NEWS ARCHIVE ◊ 2016
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2015
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2014
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2013
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2012
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2011
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2010
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2009
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2008
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URANIUM WATCH PARTICIPATES IN HEARING ON KCWCD WATER RIGHTS EXTENSION REQUEST
On December 20, 2016, Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and HEAL Utah participated in a hearing in Green River on the Kane County Water Conservancy District’s request for extension of time to show that the water rights appropriated for the Blue Castle Project have been put to beneficial use.
Uranium Watch asserted that the water is not needed for Kane County or other area served by the District or any other location over the next 40 years. There is no evidence that Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH) has the financial resources to complete the application for an Early Site Perm, let alone the funds to license and construct the 2-unit nuclear power plant. BCH has not contacted the NRC since 2011 and is not moving forward with emergency response planning. BCH no longer owns the Willow Creek pipeline construction company, which was their main source of revenue.
• KCWCD Water Rights Documents
COLORADO DETERMINES THAT ABLATION IS A URANIUM
"MILLING" OPERATION AND REQURES LICENSE
THe Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) determined that Ablation is a uranium recovery operation, or "milling" operation, under the Atomic Energy Act (AEA). Ablation must be regulated under applicable Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and State of Utah regulations. The NRC and the CDPHE determined that the solid and liquid waste streams from Ablation met the defination of 11e.(2) byproduct material. Therefore, the handings, storage, and long-term care of the waste streams fall under both the AEA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other federal laws.
Black Range Minerals/Western Uranium Corporation (WUC) has proposed using Ablation to process ore at the Sunday Mine Complex, in San Miguel County, Colorado. The mines have been on standby since 2009. The mine is not permitted to operate. In order to reopen the mine, WUC needs to submit a new Plan of Operations, and go through the Bureauof Land Management approval process, which includes a new environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It is unclear if WUC would be able to license and operate a uranium recovery operation and dispose of the waste on federal land.
George Glasier, the CEO of WUC continutes to mislead the public and investors regarding the Sunday Mine Complex and the possibility of using Ablation technology.
• CDPHE Ablation Documents
• Western Uranium Corporation/Black Range Minerals Canadian Securities Documents
BLUE CASTLE HOLDINGS FAILS TO MAKE FIRST WATER RIGHTS LEASE PAYMENTS
Blue Castle Holdings failed to make the first Water Rights lease payments for the proposed Blue Castle Project Nuclear Reactor at Green River, Utah. The lease agreement between BCH and the Kane County Water Conservancy requires a First Pre-Operation Payment of $100,000 30 days after the State Engineer’s decision approving the use of the water for the reactor. The First Pre-Operation Payment to the San Juan County Water Conservancy District was to be $80,000. According to KCWCD, they are considering a new lease agreement.
Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, HEAL Utah believe that BCH does not have the financial wherewithal to move forward with the proposed nuclear reactor project, even though the the State Engineer, 7th District Court, and Utah Court of Appeals determined that the Blue Castle Project is economically feasible.
• KCWCD Response to Protest Supplement
• Other KCWCD Water Rights Docs
COMMUNITY WALK AGAINST WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
On October 11 citizens of the White Mesa community walked and rode from White Mesa to the White Mesa Uranium Mill in opposition to the Mill.
• Photos and Article
NRC DETERMINES THAT ABLATION IS A
URANIUM MILLING TECHNOLOGY
Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that Ablation uranium recovery technology is a uranium concentration (milling) technology, not a uranium mining technology. In an October 19, 2016, letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the NRC informed the agency that the waste from Ablation is 11e.(2) byproduct material and must be regulated under the Atomic Energy Act and NRC and CDPHE regulations.
Black Range Minerals, a subsidiary of Western Uranium Corporation (WUC), proposed to use Ablation to separate uranium from the sandstone matrix at the Sunday Mine Complex in San Miguel County, Colorado. BRM maintains that Ablation is a mining process, not a milling process. The CDPHE requested public comment on the regulation of Ablation and requested an opinion from the NRC. The CDPHE will be making a determination of their intentions with respect the regulation of Ablation, not that they have an opinion from the NRC.
