nearby, as well as potential health problems for residents, like cancer.

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Chris Clements is a former news reporter for KSJD. He had previously covered literary arts as a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily in Chautauqua, New York, and graduated with a degree in English from Arizona State University. At KSJD, Chris has collaborated with KUNC (northern Colorado NPR) on water conservation stories, and had his spots regularly featured on NPR's national newscasts.