UMTRAUranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action
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But his report, prepared at Wilson's request, concludes that the UMTRA disposal cells are "guaranteed to fail every one of the ...
In the meantime, he remains in the UMTRA office drawing a salary of $85,000 for what he calls mostly "menial and insubstantial" work.
The UMTRA disposal cells are huge dirt-covered mounds containing anywhere from 58,000 to more than 5 million cubic yards of uranium mill tailings topped first by clay, to keep radon in and water out, then by sand and/or soil, and finally by rock.
reports show bio-intrusion is already causing problems for at least six disposal cells after less than ten years - a far cry from UMTRA's 1,000-year objective.
One of them, Larry Cadwell of the D.O.E.'s Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington, prepared a computer model of the proposed UMTRA disposal cell early on in the project that showed moisture would indeed pass through the tailings into ground water, possibly carrying contaminants with it.
Jack Nyhan, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who did field studies on UMTRA technology for fifteen years, is a harsher critic.
Roger Nelson, until recently UMTRA project director for Jacobs Engineering Group, the D.O.E.
But to UMTRA observers, "periodic maintenance" is like using a Band-Aid to stop a hemorrhage.
wants to clean up existing ground-water pollution from the old tailing piles, which will bring the total UMTRA tab close to $2 billion - nearly four times the original estimate.
Pawel and partner Reagan McCoy have filed federal and state complaints about pollution from the UMTRA facility at Falls City, which abuts their thousand-acre cattle ranch.
Because of his troubles with the UMTRA program, Pawel has found himself in the unaccustomed company of the Sierra Club, which has championed his cause.