No Uranium Ore Exposure for Grand Canyon Park Employees

Mar 13, 2019

Officials at Grand Canyon National Park say no visitors or employees were exposed to uranium ore discovered last summer in a public building. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, samples of the mineral sat in the open for nearly 20 years. 

OSHA investigators at the Grand Canyon's museum collections building measuring the radiation levels of three buckets of uranium ore last summer.
Credit Elston Stephenson

Preliminary findings show previous radiation levels taken in a museum facility on the South Rim were drastically overstated. That’s according to park officials working together with state health and safety experts. Newer measurements and other information show radiation is now consistent with normal, naturally occurring levels found at the Grand Canyon.

Three five-gallon buckets full of uranium ore were discovered last June, and removed from the building which houses artifacts and hosts tour groups. Last month, the Grand Canyon’s safety director sent out a park-wide email warning workers of potential harm, and officials began an investigation.

Uranium is naturally occurring in northern Arizona, and was mined for decades near the park.