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Moab Marks 6-Million-Ton Cleanup Milestone

June 20, 2013 - 12:00pm

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At Tuesday's Grand County Council meeting in Utah, Moab Federal Project Director Donald Metzler, center, moves a piece from a plaque representing Moab’s uranium mill tailings pile to a plaque representing the disposal cell in recognition of the site achieving a milestone by shipping 6 million tons of the tailings. Grand County Council Chair Gene Ciarus is on the left and Grand County Council Vice Chair Lynn Jackson is on the right.

At Tuesday's Grand County Council meeting in Utah, Moab Federal Project Director Donald Metzler, center, moves a piece from a plaque representing Moab’s uranium mill tailings pile to a plaque representing the disposal cell in recognition of the site achieving a milestone by shipping 6 million tons of the tailings. Grand County Council Chair Gene Ciarus is on the left and Grand County Council Vice Chair Lynn Jackson is on the right.

Moab site workers stand in front of the container holding the 6 millionth ton.

Moab site workers stand in front of the container holding the 6 millionth ton.

At Tuesday's Grand County Council meeting in Utah, Moab Federal Project Director Donald Metzler, center, moves a piece from a plaque representing Moab’s uranium mill tailings pile to a plaque representing the disposal cell in recognition of the site achieving a milestone by shipping 6 million tons of the tailings. Grand County Council Chair Gene Ciarus is on the left and Grand County Council Vice Chair Lynn Jackson is on the right.
Moab site workers stand in front of the container holding the 6 millionth ton.

MOAB, Utah – 6,000,000 is a big number, and it marks a significant cleanup milestone in the Beehive State.

The Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project has successfully shipped 6 million tons of uranium mill tailings from the site to an engineered disposal cell near Crescent Junction. The milestone demonstrates continued progress toward relocating the 16-million-ton tailings pile away from the Colorado River. The tailings are the sandy process waste material from uranium mining.

“The federal budget continues to be stretched thin, and I am proud this project has used its limited funding wisely and is almost 38 percent complete,” said Moab Federal Project Director Donald Metzler.

At Tuesday's Grand County Council meeting in Utah, Metzler moved a piece from a plaque representing Moab’s uranium mill tailings pile to a plaque representing the disposal cell in recognition of the site moving the 6 millionth ton.

Also on Tuesday, Metzler spoke to senior citizens during their lunch at the Grand Center to tell them about the milestone. 

Metzler has been using the phrase “six down, 10 to go," referring to the 6 million tons removed and 10 million tons left to ship.

The tailings are transported by rail in sealed metal containers to Crescent Junction, 30 miles north of the Moab site. The tailings are placed in a DOE-constructed, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved disposal cell.

“The employees deserve the credit for this significant project milestone,” said Jeff Biagini, Remedial Action Contractor Project Manager for Portage, Inc. “Having a workforce that is dedicated to performing its work at the highest level and in the safest manner is what got us to this point.”

The site is located about three miles northwest of the city of Moab in Grand County. The former millsite encompasses approximately 480 acres. About 130 acres is covered by the tailings pile.

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