United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Issues License Amendment Approving Stabilization Plan for Atlas Uranium Mill Tailings Pile in Utah


NRC Seal NRC NEWS
U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Office of Public Affairs Telephone: 301/415-8200
Washington, DC 20555-001 E-mail: opa@nrc.gov

No. 99-113
May 28, 1999

NRC ISSUES LICENSE AMENDMENT APPROVING STABILIZATION PLAN FOR
ATLAS URANIUM MILL TAILINGS PILE IN UTAH

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has signed a license amendment approving a plan for the Atlas Corporation to stabilize in place its uranium mill tailings pile near Moab, Utah.

The tailings pile resulted from operations of a uranium mill at the Moab site from 1956 until 1984. The facility has been owned by Atlas since 1962. Uranium is no longer processed at the site, and the mill has been dismantled except for one building.

The Atlas plan includes (1) re-grading the tailings to enhance drainage off the pile and (2) installing an earth and rock cover system over the pile. This cover system is intended to minimize radon escape, infiltration of rain water into the tailings (thus minimizing infiltration of tailings contaminants into the groundwater), and tailings erosion potentially caused by surface runoff from rain or flooding of the Colorado River.

The NRC issued a draft environmental impact statement on the proposal for public comment in January 1996 and held public meetings in Moab in April 1994, February 1996, and September 1998 to discuss the proposal. The agency issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement on the plan in March.

The NRC also issued a final technical evaluation report in March 1997, which concluded that Atlas' plan to dispose of mill tailings on site met NRC technical requirements.

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