Session Start Date

5-6-1984

Abstract

Uranium mill tailings at Union Carbide Corporation's mining and mill complex at Uravan, Colorado, are deposited in two tailings piles along a steep hillside. The tailings are deposited in slurry form, allowed to decant, and the decant liquid removed for recycling in the milling operation. The impoundment dikes are raised using the coarser portion of the tailings in an upstream method of construction. At the time of the study, the height of the tailings piles was in excess of 100 feet. Continued use of these piles necessitated a detailed geotechnical stability evaluation and design of stabilizing measures in order to maintain safety factors and meet regulatory requirements. Any failure of these slopes could have serious consequences. This paper discusses the geotechnical evaluation of the tailings piles, design and construction of the stabilizing measures, and the performance of the tailings pile slopes. The work was performed to meet the requirements set by the Colorado Department of Health, a State of Colorado agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States, which acted as consultant and reviewer to the Department of Health. These regulatory agencies conducted a detailed review of the design and construction activities. Since the construction of the stabilizing berms, a regular monitoring program has been in effect. The data collected to date indicate that the performance of the slopes has been satisfactory.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

First Conference

Publisher

University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

5-6-1984

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 1984 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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May 6th, 12:00 AM

Uranium Mill Trailings Geotechnical Investigations - A Case History

Uranium mill tailings at Union Carbide Corporation's mining and mill complex at Uravan, Colorado, are deposited in two tailings piles along a steep hillside. The tailings are deposited in slurry form, allowed to decant, and the decant liquid removed for recycling in the milling operation. The impoundment dikes are raised using the coarser portion of the tailings in an upstream method of construction. At the time of the study, the height of the tailings piles was in excess of 100 feet. Continued use of these piles necessitated a detailed geotechnical stability evaluation and design of stabilizing measures in order to maintain safety factors and meet regulatory requirements. Any failure of these slopes could have serious consequences. This paper discusses the geotechnical evaluation of the tailings piles, design and construction of the stabilizing measures, and the performance of the tailings pile slopes. The work was performed to meet the requirements set by the Colorado Department of Health, a State of Colorado agency, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the United States, which acted as consultant and reviewer to the Department of Health. These regulatory agencies conducted a detailed review of the design and construction activities. Since the construction of the stabilizing berms, a regular monitoring program has been in effect. The data collected to date indicate that the performance of the slopes has been satisfactory.