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Tipton’s Western CO Uranium Tailings Disposal Bill Passes House

September 25, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C. – This week, Congressman Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) legislation to reauthorize the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cheney Disposal Cell in Mesa County, which receives radioactive waste materials that were produced decades ago during the uranium milling process, passed off the House Floor with a bipartisan vote. The Responsible Disposal Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 2278), would extend the Cheney Disposal Cell’s authorization until 2030.

“The Department of Energy’s Cheney Disposal Cell in Mesa County is a vital component of the Office of Legacy Management’s mission to protect public health and the environment,” said Tipton. “Uranium waste materials continue to be discovered during road construction, bridge replacement, home foundation excavation and other activities across Western Colorado and need a place to be disposed of. This legislation will see to it that there continues to be a safe disposal site for the tailings and I am optimistic we will see it advance through the Senate.”

Under current law, the Department of Energy Secretary may operate the Cheney Disposal Cell until 2023 or until the site has fulfilled its capacity. Currently, the remaining capacity in the cell is approximately 234,000 cubic yards. The cell receives approximately 2,700 cubic yards of waste annually from the City of Grand Junction and Durango, CO, Monticello, UT and Tuba City, AZ and therefore an extended reauthorization is necessary.

Watch Tipton speak in support of H.R. 2278, HERE.


Uranium mill tailings were used as fill and construction material in the mid 1900’s. Most of the sites that contained tailings have already been cleaned up by DOE, but from time to time mill tailings are uncovered during road construction and redevelopment programs. The Cheney Disposal Cell is the only DOE facility authorized to accept the mill tailings once they are discovered.

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