NEWS ARCHIVE - 2010

NEWS ARCHIVE - 2011

NEWS ARCHIVE - 2009

NEWS ARCHIVE - 2008

 

DECEMBER 28, 2010

BLM and FOREST SERVICE to HOLD
SCOPING MEETING for LA SAL URANIUM MINES EXPANSION - LA SAL - JANUARY 13, 2011

The Bureau of Land Management-Moab Field Office has announced a public scoping meeting in La Sal, Utah, for the La Sal Mines Complex Plan of Operations Amendment (POA) and Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The meeting will provide information and provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and submit oral and written comments. Public comments will be used to determine the scope of the EA. Comment deadline is January 31, 2011.

Date: January 13, 2011
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: La Sal Community Center (next to La Sal School), La Sal

Additional Information:

Contact:
Rebecca Doolittle (BLM): 435-636-3364
Ben Kniola (BLM): 435-259-2127
Joel Nowak (USFS): 435-636-3364

BLM Notice Mailed to Interested Persons
Request for Public Involvement (Information on proposed La Sal Mines Complex expansion and EA process)


DECEMBER 23, 2010

BLM NOTICES LA SAL MINES COMPLEX PLAN OF OPERATIONS AMENDMENT AND
EA SCOPING PERIOD

The Bureau of Land Management-Moab Field Office has noticed the availability of the La Sal Mines Complex Plan of Operations Amendment (POA) for public review and the public scoping process for an Environmental Assessment (EA). Comments on the POA and scoping comments are due by January 31, 2011. The BLM has posted the POA documents on the La Sal Mines Complex Documents webpage.

The BLM and US Forest Service have published a Notice in local newspapers of the availability of the POA at locations in San Juan and Grand Counties (see below).

The La Sal uranium mine complex includes the Pandora Mine and Beaver Shaft, which are currently operating, and the La Sal and Snowball Mines. Denison Mines (USA) Corporation owns the mines and operates the Beaver Shaft Mine. The Pandora Mine is operated by Reliance Resources LLC. The mines' current operations are based on minimal 1981 plans of operation and EAs.

The BLM and Manti-La Sal National Forest Monticello Ranger District will develop the EA for the mines and has plans for a public meeting in La Sal. Denison has hired and will pay a consultant—CDM Inc.—to prepare the EA, under the direction of the BLM and Forest Service. CDM Inc. is the same consultant that Denison hired to develop their amendment to the Plan of Operations for the La Sal Mines Complex. The Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining will have a separate approval process.

Mail comments to:
BLM-Moab Field Office
82 E. Dogwood Avenue
Moab, UT 84532
E-mail to: UT_Moab_Comments@blm.gov
Fax to: 435-259-2158

(If you wish to withhold your name or street address from public review or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this rominently at the beginning of your written comment. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made avalable for public inspection in their entitirety.)

Additional Information:

Contact:
Ben Kniola (BLM): 435-259-2127
Joel Nowak (USFS): 435-636-3364
Rebecca Doolittle (BLM): 435-636-3364

La Sal Mines Complex Documents
Notice of POA Availability
Pandora Mine
La Sal Mines (Beaver Shaft, La Sal, Snowball)
DOGM — Utah Minerals Program Files
BLM ENBB Notification
(NEPA Number: DOI-BLM-UT-Y010-2011-0048-EA)
(F/S Number: UTU-88241)
(Created: 12/20/2010)

View Plan of Operations Amendment during business hours at:

US Bureau of Land Management
Moab Field Office
82 E Dogwood
Moab, Utah 84532
Phone: (435) 259-2100

US Forest Service
Monticello Ranger District
432 E Center Street
Monticello, Utah 84535
Phone: (435) 636-3364

Grand County Public Library
57 East Center Street
Moab, UT 84532-2463
Phone: (435) 259-1111

San Juan County Library
Monticello Branch
80 North Main Street
Monticello, Utah 84535
Phone: (435) 587-2281

La Sal Store
Highway 46
La Sal, Utah 84530
Phone: (435) 686-2222

NOVEMBER 9, 2010

CDPHE REQUESTS COMMENTS ON COTTER URANIUM MILL DECOMMISSIONING FUNDING

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requests public comments on the Draft Decommissioning Funding Plan for the Cotter Corporation's Uranium Mill in Cañon City, Colorado. The plan describes the decommissioning surety for the reclamation of the mill site and ground water remediation and the long–term care fund. Following consideration of comments, a final Decommissioning Funding Plan will be completed. Cotter and the CDPHE have differences on the amount of money that will be required to assure that the uranium mill site is completely decommissioned. Reclamation will include clean up of the site, ground water remediation, dewatering the tailings, and placing a permanent radon barrier over the tailings impoundments. When reclamation is complete, the site will be transferred to the Department of Energy for long-term care.

