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Move Moab Tailings

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This is a good news, bad news editorial.

The good news came a couple of years ago when the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to move, not merely leave in place and cap, a pile of radioactive tailings along the Colorado River near Moab by the year 2012.

KSL, along with many others, hailed the decision as appropriate and timely.

Now the bad news! During a recent congressional hearing, the U.S. Secretary of Energy testified the old uranium mill tailings won't be moved until 2028.

That's an unconscionable 16 year delay.

Remember, the uranium mill tailings sit precariously close to the Colorado River. Geologic studies suggest the Colorado, like any river, experiences "episodic high flows and natural wandering . . . (that) could undercut the tailings pile."

The floods two years ago in Southwestern Utah remind us what can happen when Mother Nature unleashes her fury. Imagine the consequences of similar flooding along the Colorado. Radioactive waste could be strewn downstream, endangering humans and adding exponentially to the cost of cleaning up a disastrous mess.

Rather than tempt Mother Nature, KSL believes the Energy Department needs to keep to the original timetable for cleaning up the Moab tailings pile. That would reduce the potential for really bad news.

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