• CDPHE Ablation Documents
• WUC Financial
NRC ORDERS HALT TO WASTE SHIPMENTS TO WHITE MESA MILL
• NRC Order re Shipping of ISL Evaporation Sludge to White Mesa - August 30, 2016
• DWMRC Report on Smith Ranch Waste Spill (19 MB)
GROUPS DROP REACTOR WATER RIGHTS APPEAL - EVIDENCE SHOWS PROJECT IS NOT VIABLE
Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and HEAL Utah announced their decision not to appeal the July 21, 2016, Utah Court of Appeals Decision upholding the State Engineer and 7th District Court decisions granting water for the propoosed Blue Castle Project (BCP) nuclear reactor. At the August 10 Press Conference in Salt Lake City, representatives from the three principal groups that have fought the BCP announced they were dropping the legal challenge to the project’s water rights. The challenge to the appropriation of ~ 87 million gallons of water per day for the BCP began in 2009 with protests of the change applications filed by the Kane County and San Juan County Water Conservancy Districts. The Water Conservancy Districts had leased the rights to 53,600 acre-feet of water from Green River, next to the small community of Green River, to Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH).
The groups made clear that this does not end opposition to the BCP. The project has attracted very little outside investment and no funding or commitment from any electrical utility. BCH needs from $50 to $100 million to develop an Early Site Permit application to submit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). As of 2015, BCH had raised about $20 million. BCH has not contacted the NRC since 2011, does not own the property proposed for the reactor, and no longer owns the Willow Creek pipeline company that was a source of funding.
There are many issues regarding the delivery of water for the project due to long-standing drought conditions, need for approval of delivery of water from Flaming Gorge Dam, a US Fish and Wildlife Service recovery program for threatened and endangered fish in the Colorado River Basin, and the low priority of the San Juan County water right.
• Associated Press
• Salt Lake Tribune
• Salt Lake Tribune Editorial
• Moab Sun Times
• Moab Times-Independent Letter
ENVIRO GROUPS ASK FOR FULL
DANEROS URANIUM MINE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
Uranium Watch, INFORM, and Living Rivers submitted Comments on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Daneros Mine in western San Juan County, near Natural Bridges National Monument. These comments addressed the failure of the BLM to adequately identify, characterize, and analyze the environmental consequences of expanding the mine operation and surface impact to 46.3 acres.
The Grand Canyon Trust, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Greenaction, National Parks Association, and others filed Comments that focused on the need for an EIS.
The Daneros is within the area proposed for the Bears Ears National Monument. In early winter of 2015 a beyond design-basis flood washed out the culverts and other storm water control structures. In order to remediate the area and replace the culverts, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. amended the Stream Alteration Application submitted to the Div. of Water Rights. The State Engineer Issued a Stream Alteration Order March 21, 2016.
DIV. OF WATER QUALITY REQUIRES RIM MINE GROUND WATER DISCHARGE PERMIT APPLICATION
In response to Uranium Watch’s comments on the renewal of the Rim Mine Utah Pollution Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) Permit (UT 0023922), the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) Permit renewal requires a Ground Water Discharge Permit Application, if the uranium mine ever reopens. The DWQ also determined that the waters receiving the discharge from the mine’s water treatment system must be protected for agricultural uses, including stock-watering. The DWQ did not address the use of the water in the evaporation ponds by birds, insects, and other wildlife, nor the impacts to the environment from the radiological and non-radiological contaminants in the pond sediments when the ponds dry out. The Rim Mine, in lower San Juan County, has been on standby since 2009.