The Cotter Mill was one of the most poorly operated and poorly regulated uranium mill. The reclamation surety is supposed to be based on a final reclamation plan, but a revised and updated plan has not yet been submitted to the CDPHE. The mill license is required to have enforceable reclamation milestones, but no dates for reclamation actions have been proposed by Cotter and included as conditions to the Cotter Mill license.

Public comments due by November 24, 2010.
Comments should be addressed to:

Steve Tarlton, Manager
Radiation Control Program
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530

E-mail: steve.tarlton@state.co.us
FAX: 303-759-5355

Notice and Information
Cotter Mill Documents

OCTOBER 15, 2010

OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON
CHANGES TO WHITE MESA MILL AIR QUALITY PERMIT

The Utah Division of Air Quality will be taking comments on the Intent to Approve modifications of the Denison Mines (USA) Corporation's White Mesa Mill air quality permit. The modifications would add a bag house, allow alternate fuel usage, and incorporate work practice standards. The emissions, in tons per year (tpy), will increase as follows: The change in emissions will result in the following, in tons per year, potential to emit totals: PM10 (parts per million, including PM2.5) = 34.07, PM2.5 = 17.08 (not accounted for before), SO2 (Sulfur dioxide) = 2.91, NOx (Nitrogen oxide) = 39.61, CO (Carbon Monoxide) = 10.49, VOC = 4.03, hexane = 0.63 and formaldehyde = 0.03.

The project proposal, estimate of the effect on local air quality and draft Approval Order are available for public inspection and comment at the Utah Division of Air Quality, 195 North 1950 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4820.

Comments are due on October 29, 2010.

Mail Comments To:
Utah Division of Air Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4820

or Email to mmaung@utah.gov.

Contact Maung Maung at (801) 536-4153
Intent to Approve
Public Notice

OCTOBER 5, 2010

EIS SCOPING PROCESS FOR GAS HILLS IN SITU LEACH URANIUM PROJECT

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lander Field Office is seeking public comments on a proposed uranium recovery project in Fremont and Natrona counties.

Cameco Resources has proposed an in situ leach (ISL) uranium exploration and development project in the Gas Hills Unit, about 50 miles east of Riverton and 85 miles west of Casper, Wyoming. The BLM will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze Cameco’s proposed project.

The Project area covers approximately 8,538 surface acres (approximately 13 square miles) of mixed ownership including 7,940 acres of Federal surface, 161 acres under State ownership, and 394 acres of private lands.

The BLM will host public meetings on October 26, 27, and 28 in Casper, Riverton and Lander, respectively. Meeting times and locations will be announced to the public at a later date.

EIS Scoping Comments should be received by October 21, 2010. Submit written comments to:
E-mail: Gas_Hills_Uranium_EIS_WY@BLM.gov
Mail:
Bureau of Land Management
Lander Field Office
Attn: Kristin Yannone, Project Manager
P.O. Box 589
Lander, WY 82520.

For more information, contact Kristin Yannone, BLM Project Leader, at 307-332-8448.

Federal Register Notice
Public Notice
Project Information and Documents
Additional Information/WISE Uranium

SEPTEMBER 20, 2010

OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING AND PUBLIC COMMENT ON RUSSIAN ACQUISITION OF URANIUM ONE AND IRIGARAY-CHRISTIAN RANCH ISL

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has noticed an opportunity for the public to comment on or request a hearing on the proposed transfer of control of Uranium One USA, Inc. (Uranium One), a company that holds a license for the in situ leach uranium recovery facility in Wyoming, to a Russian corporation. Uranium One operates the Irigaray and Christensen Ranch in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery facilities located in Johnson and Campbell Counties (Docket No. 40-8502). They also own the Shootaring Canyon (Ticaboo) Uranium Mill and uranium mining interests in Utah.

This proposal reveals the complex relationships between international corporations involved in the uranium industry. Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) entered into an agreement in June 2010 to purchase a majority share of Uranium One. ARMZ is controlled by Rosatom, the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy. Rosatom controls all nuclear activities of the Russian Federation and acts as the Russian government agent responsible for all activities related to the nuclear and atomic industries.

Uranium One is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uranium One Exploration U.S.A., Inc. (a Delaware corporation), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uranium One Americas, Inc. (a Nevada corporation), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uranium One Investments, Inc. (a Canadian corporation), a wholly owned subsidiary of Uranium One, Inc. (a Canadian corporation).

Any member of the public may comment, but the NRC will only grant a hearing to a person or group that has established standing.

Information on hearing requests is contained in the Federal Register Notice. Hearing requests are due October 12, 2010. Comments are due by October 20.

NRC Press Release

SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

US DISTRICT COURT DENIES REQUEST FOR STAY OF EXPLORATION DRILLING AND VENT HOLE INSTALLATION AT PANDORA MINE

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah denied the request by Uranium Watch, Center for Water Advocacy, and Living Rivers for a stay of the proposed exploration drilling and radon vent hole construction at the Pandora Mine in La Sal, Utah. The denial of the request for a stay, pending the outcome of the suit challenging the U.S. Forest Service's approval of the exploration drilling and vent hole construction, means that the Denison Mines (USA) Corporation can move forward with the project.

