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DOE Amends Decision for the Remediation of the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings in Moab, Utah

February 29, 2008 - 11:43am

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced an amendment to its 2005 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project to allow for the use of truck or rail in transporting residual radioactive materials from the Moab site in Utah.  These materials will be relocated to a new disposal site 30 miles north at Crescent Junction, Utah.

"The Department is committed to ensuring the protection of human health and the environment in the Moab area and in the communities served by the Colorado River," Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management Jim Rispoli said.  "Today's announcement is a step forward in fulfilling our Cold War cleanup obligations by moving the tailings pile in a safe and expeditious manner."

In the intervening years since the Record of Decision was signed, a highway expansion and the cost of rail upgrades have made truck transport the optimal method for beginning to relocate the tailings.  Further, increased flexibility and competition between transporters will achieve cost efficiencies, which will help accelerate the completion of the UMTRA project and reduce long-term risk.  All other aspects of DOE's original ROD, including conducting active remediation of contaminated groundwater at the Moab site, remain unchanged.  The Department also continues to develop a path forward for completion of the UMTRA project by 2019.

In 2001, Congress transferred responsibility for cleanup of the Moab site and vicinity properties to DOE.  The Moab Project Site is a former uranium milling facility about three miles northwest of the City of Moab in Grand County, Utah, on the west bank of the Colorado River at the confluence with Moab Wash.  The site covers roughly 400 acres and includes a 130-acre uranium mill tailings pile that occupies much of the western portion.  Since 2003, the interim remedial action system at the Moab site has captured and prevented more than 103 million gallons of contaminated groundwater from the Colorado River.  The Department's September 2005 ROD selected rail transportation as the preferred alternative for relocating the mill tailings pile.  Energy Solutions Federal Services, Inc. was awarded a contract in June 2007, through September 2011, to perform design and installation of a tailings-removal waste handling system and the initial tailings movement to relocate the Moab tailings and associated wastes to the Crescent Junction Site.

The Amended Record of Decision for the Remediation of the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings, Grand and San Juan Counties, Utah is available in the Federal Register or through our Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance.  Office of Environmental Management has more information on DOE's efforts to reduce risk and cleanup the environmental legacy of the Nation's nuclear weapons program.

Media contact(s):

Joann Wardrip, (202) 586-4940

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