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Trainees to cleanup uranium contamination on Navajo land

About 20 students are poised to graduate from a program that trains people to clean up Navajo Nation land poisoned by the mining and milling of uranium ore.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that more than 100 applicants tried to get into the class, but only about 20 were picked for the three-week training.

Radioactive material began contaminating the Navajo Nation's land and water during the 1940s when uranium was in high demand by the federal government.

Federal and tribal regulators have teamed up since 2007 to clean up sites scattered across 27,000 square miles of Navajo Nation land.

Federal regulators say about 30 percent of the Navajo population doesn't have access to a public drinking water system and may be using unregulated water sources with uranium contamination.