In response to an July 12, 2010, Notice of Appeal by Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and Red Rock Forests to the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA), the IBLA issued an Order that vacated a decision by the Moab Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that authorized the installation of two radon vents on BLM land. Denison Mines had already constructed one vent, but the other vent cannot be constructed until the BLM and Forest Service complete an environmental review of the amended plan of operation for the Pandora Mine and La Sal Mine Complex in La Sal, under the National Environmental Policy Act.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2010

HEARING IN FEDERAL COURT ON STAY
OF URANIUM EXPLORATION AND RADON VENTS AT PANDORA MINE

On September 2, 2010, a hearing was held in Salt Lake City at the US District Court for the District of Utah on a request by Uranium Watch to stay uranium exploration drilling and installation of 2 radon vents holes at the Pandora Mine in La Sal, Utah. Living Rivers and Center for Water Advocacy joined Uranium Watch in challenging the projects, which are connected to the expansion of the Denison Mines (USA) Corporation's uranium mines in La Sal. Judge Dale Kimball will issue a decision on the stay after considering the written record and the testimony at the hearing. The plaintiffs were represented by Eric Jantz of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center in Santa Fe, Roger Flynn of the Western Mining Action Project, based in Colorado, and Joro Walker and Robert Dubuc of Western Resource Advocates in Salt Lake City.

The Bureau of Land Management has vacated a decision to permit Denison Mines to construct Pandora Mine radon vents on BLM managed land. That decision was based on the BLM's failure to conduct an environmental review. One vent was already constructed (prior to receiving the required authorization by the Utah Division of Air Quality). Also, Denison Mines failed to place the required radon diffuser on top of the vent hole when the vent was installed in December 2009. The vents are used to provide fresh air to the underground miners and to emit radon. The BLM and Forest Service have never evaluated the health and environmental impacts of the release of radon and other radionuclides from the mining operations in La Sal.

Additional Information

AUGUST 31, 2010

IPPNW CALLS FOR BAN ON URANIUM MINING

At the 19th IPPNW World Congress in Basel Switzerland, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment.”

Resolution
News Release

AUGUST 11, 2010

NRC TO MEET WITH URANIUM ONE REGARDING CHANGE OF CONTROL OF
ISL FACILITIES TO RUSSIAN COMPANY

On August 16 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will meet with Uranium One Inc. to discuss the application to change control of the Irigaray and Christensen Ranch in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery project to JSC Atomredmetzolot (ARMZ).

According to ARMZ:

"ARMZ is the world’s fifth largest uranium producer with operating mines in Russia and Kazakhstan. During 2009, operations in which ARMZ is involved produced 12.1 million pounds of U3O8 (4,624 tons of Uranium). It is wholly-owned by State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom", the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy which consolidates all nuclear assets and controls all nuclear activities of the Russian Federation. In addition to its commercial activities, Rosatom also acts as the Russian government agent responsible for all activities related to the nuclear and atomic industries."

An ARMZ News Release announced that it has purchased a 51% interest in Uranium One. Uranium One also owns the Ticaboo Mill and uranium mining interests in Utah.

Time: 1 pm to 3 pm EDT (11 am to 1 pm MDT)
Notice and Agenda

To listen to the meeting, contact:
Ron Linton -
(301) 415-7777
ron.linton@nrc.gov

AUGUST 6, 2010

NRC ATOMIC SAFETY AND LICENSING BOARD
GRANTS PETITION TO INTERVENE ON
DEWEY-BURDOCK ISL PROJECT

On August 5, 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (Board) issued a Memorandum and Order ruling on Petitions to Intervene and Requests for Hearing related to the proposed Dewey-Burdock in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery facility. The petitions to intervene and requests for hearing challenge an application submitted by Powertech (USA), Inc. requesting a license to construct and to operate a proposed ISL facility in Custer and Fall River Counties, South Dakota.

The Board found that three individuals (Susan Henderson, David Frankel, and Dayton Hyde) and two organizations (Clean Water Alliance and Aligning for Responsible Mining) and the Oglala Sioux Tribe have standing to participate in the proceeding. The Board also ruled on the issues that were admissible in the proceeding.

AUGUST 3, 2010

URANIUM WATCH CHALLENGES PANDORA MINE EXPLORATION DRILLING AND RADON VENT HOLES

Uranium Watch, Uranium Watch, Center for Water Advocacy, and Living Rivers, conservation groups located in Moab, Utah, yesterday filed suit in federal district court in Salt Lake City to halt uranium exploration and the construction of radon vent holes on U.S. Forest Service land in the Manti-La Sal National Forest in La Sal, Utah.

