Grand Junction, CO- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reached another milestone today for the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project, having shipped 5 million tons of tailings from the massive pile located in Moab, Utah, to the engineered disposal cell near Crescent Junction, Utah. The pile comprised an estimated 16 million tons total when DOE’s Remedial Action Contractor EnergySolutions began relocating the tailings in April 2009, less than 3 years ago.
The tailings are transported by rail in containers away from their current location next to the Colorado River to Crescent Junction 30 miles north. The Moab Project currently ships one train a day, 4 days per week. With today’s shipment, the project also reached record of 69 consecutive trainloads carrying the maximum 144 containers without a missed shipment.
The Moab Project has another major accomplishment to celebrate: reaching 1.5 million work hours without a lost workday due to injury. “Being more than 30 percent complete is a tremendous accomplishment,” says Federal Project Director Donald Metzler. “To reach this milestone and do it safely is the best of both worlds. We have used our limited funding to maximize our shipments.”
“I want to congratulate all employees on this significant cleanup milestone for the Moab Project,” said Val Christensen, President and CEO of EnergySolutions. “Their hard work, dedication, and attention to safety have made this day possible. I also want to congratulate Don Metzler for his leadership and commitment to safely removing nearly one third of the pile from the banks of the Colorado River.”
The tailings are placed in a DOE-constructed disposal cell near Crescent Junction and capped with a 9-foot-thick, multi-layered cover composed of native soils and rock. Excavation of the second portion of the disposal cell was completed in December 2011. Final cover material is placed as portions of the compacted tailings meet the final grade.