DATA SHOWS DRAMATIC INCREASE LEVELS OF
RADON EMISSIONS AT WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
The 2014 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report shows a dramatic increase in the Cells 1, 4A, and 4B radium content. The data in the Report was based on August 2014 sampling events. As shown in the Table, based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formula for determining radon emissions from the White Mesa Mill liquid impoundments, the radon emissions from Cells 1, 4A, and 4B, have increased dramatically and average ~1,700 pico cures per square meter per second (pCi/m2-sec), when the standard for older tailings impoundments is 20 pCi/m2-sec. According to the Wastewater Monitoring Report:
> During June, July, and August operating period fresh water was not added to the Mill process. Re-circulated tailings liquids were used for process water. Re-circulated fluids were then returned to the tailings system or evaporation ponds.
> From August 2013 to August 2014, the Mill’s production was limited, resulting in less fresh water added to the Mill process and therefore to the cells. The decrease in the addition of fresh water resulted in concentration of existing fluids.
> Drought conditions resulted in less precipitation, therefore, less rainwater and storm water going into the cells. Drought also caused higher evaporation rates.
These conditions will continue, as Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. has announced that they will put the Mill on standby in early 2015. Therefore, there will continue to be high levels of radon emissions from the solutions in these 4 impoundments. Yet, the EPA and Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ)have done nothing to address this situation. In fact, the EPA maintains that radon emissions from liquid impoundments are ZERO.
UW AND OTHERS OBJECT TO LA SAL MINES EA
On December 22, 2014, Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Information Network for Responsible Mining filed an Objection to the La Sal Mines Complex Plan of Operations Amendment Environmental Assessment and USFS Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact. UW et al. are represented by the Western Mining Action Project, Lyons, Colorado.
• Public Notice
• Final La Sal Mines Complex EA
• La Sal Mines Complex Information
• La Sal Mines Complex EA
DATA SHOWS UNACCEPTABLY HIGH LEVELS OF
RADON EMISSIONS AT WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
Recent data shows high levels of radon emissions from processing effluents and other ponded liquids at the White Mesa Mill. The fluids are held in lined impoundments or in ponds on top of solid tailings. The liquids come from the uranium ore processing, dewatering of Cell 2, pumping of contaminated groundwater, and surface runoff.
For years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed that these radium-laden liquids did not have to be monitored because the radon emissions were “zero.” Now, putting together an EPA formula that determined that for every 1,000 pico Curies per liter (pCi/l) of radium in the effluents at White Mesa, there were
7 pico Curies per meter squared per second (7 pCi/m2-sec) of radon emissions. Recent Energy Fuels Resources Inc. data on the radium content of the liquids shows that the radon emissions are far greater than the 20 pCi/m2-sec emission standard for the dry tailings in the older (“existing”) impoundments. The emissions from liquid tailings range from 102 to 573 pCi/m2-sec, which is 5 to 28 times the radon emission standard for solid tailings.
• Risk Assessment Revision for 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W – Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings: Task 5 – Radon Emission from Evaporation Ponds; S. Cohen and Associates, November 9, 2010; Table 6, page 17.
• White Mesa Mill 2013 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report; Groundwater Quality Discharge Permit, UGW370004, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., November 1, 2013
• Non Privileged Records (July-Sept 2014, Part 1), pages 405-416.
Non Privileged Records (July-Sept 2014, Part 2), pages 1-3 and 200-246.
URANIUM WATCH AND OTHERS SUBMIT
COMMENTS ON EPA RADON EMISSION RULEMAKING
At the end of October Uranium Watch (UW) et al. submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criticizing the EPA’s proposed regulations for the emission of radon from conventional uranium mills, in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery operations, and heap-leach uranium recovery operations. The regulations are the National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions From Operating Mill Tailings, 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W. The current standards limits the radon emissions from the “existing” tailings impoundments at the White Mesa Mill near Blanding, Utah, to pCi/m2-sec. The mill owner, Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (Energy Fuels), must monitor the emissions and report to the Utah Division of Air Quality, which regulates radon emissions from uranium mines and mills in Utah, and the EPA. If the emissions exceed the standard, as they did for Cell 2 in 2012, Energy Fuels must take corrective actions. Energy Fuels placed additional fill on the Cell 2 interim cover and cleaned up windblown tailings to bring Cell 2 back into compliance. The proposed rule:
• Does not comply with the provisions of the Clean Air Act at Section 112(h).
• Eliminates any requirement to monitor and report radon emissions from the mill.
• Assures that no one knows how much radon is being emitted from the tailings.
• Ignores the high levels of radon emissions from over 155 acres of liquid effluents.
• Uranium Watch Subpart W Rulemaking Comments, October 29, 2014
• EPA Subpart W Review Webpage
• Other Subpart W Comments (Enter EPA–HQ– OAR–2008–0218)
UTAH APPROVES ANFIELD RESOURCES PURCHASEOF SHOOTARING CANYON MILL
The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) has authorized the Change of Control and Ownership from Uranium One Americas, Inc to Anfield Resources Holding Corp. When the purchase transaction is complete, Anfield must apply for a change of name of the licensee and provide the required reclamation bond. There will be an opportunity for public comment and a hearing on the change of ownership. The DRC has given Anfield until October 14, 2015, to submit the long-delayed license renewal application.
• DRC Shootaring Canyon Mill Webpage