The complaint filed with the United States District Court for the District of Utah challenges a decision by the Moab/Monticello Ranger District to permit the drilling of 16 exploration drill holes and 2 radon vent holes as part of the expansion of the Pandora Uranium Mine.  The Pandora Mine is owned by Denison Mines (USA) Corporation.  Uranium ore from the mine is transported to Denison's uranium mill on White Mesa, a few miles south of Blanding in San Juan County.

The groups also filed a request for a preliminary injunction at the Pandora Mine to stay ground disturbance and construction of the exploration holes and radon vent holes until the case can be fully heard by the federal court.

The citizens groups challenge the granting of a "categorical exclusion" for the projects and requested that the Forest Service develop a full environmental analysis of the projects as part of the proposed expansion of the Pandora Mine and La Sal Complex (Beaver Shaft, La Sal, and Snowball Mines).  The "categorical exclusion" process was the same used by the Interior Department in approving the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.  A "categorical exclusion" means that the agency did not conduct any detailed environmental  review and provided limited opportunity for public input under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA").

Press Release and Complaint Documents
Telluride Daily Plant article - August 3, 2010

AUGUST 2, 2010

BLM INTERIOR BOARD OF LAND APPEALS VACATES MOAB OFFICE DECISION TO PERMIT RADON VENTS

In response to a Notice of Appeal and Petition for Stay, the Department of Interior, Interior Board of Land Appeals vacated a decision by the Moab Office of the Bureau of Land Managemen (BLM).  A September 2009 decision to authorize the construction of 2 new radon vents for the Pandora Mine on BLM land was remanded back to the BLM office.  One of the vents was constructed in December, prior to the required approval by the Utah Division of Air Quality.  Additionally, Denison did not construct a diffuser on top of the vent hole, as they committed to in their application to the BLM and DOGM.

BLM Motion
Interior Board of Land Appeals Order

JULY 2 , 2010

URANIUM MINER KILLED AT PANDORA MINE -
MINE OPERATOR CITED FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS

On May 26, 2010, Hunter Diehl, age 28, was killed in an underground accident at the Pandora Uranium Mine in La Sal, Utah. The accident occurred when the miner was breaking off rocks from the ceiling after blasting had taken place the previous day or evening. Mr. Diehl, who had been employed at the mine for about 2 1/2 months, had no previous experience as an underground miner. He had many friends and family members in the Moab and La Sal area.

The Pandora Mine, along with the nearby Beaver Shaft, La Sal, and Snowball Mines are on the south slope of the La Sal Mountains, in northern San Juan County. The mines, which are connected underground, are owned by Denison Mines Corporation and operated by Reliance Resources, LLC, of Moab. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is investigating the accident. Over the past several years, Denison Mines or Reliance Resources has been cited by MSHA for various health and safety violations at their mines in the La Sal/Lisbon Valley area.

MSHA VIOLATIONS

A full accident report is not yet available. Thus far, Reliance Resources LLC has been cited by MSHA for violations associated with the accident and inspection subsequent to the accident:

Failure to contact MSHA within 15 minutes of the accident (30 CFR § 50.10).

Examination of ground conditions (30 CFR § 57.3401):

Persons experienced in examining and testing for loose ground shall be designated by the mine operator. Appropriate supervisors or other designated persons shall examine and, where applicable, test ground conditions in areas where work is to be performed, prior to work commencing, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant during the work shift. Underground haulageways and travelways and surface area highwalls and banks adjoining travelways shall be examined weekly or more often if changing ground conditions warrant.

Location for performing scaling (30 CFR § 57.3201):

Scaling shall be performed from a location which will not expose persons to injury from falling material, or other protection from falling material shall be provided.

Loading, blasting, and security (30 CFR § 57.6306):

(g) Work shall not resume in the blast area until a post-blast examination addressing potential blast-related hazards has been conducted by a person with the ability and experience to perform the examination.

The amount of the penalties for the citations is not yet available.

MSHA INFORMATION
Accident Site Photo and Information
MSHA Mine Data Retrieval System
Enter Denison Mines as Mine Operator to bring up list of mines. Or, enter Pandora's MSHA Mine ID: 4200470

NEWS ARTICLES
Moab Times Independent - May 27, 2010
Moab Times-Independent - June 17, 2010

June 28, 2010

UTAH ENERGY PLANS EXPLORATION ON
BLUE JAY AND MARCY-LOOK CLAIMS - COMMENTS DUE JULY 19

On June 21, the Manti-La Sal National Forest, Moab/Monticello Ranger District, noticed their intent to permit Utah Energy Corporation to drill exploration holes in western San Juan County. The proposed project is 64 exploration holes for the Blue Jay project and 76 exploration holes for the Marc-Look project. The areas are on Elk Ridge and South Elk Ridge. Public comments are due on July 19, 2010.

Utah Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of White Canyon Uranium, an Australian Company. Utah Energy also owns and operates the Daneros Uranium Mine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Blue Jay Project
Marcy Look Project

May 19, 2010

EPA TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS IN WYOMING AND COLORADO ON PART 192 REVIEW

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold public meetings on May 24 and May 26 on the EPA review and revision of the Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings and Uranium In Situ Leaching Processing Facilities. The standards (40 C.F.R. Part 192) were developed under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 and are implemented by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and NRC Agreement States.

