Colorado uranium disposal site gets extension to stay open

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) —

A U.S. Department of Energy uranium mill tailings disposal facility in Colorado has received an extension in the federal coronavirus relief and spending bill that could see the waste site remain open until 2031.

The bill signed on Sunday by President Trump extends the life of the site through 2031 or until it is full. The Department of Energy had been planning to fully shut down the facility near Grand Junction no later than 2023. To do that, it needed to stop accepting disposal waste by September 30, 2021.

The 94-acre (0.38 square kilometer) site is used for low-level radioactive waste, the Daily Sentinel reported. It “is the only government-owned, noncommercial disposal facility in the country still open to accept uranium mill tailings,” the Department of Energy said in a statement earlier this month.

The department said the site is 95% full, but at current disposal rates, it has space to operate for another 87 years.