The Environmental Protection Agency and US Geological Survey document over 10,000 abandoned uranium mines in the US, most in 15 western states on public, private, and tribal lands. Over 4,200 of these mines produced uranium that was sold to the US Atomic Energy Commission for use in nuclear weapons from the 1940s through the 1970s. Starting in the 1960s, much of the mining was done to provide fuel for nuclear power plants.
There are several AUMs in and near the Grand Canyon, 169 of them within 40 miles of Mt. Rushmore, and eight right on the edge of Grand Teton / Yellowstone National Parks. One in seven (10 million) people in the western US lives within 50 miles of an AUM.
The Mining Act of 1872 governs hard rock mining (including uranium mining) on federal lands.
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