The EPA meetings are to inform the public and take comments on the review. The EPA will be providing information regarding the submittal of written comments and other opportunities for public input. The EPA expects a draft rule in 2012.

Casper, Wyoming
Monday, May 24, 2010
6:30-9:00 pm
Ramada Plaza Riverside
Pine/Cedar Room
300 West F Street
Casper, Wyoming

Denver, Colorado

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
6:30-9:00 pm
Denver Grand Hyatt
Sunlight Peaks Room
1750 Welton St.
Denver, Colorado

EPA Meeting Flyer
Rulemaking Gateway: Revision of 40 CFR Part 192
Planned Review of EPA’s UMTRCA Based Regulations (2009 Power Point)

May 6, 2010

EPA FINDS ARIZONA 1 MINE OPERATING ILLEGALLY

In response to the concerns of Uranium Watch and Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Notice of Violation to Denison MInes Corporation. The EPA found that Denison Mines failed to comply with federal requlations related to the emission of radon from the Arizona 1 Uranium Mine. The Arizona 1 mine is on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and ore is trucked to the Denison MInes' uranium mill on White Mesa, San Juan County, Utah.

Denison was required to submit an application prior to construction and operation of the Arizona 1 Mine and required to notify the EPA that they had commenced operation. Denison similary failed to submit an application and notify the Utah Division of Air Quality, which has responsibility for radon as a hazardous air pollutant from uranium mines in Utah.

Associated Press Article

April 26, 2010

CDPHE PUBLIC HEARING on PIÑON RIDGE URANIUM MILL - JUNE 8

Date and Time: June 8, from 6 pm to 9 pm
Place: Montrose Pavillion, 1800 Pavillion Drive, Montrose, Colorado
Purpose: Receipt of Oral and Written Comments on the Montrose County Comments and Contractor Report on Energy Fuels' Piñon Ridge Environmental Report

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has received the Montrose County comments on the Energy Fuels Resources Inc.'s Environmental Report for the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley.  The comments include the 41-page Review of Piñon Ridge Project Environmental Report, Montrose County, Colorado, prepared by Pincock, Allen & Holt, Lakewood, Colorado. 

CPDHE will hold a public meeting to receive public comments on the Montrose County comments and the Pincock, Allen & Holt report.  The report and Montrose County's comments found a number of deficiencies in the Energy Fuels' Environmental Report. 

The CDPHE is required by the Atomic Energy Act to develop an environmental analysis of the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill and make the enviornmental analysis available for public comment (42 U.S.C. § 2021(o)(3)).  However, the CDPHE does not have plans for such a public comment opportunity.   Uranium Watch has brought the CDPHE failure to comply with the Atomic Energy Act to the attention of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Additional Information:

CDPHE Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill Documents
Montrose County Comments, Review of Piñon Ridge Project Environmental Report, Energy Fuelds Response to Request for Additional Information, and other Post-Application Documents

April 8 , 2010

Utah Issues Draft License for New Tailing Cell at
White Mesa Uranium Mill -
Comments Due May 10 | Public Meeting May 4

The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) has issued a Public Notice of an amendment to Radioactive Materials License No. UT1900479 to permit the Construction of a New Tailings Impoundment (Cell 4B) and the Modification to the Groundwater Discharge Permit No. UGW37004. Public comments are invited anytime prior to 5:00 p.m. on May 10, 2010.

The DRC will hold a public meeting to receive oral and written comments on May 4, 2010. The meeting will from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Blanding Arts and Events Center located at 715 West 200 South, Blanding (Utah State/College of Eastern Utah Campus). Comments on the Cell 4B license amendment will be received from 7 pm to 8 pm, and the groundwater discharge permit from 8 pm to 9 pm.

The construction of the new tailings impoundment will destroy ancient pit houses on White Mesa. Pictures of some of the archeological sites that were destroyed when the mill was constructed 30 years ago are shown in a 2004 White Mesa Archeological Sites Report.

Additional Information:
< Contact Phil Goble at 801/536-4044 or pgoble@utah.gov
< Tailings Cell 4B Proposed Construction Application
< Draft License and Permit, Statement of Basis, Safety Evaluation Report
< White Mesa Archeological Sites Report
< White Mesa Mill

Send Comments:
E-mail: pgoble@utah.gov
Mail: Division of Radiation Control, P.O. 144850, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4850

April 1 , 2010

EPA Concerned about NRC Environmental
Analysis of Proposed ISL Facilities in Wyoming

A March 3, 2010, letter from Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator of Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated the numerous concerns of the EPA related to three proposed in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery facilities in Wyoming. The letter addressed the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statements (SEISs) for the Lost Creek, Moore Ranch, and Nichols Ranch projects.

