Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faster removal of uranium tailings on Colorado River

The U.S. Department of Energy has allocated $108 million to remove 16 million tons of uranium tailings on the banks of the Colorado River [right, credit Moabtailings.org] near Moab, Utah, by 2019, according to press reports. The funding will allow removal of 2 million more tons by 2011 and move up completion of the project from 2028.

The river is a major water source for Arizona, Nevada, and California. When I was director of the Utah Geological Survey in the 1990's, we critiqued initial plans to cap the tailings in place, for not noting that they lie in the floodplain on the outer bend of the river, making them highly vulnerable to erosion during high water, and carrying the tailings down river.

No comments:

Post a Comment