NEWS ARCHIVE ◊ 2018
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2019
◊ NEWS ARCHIVE - 2017
◊ 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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ABANDONED MINE RECLAMATION IN THE LA SALS
The Bureau of Land Management has been conducting studies and mine closure at abandoned uranium mines in and near the La Sal Mountains, Grand and San Juan Counties in southwest Utah. The work involves the Brown's Hole, Yellow Cat, and Polar Mesa areas. According to the BLM: "Studies were in part funded by a BLM grant to the Utah Abandon Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP). Reclamation construction is funded by a grant to the AMRP from the Dept. of Interior, Office of Surface Mining." Under the grant, only mine closure work could be conducted for public safety. None of the funds could be used for environmental remediation.
• Freeport Minerals Corporation Proposed Mine Feature Closures: Yellow Cat and Gateway Mining Districts, Utah, Yellow Cat and Polar Mesa. March 2018.
• Brown’s Hole Proposed Mine Feature Closures, San Juan County, Utah. September 2018.
• Summary: Brown's Hole Abandon Mine Closures. ARM/037/910.
• Polar Mesa Map
• Yellow Cat Map
WHITE MESA MILL TO PROCESS TAILINGS
EFFLUENT FOR VANADIUM
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. announced in a recent News Release their intention of processing the liquid effluents stored in ponds (Cells 1, 4A, and 4B) at the White Mesa Mill for vanadium. Energy Fuels states that they expect to resume vanadium production in mid-November of this year.
REHABILITATION WORK AT LA SAL MINE -
PLAN FOR LIMITED TEST RUN OF ORE
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is conducting Rehabilitation work at the La Sal Mine, part of the La Sal Mines Complex, La Sal, Utah. According to the Energy Fuels News Release, the company intends to remove about 5,000 tons of ore for processing at the White Mesa Mill to determine the economic feasibility of processing the ore for both vanadium and uranium. Recent increases in the sale price of vanadium have encouraged the company to again process ore for both minerals.
DOE DEFENSE-RELATED URANIUM MINE (DRUM)
The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2017 Annual Report for the Defense-Related Uranium Mine (DRUM) Program. According to the DOE: The report provides a summary ofLegacy Managements (LM’s) activities during its first year of the Program. Achievements included formation of interagency partnerships, implementation of field inventory and environmental sampling projects at defense-related uranium mines (DRUM) in western Colorado and eastern Utah, and development of risk scoring assessments to determine physical hazards—as well as potential chemical and radiological risks—posed by the mines.
REQUEST TO CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL TAILINGS CELLS
AT WHITE MESA MILL
On July 12, 2018, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. submitted a License Amendment Application to expand the White Mesa Uranium Mill by constructing two (2) new 40-acre tailings impoundments, Cells 5A and 5B. Energy Fuels intends to construct the tailings cells at some time in the future. The Mill is only allowed to have to operational tailings impoundments at any one time. It may have any number of impoundments to receive liquid effluents. Right now, Cells 3 and 4A receive solid tailings. Cells 1 and 4B receive liquid effluents for storage, and Cell 2 is in closure.
Additional Information (These are large files)
• July 2018 Application Cover Letter
• Cells 5A and 5B Application
• Cells 5A and 5B Design Report
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.
The 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.
WHITE MESA MILL
Uranium Watch et al., Grand Canyon Trust, Mark Kerr, and the Ute Mt. Ute Tribe submitted Sur-Reply Comments responsive to Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. (Energy Fuels) October 23, 2017, comments on some of the License Renewal comments received by the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) in August 2017. The various comments relate to the Renewal of Radioactive Material License (UT1900479) and the Groundwater Quality Discharge Permit (UGW370004) for the White Mesa Uranium Mill site, next to Ute Mt. Ute tribal lands, San Juan County, and Amendment request to process waste from the reclamation of the Gore, Oklahoma, uranium processing facility.
Sur-Reply Comments address the environmental and health and safety impacts of the Mill operation. The DWMRC is in the process of reviewing the comments and responding with their determinations regarding the approvals and terms of the renewed license and permit.
