GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – EM has reached a milestone of moving 9 million tons of uranium mill tailings from the Moab Site in Utah to the dedicated disposal cell near Crescent Junction, Utah.
The Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project’s Feb. 20 achievement means 56 percent of the estimated 16 million tons of mill tailings have been shipped for disposal.
“We are now on the downhill side of the tailings removal process, and we continue to make steady progress in relocating the tailings away from the Colorado River,” said Moab Federal Cleanup Director Russell McCallister.
Site employees have worked more than 500 days without a work-related, lost-time injury or illness.
In fiscal year 2017, remedial action contractor Portage, Inc. exceeded its annual goal of shipping 450,000 tons of mill tailings by relocating 466,600 tons. The project ships a trainload of tailings twice a week. Each shipment contains almost 4,700 tons of material.
Mill tailings are a sand-like material that remain from processing uranium ore. The tailings are transported by rail in sealed metal containers to Crescent Junction, which is 30 miles north of the Moab Site. The tailings are placed in an EM-constructed, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved disposal cell and capped with a 9-foot-thick, multi-layered cover composed of native soils and rock.