Uranium mine has historic connection to Nevada
The Department of Energy has awarded a $153.8 million contract to Portage Inc. of Idaho Falls to continue the process of cleaning up the historic uranium mine near Moab, Utah.
The mine, the largest uranium deposit in the U.S., has a long-standing Nevada connection. It was discovered by Charlie Steen in 1952. Steen, dubbed the Uranium King, lived for years in a mansion in Washoe Valley until bad luck and bad investments left him bankrupt and the IRS sold off his assets to pay back taxes.
The mine, which he named Mi Vida, was the first major uranium strike in the U.S. Its primary customer was the U.S. Government, which needed the radioactive metal to make bombs in the 1950s.
When the mine finally closed in 1984, it left behind a pile of waste tailings up to 90 feet tall. The government has been working to clean up that toxic waste for more than a decade.
It’s expected to take until 2028 and cost more than $720 million to clean up the nearly 12 million tons of radioactive tailings, moving them to a site near Crescent Junction, Utah.