Radioactive Cleanup Near Moab Reaches 5-Year Mark

Published on April 28, 2014 at 12:23PM


Credit: Deseret News.

he momentous mound of red, radioactive dirt just north of Moab is diminishing week by week, steadily eaten away by a federal removal and remediation project aimed at keeping the Colorado River safe from contamination. This week marked the five year anniversary of when the U.S. Department of Energy began the $1 billion cleanup of the 16 million tons of tailings left over a legacy of uranium mining at the now defunct Atlas Mill. The 130-acre site was leaching uranium and hazardous chemicals into the Colorado River, spurring contamination concerns for 30 million downstream users. In 2009, an infusion of $108 million in federal stimulus money fast-tracked the project, accelerating the removal of the tailings to a disposal site 30 miles away at Crescent Junction.