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Bacteria could restore uranium mining aquifers

Wyoming’s resurgent uranium industry could get a further boost from University of Wyoming scientists, whose research on post-mining environmental restoration is yielding promising results.

Research in UW laboratories has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a more effective way to remediate aquifers tapped by in-situ leach uranium mining, the technique used in the vast majority of Wyoming’s existing and planned uranium operations. If those findings are confirmed in the field, uranium companies could save significantly in groundwater restoration costs while achieving better results.

“The remediation process simply involves feeding the existing bacteria – no new bacteria are introduced,” said Kevin Chamberlain, a research professor in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. “The result is a better restoration for less cost to the mining company – a win-win situation for the environment, the state and the company.”
 
 

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