The EPA was concerned about the limited range of wastewater disposal alternatives, the waste management impacts, and the lack of information regarding air pollutants and their impacts. They identified other disposal alternatives: Class V injection well, treatment and disposal to surface waters under an NPDES permit; and other methods, such as land disposal and use of evaporation ponds. EPA "suggested" that the SEISs include an expanded discussion of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

A number of other individuals and organizations also submitted comments on the SEISs for each of the three ISL projects, including: Power River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, New Mexico Environmental Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources. These comments will be posted on Uranium Watch shortly.

March 19, 2010

NRC to Meet with Titan Uranium to Discuss
Application for a Heap Leach Uranium Recovery
Operation in Wyoming

On April 15, 2010, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will meet with Titan Uranium USA Inc. (Titan) to discuss Titan's proposed Sheep Mountain Heap Leach Uranium Recovery Project in Fremont County, Wyoming. A heap leach operation is considered a uranium milling (or recovery) operation, and would require a license by the NRC or NRC Agreement State, pursuant to 10 C.F.R. Part 40.

On February 16, 2010, Titan, a Canadian company, submitted a Notice of Intent to Submit a License Application for a Heap Leach Facility. The facility would be near the site of previous underground and open pit mining by Western Nuclear, Inc., and other uranium mine operators.

Titan intends to submit a license application to the NRC in April 2011. According to the NOI, there is a current mine permit issued by Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) (Permit
#381C) for both the underground and open pit mining operations. Titan will be submitting a revision of the plan to the WDEQ. It is not clear whether Titan would conduct underground uranium mining, open pit mining, or both. Only the process of recovering the uranium from the ore would be licensed by the NRC.

The heap leach operation would involve placing uranium ore on pads, leaching the uranium with a liquid (often sulfuric acid), processing the uranium-bearing extract in an ion exchange (IX) extraction column, removal of the uranium from the IX resins, and drying, packaging, and shipping the uranium product, or yellowcake. The leaching piles present a hazard because of the release of dust, radon gas, and leaching liquid.

This would be the first uranium heap leach operation in many years. The NRC does not have a Standard Review Plan for heap leach uranium recovery operations, and there has never been a generic envionmental assessment of heap leach uranium recovery.

Date: April 15, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT (11:00 am - 1:00 pm MDT)

To attend the meeting via conference call,
Contact Stephen Cohen
(301) 415-7182
stephen.cohen@nrc.gov

Notice and Agenda

March 12, 2010

Parties File Testimony Challenging
Use of Green River Water for Nuclear Reactor

On March 1, 2010, parties to the protest of the withdrawal of water from the Green River for the proposed Blue Castle Project nuclear power station filed additional testimony.  The Kane and San Juan County Water Conservancy Districts proposed changes that would allow the withdrawal of 53,600 acre-feet of water per year for the proposed reactor. The Districts leased the water to Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH) in 2007. 

The testimony supplemented the hearings held by the Utah Division of Water Rights in Green River on January 12.  There are major concerns—everything from the economic viability of the project to the impacts of the withdrawal on threatened and endangered fish species.  Requests were made to the State Engineer to withhold any determination until the Bureau of Reclamation completes a two-year Colorado River Basin Study.  The study proposes to model the imbalance of supply in the Colorado River Basin to 2060 under conditions of prolonged drought and climate change.  According to John Weisheit of Living Rivers, "The study will also analyze demands for water use that includes the environment, endangered fish recovery, recreation, and Native American water rights settlements."  The State Engineer would need this data to evaluate the availability of water for the project over the long term. A January 7 letter from the Director of the Utah Division of Water Resources to the State Engineer and testimony from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes similar requests.

Uranium Watch (UW) questioned the truthfulness of statements by BCH (formerly Transition Power Development LLC) regarding their ownership of the site and the existence of a purchase agreement.  UW provided studies that show an increased incidence of infant mortality and childhood leukemia in the vicinity of some nuclear power plants in the U.S. and Germany.

Hearing Audio, Transcript, and Testimony
Blue Castle Project Information
Division of Water Rights Records

March 10, 2010

Federal Court Upholds Licensing of New Mexico
Church Rock Crownpoint ISL - Dissenting Judge
Says Decision Puts Health of Navajos at Risk

A three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appelas, by a 2-1 vote, upheld the decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to grant Hydro Resources Inc. a license to conduct in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery near Church Rock and Crownpoint, New Mexico. In a strongly worded disssenting opinion, Judge Carlos F. Lucero, disagreed the the majority opinion, stating, “The NRC’s erroneous decision and the majority’s endorsement of that decision will expose families to levels of radiation beyond those deemed safe by the NRC’s own regulations, jeopardizing their health and safety.”

Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM), Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC), and two Navajo women from Pinedale Chapter intervened in the case in 1995. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center represented ENDAUM and SRIC.

There are still outstanding issues to be addressed before any mining could occur, including whether the ISL sites are part of "Indian Country" and, thereby, under Environmental Protection Agency jursidiction for an Underground Injection Control permit.

