DOE RELEASES URANIUM LEASING PEIS FOR
Comment Period Extended to July 1, 2013
SEE BELOW for LINKS to PEIS and OTHER INFORMATION
UTAH DIVISION OF RADIATION CONTROL
ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES DO NOT COMPLY WITH
ATOMIC ENERGY ACT
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) agreed with Uranium Watch's allegation that the Utah Division of Radiation Control's (DRC's) administrative procedures did not comply with the public participation requirements for certain licensing actions. These requirements apply to the DRC as an Agreement State and the regulation of uranium mills and 11e.(2) byproduct material (mill tailings).
By letter of May 20, 2013, the NRC addressed Uranium Watch's concern that the State of Utah did not have any statue or regulation that designates procedures for a hearing required by the Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C. §2021(o)(3)(A)) prior to 11e.(2) byproduct material licensing actions. The NRC letter states: "The DRC is in the process of drafting a procedure to address these issues. After implementing this procedure on a current licensing action, the DRC plans to codify these procedures in a rulemaking process." It is unclear which "current licensing action" the NRC is referring to.
Section 2021(o)(3)(A) requires procedures for an opportunity for written comments and a public hearing, with a transcript and an opportunity for cross examination. The AEA also requires that an environmental analysis be available before the comment and hearing opportunity and prohibits any major construction prior to the issuance of the environmental analysis and public participation process.
Although the DRC has provided opportunities for public comment, since 2004, when Utah became an Agreement State for 11e.(2) byproduct material, they have never provided an opportunity for a hearing with a transcript and opportunity for cross examination. These procedures are supposed to take place before the DRC's final decision on an application.
WHITE MESA MILL EXCEEDS RADON-EMISSION STANDARD
FOR TAILINGS CELL 2
The 2012 Annual Compliance Report for the emission of radon from the White Mesa Mill tailings impoundments reported that the radon flux for the 66-acre Cell 2 exceeded the standard in 2012. The Cell 2 emission of radon is 1.59 times the 20 pico Curie per square meter per second (pCi/m2/sec) requirement for a tailings impoundment that exceeds 40 acres. Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (EFR) concluded that the increase in radon-222 flux from Cell 2 was caused by dewatering, and was unavoidable. In 2011 and 2012 EFR adopted an acclelerated dewatering program, based on the Ground Water Discharge Permit requirements. Cell 2 must also be dewatered to settle the tailings before the placement of the final radon barrier. The mill is required to have reclamation milestones for the placement of the interim cover, dewatering, and placement of the final radon barrier, but does not.
Due to the exceedance from Cell 2, EFR will be required to measure and report the radon flux on a monthly basis, starting April 2013.
The radon emissions will continue to increase during the dewatering process, which will take several years. EFR estimates that the radon emission levels will reach equilibrium, due to the depth of the tailings. Placement of additional fill will reduce the radon emissions. EFR estimates that the addition 1 foot to the interim cover reduce the average flux to within the standard, based on the estimated flux over the next year. EFR has proposed test plots with 1 foot of fill to determine if it will bring the emissions below the standard. If the tests are successful, the propose to add 1 foot of fill to the existing cover, to be completed by mid-2014.
They suggest this, even though they estimate that it will take 2 feet of fill to to reduce surface radon flux to below pCi/m2/sec, regardless of the depth of dewatered tails.
US FOREST SERVICES RELEASES DRAFT EIS FOR
ROCA HONDA URANIUM MINE - NEW MEXICO
Comment Period Extended to June 16, 2013
The US Forest Service for the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico has announced the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Roca Honda Mine on the Mount Taylor Ranger District. The DEIS is for the Roca Honda Resources LLC Plan of Operations for an underground uranium mine on about 218 acres on Mt. Taylor. The proposed mine is located about 22 miles northeast of Grants, New Mexico, on and near Jesus Mesa in T13N, R8W, Sections 9, 10, and 16, NMPM.
The Roca Honda would be the first uranium New Mexico in 30 years. Many people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, recongnize the unique cultural and historical value of Mt. Taylor. Currently, there are no licensed uranium mills in New Mexico to process the ore. Strathmore Minerals has proposed the Peña Ranch Uranium Mill and has told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they intend to submit an application for a mill license in late 2013.
~ USFS Public Notice
~ Roca Honda Draft EIS
~ MK025RN Roca Honda Mine - New Mexico EMNRD Mining and Minerals
DOE RELEASES URANIUM LEASING EIS FOR
Comment Period Extended to July 1, 2013
The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS): Uranium Leasing Program for public comment. The PEIS evaluates the environmental impacts of the leasing and development of uranium mines in Southwestern Colorado.
~ DOE Uranium Leasing Program
~ Uranium Leasing PEIS Information Center
~ Draft PEIS Federal Register Notice: 76 Fed. Reg. 16483, March 15, 2013
~ Draft PEIS Related Documents
~ Draft PEIS for Public Comment
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