MOAB When it comes to deciding the best way to move uranium tailings away from the Colorado River, most people at a public meeting said they favored taking it by train.
The U.S. Energy Department is forming a plan to move 16 million tons of uranium waste 30 miles to a disposal site at Crescent Junction.
"There's something about contaminated trucks on the highway that scares people," said Bette Stanton, who has lived in Moab for about 30 years.
The 130-acre tailings site along U.S. 191 leaches contaminants into the Colorado River, which provides water for more than 30 million people.
Don Metzler, who is overseeing the $300 million cleanup for the Energy Department, said moving the tailings by truck could cost up to $100 million to improve the highway.
There would be 139 truck trips per day, and an accident could stop the cleanup for months, he said.
If the waste is taken away by train, it would probably be one shipment per day with 178 railcars carrying 68 containers in the first three years. Twice as many cars would be used starting in 2012.
Before being moved, the tailings would be dried, placed into containers and delivered to a nearby spot to be picked up.
About 60 people attended a meeting Thursday, and most said they preferred moving the tailings by rail.
A report on whether the government can meet a 2019 deadline for the cleanup is expected later this month.