NMELC News Release - March 9, 2010
NMELC News Release - April 19, 2008

Associated Press Story
Navajo Times Story

March 8, 2010

BLM Releases Public Scoping Report for EIS on Withdrawal of Grand Canyon Lands from Mineral Development

Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arizona Strip District Office in St. George, Utah, released the Scoping Report for the Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The scoping is part of the Department of Interior's evaluation of the withdrawal of nearly 1 million acres of federal lands near the Grand Canyon from NEW mining development. The proposed segregation areas are on the north and south rims, outside of tribal and state lands and National Forest, Park, and Monument areas. There are already historic and recently permitted uranium mines and thousands of uranium mine claims in this area.

The BLM received 83,525 submittals, containing 8,600 distinct comments. According to the BLM's News Release, "Information gathered by the BLM through the scoping process will be used in developing the EIS. Comments will be used to help identify a range of alternatives, as well as to identify issues and concerns to be considered in the EIS."

The Scoping Report summarizes public scoping comments provides a preliminary list of public concerns. A BLM Newsletter provides an additional summary and information.

The scoping report, newsletter and other information about the EIS can also be accessed at:
http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/mining/timeout.html

The BLM expects the Draft EIS to be available for public comment in August 2010, and will provide for only a 45-day comment period. Public meetings and hearings will also be held to accept comments during the comment period. The BLM expects to finalize the EIS in February 2011.

March 5, 2010

Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining
Sets up Web Access to Mining Records

The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) has established a web page for the public to be able to read and download current and past mine permit records. Not all of the thousand of records have been posted, but many current records are available.

To access the DOGM records:

1. Go to Mineral Files by Permit, which lists mines by County. There are two sets of County alphabetical listings on this master list. If you do not find a mine on the first part of the list, scroll further down, and the alphabetical list starts over and additional mines are listed for each County. Mines in each County are listed by number, not alphabetically.

2. Click on the mine name. Either a list of mine records pops up or just a page that indicates specific fields, but no list of records. If there are no records listed, none have been posted yet.

3. Click on a document number of other document field to bring up a document. A user name and password form appears. Enter ogmguest for both user name and password. If you indicate to save the password, it will not be necessary to provide the user name and password each time.

4. To access the mine permit files from DOGM Home Page, link to Mining Program, then link to Minerals Regulatory Program, and to Access to Electronic Version of Minerals Files.

February 15 , 2010

Public Hearing on the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill
Application - February 17

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will hold a second public hearing to receive oral and written comments on the Application for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill. Energy Fuels Resources Corporation proposes to build and operate the mill in the Paradox Valley, about 12 miles west of Naturita, Colorado. The applicant will make an initial 20-minute presentation. Other persons will have 3-minutes to present their comments.

Date: February 17, 2010
Time:
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Place:
Montrose Pavilion
1800 Pavilion Drive
Montrose, Colorado

Written comments can also be submitted to the CDPHE:

E-mail: cdphe.hmenergyfuels@state.co.us
Fax: 303-759-5355
Mail: Steve Tarlton or Warren Smith
CDPHE Radiation Program
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246-1530


Additional Information:
Warren Smith: 1-888-569-1831, ext. 3373
Marilyn Null: 1-888-569-1831, ext. 3304


Public Notice
Application and Related Documents

February 11 , 2010

Center for Biological Diversity Sues BLM
for Release of Arizona 1 Mine Records

The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for withholding pertinent records related to uranium mines on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The suit asserts that the BLM violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to disclose records pursuant to a July 30, 2009, request submitted by the Center. Denison Mines Corporation has commenced operation of the mine, shipping ore to their uranium mill on White Mesa in San Juan County, Utah.

Some of the records withheld records pertaine to the Arizona 1 mine. In November, the CBD and other plaintiffs sued the BLM for their failure to undertake new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act review prior to allowing Denison Mines to resume mining. Instead the BLM is relying on 1988 NEPA reviews.

CBD Press Release
Complaint

February 8 , 2010

Living Rivers and Red Rock Forests Challenge
Use of Colorado Water for Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill

Living Rivers and Red Rock Forests, Utah conservation groups, filed a challenge to the use of Dolores River Water for the operation of the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley in South West Colorado. Harold Shepherd, acting director of Red Rock Forests in concerned about the speculative nature of the mill and the impacts to the water users and river environment. The Dolores River is under consideration for designation as a federally protected Wild and Scenic River, which could be threatened if the applications are granted.

Energy Fuels Resources has submitted an Application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which is under review. There will be a public hearing on February 17 at the Montrose Pavilion, 1800 Pavilion Drive, Montrose, Colorado, to take comments on the Application.

