In 2013, a team of New Mexico Tech researchers began a study of uranium transport, uranium source characteristics, and uranium legacy issues in New Mexico. The effort was funded by Energize New Mexico, a five-year NSF EPSCoR program that concluded in 2018 and that encompassed five research components focused on developing non-carbon emitting energy technologies. The uranium team, which included researchers from UNM, addressed uranium deposits and mine waste mainly in the Grants Mining District, including Laguna Pueblo, and on Navajo Nation lands. These uranium studies span a range of science and engineering disciplines, and not only provide new conclusions impacting remediation, hazard management, and uranium extraction, but hold implications for human health.
Among the researchers were Bureau of Geology scientists, Bonnie Frey, a geochemist who lead the New Mexico Tech team, and Virginia McLemore, an economic geologist. What follows is a summary of the research conducted by members of this team.
Below are the links to the topics studies in this program.
- Microbiology of a reclaimed uranium mine
- Uranium transport by wind-blown dust
- Inventory of historic uranium mines
- Uranium dissolution from dust by bodily fluids
- Uranium mineralization at St. Anthony Mine
- Leaching tests of uranium-bearing waste materials
- Development of a uranium-specific filtrate for water purification
- New Mexico deposits and in-situ recovery of uranium
The full team of New Mexico Tech and University of New Mexico researchers also collaborated with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque to produce a permanent exhibit of this work.
New Mexico EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is intended to improve the state’s ability to do scientific research. It is funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) award #IIA-1301346.