Most people working on the cleanup of a former uranium mill site north of Moab will not be laid off during the next three months as was originally announced last spring.
Jeff Biagini, project manager for Idaho-based Portage Inc., said work has been found for 85 of the 112 employees on the project. Portage holds the U.S. Department of Energy contract to haul 650,000 tons a year of contaminated material from the site to a permanent holding facility near Crescent Junction about 30 miles north of Moab.
“It worked out much better than we had originally anticipated,” Biagini said of winter employment opportunities.
He called the 27 workers at Moab and Crescent Junction facilities who will be laid off “a significantly lower number than we thought. For the most part, those 27 people preferred to take that time off. They had other plans or had enough finances.”
“Nobody who wanted to keep working will be laid off,” said Lee Shenton, Grand County’s liaison to the cleanup project.
He said those remaining on the job will either work at Moab or at Portage’s other facilities in the Four Corners region.
Some of the people remaining at the Moab site will continue radiation monitoring, dust control and site security, according to Biagini.
Portage had announced in April that it would suspend the cleanup project from December through February as the most efficient schedule based on its federal contract. The company receives $24 million each year for five years, and officials decided a nine-month schedule was the most cost-effective. Moab Times-Independent