Deseret News Article - Feburary 3, 2010
Colorado Department of Public Health - Piñon Ridge Mill Document

January 20, 2010

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Suit Demanding
DOE Open Records on Uranium Leasing Program

U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel ruled that a coalition of conservation groups could question officials and obtain the records from the Department of Energy (DOE) on the uranium mine leasing program in southwestern Colorado. The suit was filed by the Energy Minerals Law Center on behalf of Colorado Environmental Coalition, Information Network for Responsible Mining, Center for Native Ecosystems, and Center for Biological Diversity. The objective was the protection of the water quality and wildlife habitat near the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers. Mines in the DOE leasing program would be one of the sources of uranium ore for the proposed Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in the Paradox Valley, which threatens the air and quality and the economic resources of the Paradox Valley area.

News Articles
~ Telluride Daily Planet
~ Colorado Independent
DOE Uranium Leasing Program

January 15, 2010

Citizens Provide Testimony at Protest Hearings on Water for Nuclear Reactor in Green River

Citizens of Green River and Grand County, Utah, along with representatives of state and national organizations provided testimony at the Division of Water Right's all-day hearings in Green River on January 12. The Kane County and San Juan County Water Conservancy Districts' legal representative, John Mabey, Blue Castle Holdings Inc. CEO Aaron Tilton, and their experts gave a lengthy presentation in support of the proposed transfer of water rights from the Colorado River and San Juan Rivers to the Green River for Blue Castle Project.

The Applicant's testimony was short on specifics about the impacts of the withdrawal of the water, the economic feasibility of the project; who would license, construct and operate the power plant; the structures that would be used to divert and transport the water to the proposed reactor site; and what would happen to the high level nuclear waste produced by the reactor. Aaron Tilton claimed that Blue Castle Holdings had an agreement to purchase the site for the reactor, which is not true. BCH has not purchased the site and does not have a purchase agreement with Emery County.

Protesters presented testimony on the impacts of the withdrawal of
74 cubic feet per second (53,600 acre feet) on the Green River environment, the lack of available water over time due to other water use commitments and climate change, agreements that must be met in support of endangered fish species, the physical and economic feasibility of the project, lack of specific information and data, and adverse impacts to local agricultural and recreational uses and the community.

The State Engineer has held the record open until March 1 to receive additional testimony from all the parties.

Hearings Transcript
Hearing Presentations and Testimony
Audio Recording of Hearings
Hearing Documents
Information About the Blue Castle Generation Project
News Articles
~ Moab Times Independent
~ Salt Lake Tribune
~ Grand Junction Sentinel
~ High Country News

January 6, 2010

Protest Hearings on Water for Nuclear Reactor to be Held January 12 in Green River, Utah

On January 12, 2010, the Utah Division of Water Rights will hold hearings on the protests of the Kane County and San Juan County Water Conservancy Districts' change applications for the provision of water from the Green River for a proposed nuclear power plant. The hearings on the requests to change the point of diversion, place of use, and nature of use for 29,600 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River and 24,000 acre-feet of water from the San Juan River. The water has been leased to Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH, formerly Transition Power Development LLC) for the nuclear reactor that BCH wants to site a few miles west of Green River.

The public is urged to attend and may have an opportunity to voice their concerns. The hearings start at 9:00 a.m. and will likely continue throughout the day. For more information, contact Uranium Watch via e-mail or 435-210-0166.

Notice
Information About the Blue Castle Generation Project
Hearing Location -
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 East Main
Green River, Utah

Time - 9:00 a.m

January 4, 2010

Report: Nuclear Power: The Critical Question

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), World Information Service on Energy (WISE), and Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) have issued Nuclear Power: The Critical Question: First hand reports from the frontlines of the nuclear fuel chain. The 40-page booklet provides first-hand reports about citizens directly impacted by the nuclear fuel cycle world wide. From the open pit mining of uranium in New Mexico, to Chernobyl, to reactor operations in France, to reprocessing at Sellafield, the stories the show the real life impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Report Cover
Nuclear Power: The Critical Question

January 2, 2010

Utah Division of Radiation Control Proposes Rule
for the Disposal of Depleted Uranium -
Comments Due February 2, 2010

The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) is accepting public comment on a proposed change to its rules regarding land disposal of depleted uranium (DU). The Utah Radiation Control Rule R313-25-8 proposed change involves “License Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste – Technical Analysis.” The proposed rule incorporates language regarding a site-specific performance assessment for facilities that accept depleted uranium for land disposal, prior to the disposal of significant quantities of depleted uranium. The EnergySolutions site in Tooele County has received shipments of DU from the Department of Energy, and plans to receive more.

The DRC will hold a public meeting on January 26 at 6 p.m. in Room 101, Airport East Business Building (Bldg #2), 168 North 1950 West, Salt Lake City.

Mail comments to:
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Division of Radiation Control
Room 212, Airport East Business Building (Bldg #2)
168 North 1950 West.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4850

Public Notice
Proposed Rule

<<Back to Top>>

Updated June 20, 2011

Uranium Watch • 435-259-9540 • PO Box 344 • Moab, Utah 84532