DOE LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP CONFERENCE
AUGUST 20-23 - GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO
The DOE will hold a Long-Term Stewardship Conference from August 20th to 23rd, in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Conference includes trips to the Grand Junction tailings disposal site and Moab tailings removal site and information about the DOE’s DRUM Program. The authors of 2 books about uranium will give the keynote addresses on the 21st and 22nd. Uranium Watch’s program director will be on the “National Stakeholders Organizations” panel the afternoon of August 21. There is no cost to attend.
DOE DEFENSE-RELATED URANIUM MINE (DRUM) PROGRAM
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management continues a program to validate and characterize the DRUM sites in Utah and other states. The DRUM Program is providing funding and expertise for the BLM and USFS and for Utah and other state abandoned mine programs.
The DOE provided a PPT Presentation on the
Progress of the DRUM Program at the 2018 National Mining Association Uranium Recovery Workshop.
SPOT PRICE OF URANIUM STAYS BELOW
$25 A POUND - PRODUCTION DROPS DRAMATICALLY
The spot price of uranium stays below $25 a pound. In 2012 Energy Fuels informed the Bureau of Land Management that they were closing down operations at the Daneros Mine and La Sal Mines Complex because the spot price had dropped to $46.00. The current price of uranium does not support the mining and processing of conventional ore. The Honeywell uranium conversion plant in Metropolis, Illinois, the only plant in the US that coverts yellowcake to uranium hexafluoride, is shuttered.
US Energy Energy Information Administration 1st Quarter 2018 Report states that "U.S. production of uranium concentrate in the first quarter of 2018 was 226,780 pounds U3O8, down 64% from the fourth quarter of 2017 and down 50% from the first quarter of 2017." The production was from 7 facilities: the White Mesa Mill and 6 In-situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery operations. Since that time some of the ISLs have suspended operations.
URANIUM WATCH, UTE MT. UTE TRIBE, AND GRAND
CANYON TRUST APPEAL WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE AND GROUNDWATER DISCHARGE PERMIT RENEWALS
Uranium Watch, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Grand Canyon Trust have filed separate petitions to appeal Amendment 8 to the White Mesa Mill License. Amendment 8 renews the license, approved the Rev. 5 of the Reclamation Plan, and authorized the processing of uranium-bearing waste from the Sequoyah Fuels, Gore, Oklahoma, facility.
FEDERAL APPROVAL OF EXPANSION OF DANEROS MINE
AND LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Moab Field Office and the US Forest Service have issued the Final Environmental Assessment and their approval of the expansion of the La Sal Mines Complex, La Sal, Utah. The La Sal Mines Complex was put on standby in 2012, when the spot price of uranium dropped to $46/lb. The current spot price $23-half that amount.
BLM Monticello Field Office issues the Final Environmental Assessment and their approval of the expansion of the Daneros Uranium Mine from 4.6 acres to 46 acres. The mine was placed on standby in 2012, when the price of uranium dropped to $46/lb.
UAMPS SMALL MODULAR REACTOR PROGRAM
The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is making presentations to their member utility boards and member city or county councils to request their participation in the next phase of the proposed Small Modular Reactor (SMR) to be constructed at the Idaho National Lab. Phase I of the Licensing Period is the development of a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Phase 2 is the submittal of the COL Application (COLA) to the NRC and NRC’s consideration of the COLA. UAMPS is asking members to approve Power Sales Contracts (PSCs) that would provide funding for Phase 1.
Los Alamos County
On January 25, UAMPS made a presentation to a Joint Meeting Between the Board of Public Utilities and Los Alamos County (LAC) Council, New Mexoco. The financial commitment of LAC for Phase 1 would be between $500,000 and $3.5 million to pay for the development of the COLA. There are stipulations that would reimburse LAC if the project does not go forward, but the reimbursement stipulations were not adequately spelled out. UAMPS did not have all of the information available for a fully informed decision by LAC and the public.
