Western U.S. turned into “radiant wasteland” by nuclear-related facilities
The [uranium] tailings made Moab [Utah] glow — and not in a good way. For nearly 30 years, the various companies that operated the facility dumped ton after ton of the radioactive sandy byproduct into an unlined impoundment area located 750 feet from the river. Over the decades, this Geiger-hot waste, which ultimately totaled 12 million cubic yards, was spread over 130 acres at a depth of more than 80 feet. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), which took over remediation of the site, the tailings “have an average radioactivity of 665 picocuries per gram of radium-226,” and because the center of the monstrous pile has a “high water content…excess water in the pile drains into underlying soils, contaminating the ground water.”
Some the deleterious consequences are revealed in “The American West at Risk,” an illuminating book whose authors pay special attention to the Moab mill. It’s hard to dispute their claim that it ranks “high in the annals of indiscriminate disposal,” for the tailings each day continue to release “an estimated 28,000 gallons of radioactive pollutants and toxic chemicals into the only major river draining the southwestern United States.” […]
Posted on June 28, 2013, in buisiness, Energy, environment, Government, Health, Local politics, National Politics, Nuclear waste, USA and tagged Colorado, Hanford Site, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Moab, Radioactive waste, United States, United States Department of Energy, Utah. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.