The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan to clean up the Northeast Church Rock uranium mine located in the Navajo Nation, New Mexico.

The scope of work will involve the removal of about 1.4 million tons of radium and uranium contaminated soil at the mine, and placing it in a lined, capped facility.

EPA will carry out the multiyear cleanup in several phases and fund an independent technical advisor to aid the community in its understanding of the project.

The disposal cell will be designed with participation from the Navajo Nation, State of New Mexico, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Energy.

New Mexico environment secretary David Martin said that consolidating the waste into one repository would return the land to the Navajo Nation for their traditional use and will also ensure long-term stewardship to protect public health and the environment.