LAC will be discussing this at subsequent meetings and expects to make a decision in March. LAC has provided an opportunity for members of the public to post comments on the proposal at the LAC Peak Democracy webpage.
There are a number of important documents that have been made available, which were not previously available regarding the UAMPS SMR Project. Most of this information applies to the project in general and decisions to be made by other UAMPS member communities.
Additional LAC Information —
• January 25, 2018, Meeting Agenda
• January 25 Meeting Video
• Staff Report
• Executive Summary
• Draft Power Sales Contract
• PSC Talking Points
• Board PPT Presentation
On January 24, the Washington City Council, Utah, met to consider approval of a Power Sales Agreement for participation in the UAMPS SMR Project. The only document included in the Agenda Package was the draft Power Sales Contract (PSC). The meeting discussion mentioned a package of information, but that information was not made available to the public for the meeting. As with the Los Alamos meeting, Council members had questions about the project and the PSC, including financial risks. Roger Carter, Council reprsentative to UAMPS, said that more information would be provided. The Council will consideration the Power Sales Agreement at the February 14, Council Meeting.
Additional Washington City Information —
• January 24, 2018, Meeting Agenda
• January 24, 2018, Meeting Video
• Draft Power Sales Contract Resolution
DWMRC ISSUES WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE RENEWAL
On January 19, 2018, the Utah Division of Waste Management (DWMRC) issued their approval of the renewal of White Mesa Uranium Mill License for and additional 10 years. The DWMR also approved the renewal of the Mill Ground Water Discharge Permit, Revision 5 to the Mill Reclamation Plan, and approval of an Amendment Request to process uranium-bearing waste from the Gore, Oklahoma, uranium conversion facility.
Additional Information —
• Renewed Radioactive Material License No. UT 1900479
• Ground Water Quality Discharge Permit No. UGW 370004
• Statement of Basis
• Public Participation Summary
• White Mesa Mill License Renewal
ENERGY FUELS SUPPORTS BEARS EARS
In a December 27, 2017, News Release, Energy Fuels Resources Inc. stated its support of the Bears Ears National Monument, as designated by President Barak Obama. Enery Fuels reiterated its "support for increased protection of areas in southeast Utah that contain unique scientific, environmental, and scenic resources, and our support for policies that allow Native Americans to manage and protect valuable cultural resources and religious sites." And, that "designating public lands as a national monument is one means of achieving these objectives, and we respect and support the ultimate decision to designate BENM as the preferred means for protecting these lands." The uranium mining and milling company "has no intention to mine or explore for uranium anywhere within the current or originally designated boundaries of BENM."
BLUE CASTLE PROJECT
Uranium Watch and Living Rivers Protested the San Juan County Water Conservancy District Request for Extension of Time to Show Proof of Beneficial Use of Water Right 91-5233 for water leased to Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH) for the proposed Blue Castle Project nuclear reactor near Green River. BCH is currently in default of the lease payments for the SJCWCD and Kane County Water Conservancy District water rights. There is no evidence that BCH has the funding to move forward with an Early Site Permit Application.
Additional Information —
• Protest Documents
CANYON URANIUM MINE
Energy Fuels Resources Inc., the owner/operator of the Whie Mesa Mill in Utah, has been developing the Canyon Mine, on the south rim of the Grand Canyon in the Kabab National Forest, Coconino County, Arizona. In March 2017 the hoist mechanism broke sending a large bucket down the shaft. The accident was due to the use of old equipment. Workers were laid off, and Energy Fuels has delayed completion of the mine workings necessary to commence operation. It appears that Energy Fuels is not a competent mine operator, with the accident and continuing violations of basic Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) safety requirements. The December MSHA inspection found 8 safety violations at the Canyon Mine (MSHA ID 0203305). The non-injury hoist accident is still under investigation.
Additional Information —
• Energy Fuels SEDAR Financial and Other Reports
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