Climax Uranium Mill

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Climax Uranium Mill is a decommissioned uranium mill near Grand Junction, CO.

The mill, that processed vanadium as well as uranium, was incorporated May 11, 1950. It was constructed on city-owned property next to the Colorado River which was once the Grand Junction sugar beet mill. Climax Uranium Company gutted the former sugar beet mill, removing any remaining equipment and stabilizing weak walls, and began uranium and vanadium milling operations. The mill soon grew to be 12 buildings large and processed 2 million tons of ore, mostly for the United States Atomic Energy Commission.[1]


From the early 1950s to 1966, Climax donated approximately 300,000 tons of radioactive uranium tailings to the city of Grand Junction for use as a construction material.[2] The tailings were used in sewer and road construction. In 1972, Congress gave the Atomic Energy Commission authority to cooperate with Grand Junction in a cleanup operation, with the federal government covering 75% of the project's cost.[3]

The mill was decommissioned in 1970 under the US Department of Energy's Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project.[4][5] The mill site was designated for environmental remediation by the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act in 1978.[3]


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a Remedial Action Plan for the site in 1994, and the removal of 4.5 million cubic yards of contaminated materials from the site to a disposal cell was completed that spring.[4] Reseeding and wetlands establishment was completed in August 1994.


  1. ^ "Inventory of the Climax Uranium Mill records, 1942-1976". Rocky Mountain Online Archive. 2006. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  2. ^ Grammer, Elisa J. (1981), "The Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 and NRC's Agreement State Program", Natural Resources Lawyer, 13 (3): 469–522 [481], JSTOR 40922651 
  3. ^ a b Grammer & 1981 479.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Junction, Colorado (Umtra Site)". Department of Energy. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  5. ^ "GRAND JUNCTION CLIMAX URANIUM MILL SITE". The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Retrieved December 17, 2012.