ANFIELD SUBMITS LICENSE RENEWAL
FOR SHOOTARING CANYON MILL
In June 2016 Anfield Resources Holding Inc. submitted a partial License Renewal Application to the Utah Div. of Wast Management and Radiation Control. The Mill is in the watershed of the Colorado River, near Ticaboo, Garfield County, Utah. Anfield, a Canadian company that recently purchased the Mill and associated uranium mine properties, wants to refurbish and operate the Mill. Refurbishment incluides the construction of a new tailings impoundment. However, Anfield does not currently have the financial and other resources to refurbish and operate the Mill and permit, develop, and operate one or more uranium mines.
UTAH ASSOCIATED MUNICIPAL POWER SYSTEMS
PROPOSES SMALL MODULAR REACTOR PROJECT AT
IDAHO NATIONAL LAB
The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), a group of municipal utilities, intends to develop a 12-unit Small Modular Reactor project, proposed to be located at the Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho National Lab. The project would use the NuScale reactor design, which must be approved separately by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The design places both the reactors and the spent fuel in the same pool of water in a large containment building.
UAMPS, NuScale, and the DOE erroneously claim that these SMRs are “Carbon Fee.” These promoters of SMRs as “Clean Energy” ignore the energy (likely generated by fossil fuel) and fuel required to mine and mill uranium, convert and enrich the uranium, fabricate the nuclear fuel, manufacture and transport the reactor units, SMR construction and operation, transportation and disposal of the irradiated reactor fuel. Every step of the way, the SMR project will not be “carbon free.” Nuclear power, including the smaller SMRs, is dirty, dangerous, and expensive.
NuScale expects to submit a design certification application to the NRC later this year. NuScale has been holding meetings with the NRC and responding to Requests for Additional Information. UAMPS would submit a separate application for a construction and operation (COL) license, expected in 2018.
UAMPS 45 members are in primarily in Utah, but include utilities in Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, California, and Oregon. Los Alamos County, which provides electricity to the Los Alamos National Lab, has joined UAMPS in order to participate in the SMR project. According to NuScale, 32 UAMPS have decided to participate at this stage. Some utilities has already said they would not be part of the project, others would have to give final approval. The costs of the project, even with DOE providing millions of dollars, are currently unknown.
UAMPS and NuScale are trying to get as much taxpayer funding for this project as possible. NuScale has established an advisory board of representatives of industrial and utility companies, including Rocky Mountain Power.
UTAH DIVISION OF WATER QUALITY
TO RENEW RIM URANIUM MINE UPDES PERMIT
The Utah Department of Water Quality issued a Notice of an opportunity to comment on the Rim Uranium Mine Utah Pollution Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) Permit (UT 0023922). Comments due on June 27, 2016. The permit limits the pollutants in the mine water discharged after treatment to remove radium. Environmental Protection Agency regulations limit the amount of uranium, radium, and other constituents in the treated mine water discharge. The Rim Mine is owned by Energy Fuels Resources Inc., the Canadian company that owns the White Mesa Mill.
The Rim Mine, on Bureau of Land Management land in southern San Juan County at the end of Bryan Road (west of West Summit Road), last operated in 2009. The mine has operated intermittently since the 1970s, but has never produced much ore.
Equipment has been removed from the mine, mine water is no longer pumped/treated/discharged, the ponds that hold treated mine water have dried up, cows wander at will. It is likely that the mine will never again operate.
On April 5, 2016, the DWQ conducted a UPDES inspection of the mine. Also, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining is in the process of updating the reclamation surety for the Rim and other Energy Fuels uranium mines.
UTAH SEEKS SCOPING COMMENTS ON SHOOTARING CANYON URANIUM MILL
The Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) has issued a Notice requesting scoping comments on the License Renewal for the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill, Garfield County, Utah. Comments are due March 25.
The agency is seeking comments from the public about the relicensing and possible reopening of the Mill. Anfield Resources Inc. must submit the License Renewal Application by the end of June. Anfield would like to refurbish and reopen the Mill, which has not operated since 1982.
