AW: [ RadSafe ] Obit for Charlie Steen, the uranium king

Orthen, Rick rorthen at
Tue Mar 21 08:12:09 CST 2006


While there is no doubt the radiological aspect of the Atlas legacy has
potentially affected human health (e.g., some of the tailings were used
during building construction), uranium is but one of 5 constituents of
potential concern present in the tailings pile and groundwater (the
others are ammonia, copper, sulfate, and manganese).  In the NRC's 1999
EIS, the preferred alternative was to stabilize the tailings pile in
place, but this analysis ignored the seepage of contaminated groundwater
into the adjacent Colorado River.  When this deficiency was noted by the
US Fish & Wildlife Service (USF&WS) as endangering four fish species and
critical habitat, the alternatives were revisited with the record of
decision as it is today (offsite relocation of the tailings and
groundwater remediation).

According to the Moab, UT UMTRA Project website, as of February 2006,
over 1.2 million gallons of tailings pore fluid has been removed for
evaporation.  This fluid contained over 65,000 kg of ammonia and 65 kg
of uranium and is no longer available for release into groundwater.
Coincidently, nearly 37 million gallons of groundwater has been
extracted containing 330 kg of uranium and 95,000 kg of ammonia.

Rick Orthen
CEC Inc.

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