Office of Legacy Management

LM Director Plans Visits to Former Uranium Mill Sites in Texas

March 9, 2018

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U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) Director Carmelo Melendez will travel to south Texas during the week of March 13, 2018, to visit four former uranium mill sites.

Melendez’s itinerary includes Falls City, a site that was remediated under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) Title I program and at which LM performs long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTSM) today. He will also visit the Conquista, Ray Point, and Panna Maria sites, which are undergoing cleanup and regulatory closure. The latter sites will transition from private ownership to LM for LTSM under Title II of UMTRCA when remedial action is complete.

Each of the sites contains a disposal cell that encapsulates low-level radioactive material from uranium milling operations. When these sites were operating, the mills used leaching processes to separate uranium from crushed ore. The “tailings” left behind are the radioactive material that is placed in the disposal cell.

The trip is part of a larger initiative by Melendez, who was appointed LM Director in December 2016, to familiarize himself with LM sites around the nation. LM is committed to protecting human health, safety, and the environment through LTSM of remediated sites where radioactive materials were used.

At the Falls City site, which DOE remediated between 1992 and 1994, Melendez will get a close look at LM’s LTSM efforts.

At the Title II sites, he will discuss site operations, land use issues, and health and safety protections with representatives from Rio Grande Resources, the licensee for the Panna Maria site; ExxonMobil, the licensee for the Ray Point site; and ConocoPhillips, the licensee for the Conquista site.

LM works closely with the State of Texas regulators, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the licensees to reach solutions that are protective of public health and environment at these transition sites.

LM’s mission is to fulfill DOE’s post-closure responsibilities and ensure the future protection of human health and the environment. For more about the office, please visit www.energy.gov/lm/office-legacy-management.

The Panna Maria, Texas, Disposal Site.
The Panna Maria, Texas, Disposal Site. Approximately 6.8 million tons of uranium ore were processed at the former mill, which shut down in 1992. Site reclamation was complete in 2015.