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Cleaning up the Cold War – A K-Tec Mini-Documentary

Mini-Documentary focusing on the boom and bust of the uranium industry and the reclamation earthwork required to bring a uranium mine back to its original environment. The McIntosh Pit is a former uranium mine site that has undergone a multi-phase reclamation near Jeffrey City, Wyoming. The former boomtown of Jeffrey City in Freemont County is located on Highway 287 about 90 miles west of Casper, Wyoming. The community experienced rapid population and economic growth in conjunction with the previously profitable and high-demand uranium mining industry during the Cold War era. As the local mining district attempted to meet the ever-growing demand for the radioactive element during the Cold War arms race with the Soviet Union, the focus was solely on political tensions, without a vision for the long-lasting environmental implications. Timeline of Events 1950s: Cold War-era tensions triggered a need for Uranium, the main atomic bomb ingredient. 1958: Western Nuclear Corporation (WNC) doubled its uranium milling capacity, employing 1,000 boomtown citizens of Jeffrey City for over 20 years. 1975: WNC began uranium mining operations at the McIntosh Pit on Sheep Mountain. Over 4 million tonnes of ore had been extracted, to capitalize on sky-high uranium values. 1979: The uranium mining bubble burst with the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island. WNC laid off hundreds of employees to react to the changing economic conditions. 1982: WNC’s workforce dwindled down and production ceased. McIntosh Pit mine was abruptly abandoned. 95% of Jeffrey City’s population left the area frozen in time. 2014: Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program administered by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) initiated a $26.2M, multi-year plan with 7 project phases to reclaim the McIntosh Pit back to the original landscape, prior to uranium mining operations. 2020: Phase 5 contract was awarded to Summit Excavation & Grading who proposed a unique method of excavation services to complete the challenging 8-month project. Today, Wyoming is one of the leading states in cleaning up abandoned sites to protect their environment for future generations to enjoy. Throughout the project, Summit strategically saved and stockpiled the topsoil while the subgrade was being reached. The topsoil was then hauled and spread either with scrapers or in some challenging locations, with the EJB. The technological prowess of the company shone as both the subgrade and finish grades were put in by GPS automated machines to meet the requirements of the 3D model original landscape. The final spreading of the brown topsoil above of the dusty Wyoming sand provided a fertile foundation for the landscaping subcontractor to plant native species. The plants took root to close the phase of the project, leaving future generations without a visible trace of the uranium boom and bust in these acres of Crooks Gap. Summit Excavation used their efficient fleet of equipment to return the land back to the beautiful home on the range. To read the complete complementary editorial news article, visit: https://ktec.com/news/cleaning-up-the-cold-war/ Historical footage clips courtesy: https://youtu.be/YOQswEHV5hE https://youtu.be/gr9VekwQWFM https://youtu.be/eGI7VymjSho Read full article