U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today announced that a Record of Decision (ROD) clearing the way for the removal of 11.9 million tons of radioactive Uranium Mill Tailings from the banks the Colorado River in Utah has been signed. Under the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project Site Record of Decision, the tailings will be moved, predominately by rail, to the proposed Crescent Junction, site more than 30 miles from the Colorado River.
"Today's announcement shows that through hard work and cooperative efforts, great progress can be made," Secretary Bodman said. "This decision demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling our Cold War cleanup obligations as well as preserving the long-term environmental health of the river and the many communities it serves."
In 2001 Congress transferred responsibility for cleanup of the Moab site and vicinity properties to DOE. The Moab Project Site is a former uranium ore processing facility about three miles northwest of the city of Moab in Grand County, 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.
DOE issued its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Moab Project in July 2005. In reaching its final decision, DOE considered the potential environmental impacts, costs, and other implications of both on-site and off-site disposal, and DOE considered all comments it received on the final EIS.
The Record of Decision for the Remediation of the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings, Grand and San Juan counties will be published in the Federal Register. Copies of the ROD will be placed in the Moab Project public reading rooms in the Grand County Public Library, Blanding Branch Library, and the White Mesa Ute Administrative Building. A copy will also be available on the Moab Project website at http://gj.em.doe.gov/moab, on the DOE National Environmental Policy Act website at www.eh.doe.gov/nepa, and in the DOE Public Reading Room in Grand Junction, Colorado. Copies may be requested by contacting DOE toll free at (800) 637-4575.