MOAB, Utah – Crews from EM’s Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project loaded and shipped the 10 millionth ton of uranium mill tailings to a dedicated disposal cell, a significant milestone in the 10-year-old cleanup.
The Moab Project’s Sept. 16 achievement means more than 62 percent of the estimated 16 million tons of mill tailings have been safely shipped for disposal away from the Colorado River.
To prepare tailings for removal, workers excavate and condition the tailings in drying beds to reach the optimal moisture content for disposal and to reduce shipping excess water. Excavators load tailings in steel containers with locking lids for transport to Crescent Junction, Utah, roughly 30 miles away. The Moab Project is currently shipping four trains a week.
“A decade ago, the project shipped its first trainload of material,” Moab Federal Cleanup Director Russell McCallister said. “We are proud to see the tremendous progress our team has made since then, all with a commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, and efficiently completing this project.”
The Moab Project continues at an accelerated pace. Since February 2019, the project has doubled its weekly train shipments from two to four. The project has shipped nearly 215,000 tons more than initially planned at the previous two-trains-a-week schedule.
Featured in DOE Office of Environmental Management EM Update Newsletter Vol.11, Issue 36 September 17, 2019
Contributor: Honora Thompson