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DOE Moab Project Safely Removes 7 Million Tons of Mill Tailings

July 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

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View of the Crescent Junction disposal cell, looking northwest. From center left to right, the photo shows final cover, interim cover, tailings, and excavated cell ready to be filled.

View of the Crescent Junction disposal cell, looking northwest. From center left to right, the photo shows final cover, interim cover, tailings, and excavated cell ready to be filled.

(Grand Junction, CO) ― The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has safely moved another million tons of uranium mill tailings from the Moab site in Utah under the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project. This brings the total tailings shipped to an engineered disposal cell near Crescent Junction, Utah, to 7 million tons.

“We’re nearly 45 percent complete in relocating the 16-million-ton uranium mill tailings pile away from the Colorado River,” said Federal Project Director Donald Metzler. “I'm proud to say that this has been accomplished while keeping the focus on safety.”

In addition to tailings removal operations, the project is beginning the process of segregating and sizing debris from the former ore mill buildings that were buried in the southern corner of the pile. “We plan to begin shipping the debris to the disposal cell, mostly by rail, in fiscal year 2015,” said Remedial Action Contractor Project Manager Jeff Biagini.

Also, this summer, interim and final cover materials are being placed on a portion of the disposal cell where tailings have reached the design height.

The tailings are transported by rail in sealed metal containers to Crescent Junction, which is located 30 miles north of the Moab site. The tailings are placed in a DOE-constructed, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved disposal cell near Crescent Junction and capped with a 9-foot-thick, multi-layered cover composed of native soils and rock.

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