Engineering assessment of inactive uranium mill tailings, Shiprock site, Shiprock, New Mexico

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Ford, Bacon and Davis Utah Inc. has reevaluated the Shiprock site in order to revise the March 1977 engineering assessment of the problems resulting from the existence of radioactive uranium mill tailings at Shiprock, New Mexico. This engineering assessment has included the preparation of topographic maps, the performance of core drillings and radiometric measurements sufficient to determine areas and volumes of tailings and radiation exposures of individuals and nearby populations, the investigations of site hydrology and meteorology, and the evaluation and costing of alternative corrective actions. Radon gas released from the 1.5 million dry tons of tailings at the Shiprock ... continued below

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Creator: Unknown. July 1, 1981.

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Ford, Bacon and Davis Utah Inc. has reevaluated the Shiprock site in order to revise the March 1977 engineering assessment of the problems resulting from the existence of radioactive uranium mill tailings at Shiprock, New Mexico. This engineering assessment has included the preparation of topographic maps, the performance of core drillings and radiometric measurements sufficient to determine areas and volumes of tailings and radiation exposures of individuals and nearby populations, the investigations of site hydrology and meteorology, and the evaluation and costing of alternative corrective actions. Radon gas released from the 1.5 million dry tons of tailings at the Shiprock site constitutes the most significant environental impact, although windblown tailings and external gamma radiation also are factors. The eight alternative actions presented in this engineering assessment range from millsite decontamination with the addition of 3 m of stabilization cover material (Option I), to removal of the tailings to remote disposal sites and decontamination of the tailings site (Options II through VIII). Cost estimates for the eight options range from about $13,400,000 for stabilization in place to about $37,900,000 for disposal at a distance of about 16 miles. Three principal alternatives for the reprocessing of the Shiprock tailings were examined: (a) heap leaching; (b) treatment at an existing mill; and (c) reprocessing at a new conventional mill constructed for tailings reprocessing. The cost of the uranium recovered would be about $230/lb by heap leach and $250/lb by conventional plant processes. The spot market price for uranium was $25/lb early in 1981. Therefore, reprocessing the tailings for uranium recovery is not economically attractive.

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NTIS, PC A10/MF A01.

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  • Other: DE81030510
  • Report No.: DOE/UMT-0104
  • Grant Number: AC04-76GJ01658
  • DOI: 10.2172/6174156 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 6174156
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1109889

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  • July 1, 1981

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Feb. 22, 2018, 7:45 p.m.

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  • July 27, 2018, 1:42 p.m.

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Engineering assessment of inactive uranium mill tailings, Shiprock site, Shiprock, New Mexico, report, July 1, 1981; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1109889/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.