The disposal cell is excavated in phases. Two phases have been completed, each occupying about 45 acres. Excavation depth is about 25 feet below the ground surface.
Tailings are end-dumped from the containers, loaded into dump trucks, and driven to the disposal area where they spread for compaction using a dozer. A sheep’s foot roller compacts them in place in the cell. Through the end of April 2013, about 5,880,000 tons of mill tailings and other contaminated materials has been disposed in the cell.
The cover on the disposal cell consists of multiple layers of soil and rock as illustrated in the diagram below. Cover layers have been placed on the portion of the cell that has met the final grade for tailings material. The rock for the biointrusion layer and the uppermost layer is being quarried to meet U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission specifications for durability, and is being hauled from Fremont Junction, Utah. All other cover layers come from material excavated on-site at Crescent Junction.
Diagram of cover layers for Crescent Junction disposal cell