GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – More than 40 people from around the world met recently for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting to share lessons learned and address environmental aspects of uranium mining and remediation projects.
EM’s Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project hosted the meeting and provided a tour of EM’s project sites in Moab, Utah to the environmental and project managers, operators, researchers and regulators from the U.S. and 13 other countries in attendance.
The meeting at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction highlighted the local academic institution, which offers degrees in environmental science and geology and is expanding its engineering programs. University President Tim Foster welcomed the group.
Dr. Peter Woods, IAEA’s organizer, considered the meeting a success.
“I have had very positive feedback from participants,” he said. “With 26 technical talks involving over 40 participants from 13 IAEA Member States, the meeting was diverse and well attended. This shows the wide interest in the topic of the remediation of former uranium mining and milling sites.”
The participants toured the site where 16 million tons of mill tailings, the remains from the former uranium-ore processing mill, are being excavated, conditioned and placed in metal containers for shipment by rail to Crescent Junction for permanent disposal.
EM Federal Project Director Donald Metzler and Moab Technical Assistance Contractor Senior Program Manager Joe Ritchey described the regional geology and history to the tour participants as they traveled by bus 100 miles from Grand Junction to Moab.
Longtime Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison kicked off the tour in Moab, emphasizing the importance of working with the local community to gain support for cleanup projects.
Metzler, who gave an overview of the Moab project to the tour participants, has a long history of participation in IAEA meetings, especially with the Uranium Mining and Remediation Exchange Group, which was adopted under the IAEA in 2012.
“Being the host for one of these meetings, which I feel benefits our project as much as any of the others discussed, has been on my bucket list for many years. I’m glad we were able to show other parts of the world the important work that we’re doing to take care of our legacy waste,” Metzler said.
Woods expressed his appreciation for the tour.
“The field trip to the Moab project, including the disposal cell site at Crescent Junction, was a highlight for many,” Woods said. “I thank the DOE team for their great cooperation, organization and hospitality.”