DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Earthmoving equipment in the process of removing 10.8 million tonnes of radioactive uranium tailings from a site just outside Moab, Utah. In 1952 Charlie Steen found the largest uranium deposit in the United States south of Moab and it went on to supply uranium to both the US military and civil nuclear establishments. The uranium was processed by the Uranium Reduction Company and the waste slurry was stored in an unlined pond adjacent to the Colorado river. After the mill was closed in 1984 the pond was capped but pollutants from the waste tailings are leaching into the river, with lethal effect on fish, primarily from high concentrations of ammonia.The current removal program is called the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project, and the material is being moved, mostly by rail, to a permanent disposal site 32 miles north, near Crescent Junction.
Model release not required. Property release not required.