However, Anfield does not have the funds to reopen the Mill or the funds to permit, develop, and operate a couple of uranium mines. According to Anfield's SEDAR filings, as of September 2015, the Company had a working capital deficit of $1,504,061. Anfield has no history of profitable operations. As of November 2015 Anfield had insufficient funds to meet all property commitments and agreements.
The Mill should be decommissioned and reclaimed. However, the tailings impoundment is unlined, so there are issues about the long-term presence of uranium mill tailings in the Colorado River watershed.
The current uranium market does not support the operation of the only conventional uranium mill in the United States licensed to operate, the White Mesa Mill. The White Mesa Mill is on standby, and all of the permitted uranium mines in Utah have been on standby since 2012 or before. There is no evidence that the current price of uranium will support the operation of a new mill and new mines, even if Anfield has all the capital it needed to refurbish the Mill and permit and operate mines to produce uranium ore.
UTAH DIVISION OF WATER QUALITY
TO RENEW RIM URANIUM MINE UPDES PERMIT
The Utah Department of Water Quality (DWQ) has issued a Notice of an opportunity to comment on the Utah Pollution Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) Permit (UT 0023922). The permit limits the pollutants in the mine water discharged by the mine from its water treatment system. Environmental Protection Agency regulations limit the amount of uranium, radium, and other constituents in the mine water. The mine is owned by Energy Fuels Resource Inc., the Canadian company that owns the White Mesa Mill.
The Rim Mine, on Bureau of Land Management Land in southern San Juan County west of West Summit Road last operated in 2009. Equipment has been removed from the mine, mine water is no longer pumped/treated/discharged, the ponds that hold treated mine water have dried up, cows wander the unfenced site at will, and it is likely that the mine will never again operate.
On April 5, 2016, the DWQ conducted a UPDES Inspection of the mine. Also, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining is in the process of updating the reclamation surety for the Rim and other Energy Fuels uranium mines.
UTAH APPROVES TRANSFER OF
SHOOTARING CANYON MILL TO ANFIELD
The Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) has approved the transfer of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill from Uranium One Americas, Inc. (Uranium One) to Anfield Resources Holding Corp. (Anfield). The DWMRC transferred the Mill's Radioactive Material License and Groundwater Quality Discharge Permit.
On December 2, 2015, DWMRC responding to a November 17, 2015, license extension request and extended the date for Anfield to submit a license renewal application to June 30, 2016.
According to documents submitted to the Canadian Securities Administrators and available on SEDAR, Anfield is in debt and does not have the funds to refurbish the mill, operate the mill, or permit, develop, and operate uranium mines to supply ore to the Mill.
• Shootaring Canyon License and Permit Transfer
STOP FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS CAMPAIGN!
Maps Show Utah Major Route for High Level Waste
Uranium Watch has joined the Nuclear Information and Resource Service Campaign to stop the transportation of the nuclear reactor spent fuel rods (High Level Nuclear Waste), to Yucca Mountain and through Utah.
Massive and unnecessary radioactive waste transportation would occur across the U.S. if the scientifically-indefensible Yucca Mountain, Nevada, waste dump were to be revived. Such large-scale transport would also occur if, as some in Congress advocate, a "centralized interim storage" site for high-level radioactive waste were created. In that case, the waste would either have to move twice (once to the interim site, and then to a permanent site), thus doubling the risks. The "interim" site could become a de facto permanent waste dump.
Over 10,000 casks would move through Utah along I-15, I-80, I-84, and along the rail lines across Utah from Colorado. Casks would be transported along the Colorado River canyons in Colorado and Utah. Colorado and Utah are not prepared for to handle these hazards.
• Utah HLNW Transportation Map
• Colorado HLNW Transportation Map
• State of Nevada Nuclear Waste Information WebSite
• The Spectrum (St. George) - News Article
• The Grand Junction Sentinel (Grand Junction) - News Article
Last Updated February 1, 2017