U.S. delays groundwater cleanup rule for uranium mines amid GOP criticism

The Japan Times 

CHEYENNE, WYOMING – Federal officials withdrew a proposed requirement for companies to clean up groundwater at uranium mines across the U.S. and will reconsider a rule that congressional Republicans criticized as too harsh on industry. The plan that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put on hold Wednesday involves in-situ mining, in which water containing chemicals is used to dissolve uranium out of underground sandstone deposits. Water laden with uranium, a toxic element used for nuclear power and weapons, is then pumped to the surface. No digging or tunneling takes place. The metal occurs in the rock naturally but the process contaminates groundwater with uranium in concentrations much higher than natural levels.