HARPER'S MAGAZINE ARTICLE - States of Decay: A Journey Through America's Nuclear Heartland
The October 2017 issue of Harper's Magazine includes a lengthy article by Ben Mauk on the current and legacy impacts of the uranium industry in the western United States. Last year Ben visited the uranium mines in San Juan County and and spoke with White Mesa Ute residents whose lives have been impacted the operation of the White Mesa Uranium Mill.
• States of Decay - CLICK HERE
UAMPS SMALL MODULAR REACTOR PROGRAM
The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) has a special committee, the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) Committee, which has been meeting monthly to discuss the proposed Small Modular Reactor Project proposed by UAMPS. The SMR would be of the NuScale design and constructed at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho. Members of the public can sign up to receive notices of the CFPP and other UAMPS meetings.
Meetings of the CFPP Committee include presentations about the UAMPS decision making process. UW will be posting information about the proposed SMR project.
• Utah Public Notice Website (UAMPS is an Interlocal Entity)
• Uranium Watch UAMPS SMR Information - CLICK HERE
AZ DEPT. OF WATER RESOURCES FINDS ENERGY FUELS IMPROPERLY TRANSPORTED WATER FROM THE CANYON MINE TO WHITE MESA MILL
In response to a formal complaint filed by Uranium Watch, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) found that Energy Fuels Resources Inc. illegally transported water from the Canyon Uranium Mine in Arizona to Utah. Over 100 tanker trucks of impacted mine water from the Canyon Mine workings were transported to the White Mesa Mill for use in the Mill processing circuit. Energy Fuels needed to get rid of the water, because of the limited storage capacity for excess mine water at the Mine site. Energy Fuels claimed that the intent was just to dispose of the water for environmental purposes.
Arizona law does not allow the transport of groundwater for use out of state without authorization by the Director and does not authroize the transport of water for direct disposal. Energy Fuels failed to submit the required application and receive the SDWR Director’s approval. Apparently, Energy Fuels was not aware of this legal requirement. The ADWR did not fine Energy Fuels, but made clear the requirement for an application, hearing, opportunity for public comment, and the Director’s approval if additional water is transported to the White Mesa Mill.
The 1986 Environmental Impact Statement that the US Forest Service developed for the Mine did not include any analysis of transport of mine water out of state. Energy Fuels does not want to construct a new evaporation pond, because that would require a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.
• ADWR Decision Letter - July 27, 2017
• ADWR Decision - related documents
WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE RENEWAL COMMENTS
Comments on the White Mesa License Renewal, Groundwater Permit Renewal, Reclamation Plan, and Amendment Request to process waste from the Gore, Oklahoma, uranium conversion facility were submitted to the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control by Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club on July 31. The Grand Canyon Trust, Ute Mt. Ute Tribe, and other individuals and organizations also submitted comments.
Uranium Watch comments focused on the License Renewal, Reclamation Plan, and the Energy Fuels Resources Inc. request to process uranium-bearing waste from the Gore, Oklahoma, uranium conversion facility.
◊ WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE COMMENTS
•Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, Utah Chapter Sierra Club Comments
> License Renewal
> License Renewal - Exhibit A
> Reclamation and Decommissioning Plan
> License Amendment Request to Process Gore, Oklahoma, Waste
> Supplement to License Renewal Comments - August 2017
> Second Supplement to License Renewal Comments- September 2017
> Exhibit A to Second Supplement
• Grand Canyon Trust Comments
• Individual Comments- May 2017
WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE RENEWAL
◊ LICENSE RENEWAL SCHEDULE
•Hearing in Salt Lake City: June 8
•Hearing in Blanding: June 15
•Comments Due: July 31 (31-day extension granted)
The Utah Divisiion of Waste Managment and Radiation Control (DWMRC) has issued the Notice for Public Comment and Hearings on the Renewal of the White Mesa Uranium MIll License and the Ground Water Discharge Permit, the approval of the Reclamation Plan, and Approval of a License Amendment to process waste from the Sequoyah Fuels, Oklahoma, uranium processing facilty.
◊ June 8 Hearing: Dept. of Environmental Quality, 195 N 1950 West, Salt Lake City, Utah. Room 2125 or Room 1015, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
The June 8 Hearing is to provide an opportunity for interested persons and organaizations to submit comments and to cross examine the DWMRC about the License and Permit Renewals, Reclamation Plan, and License Amendment. Questions to the DWMRC Staff must be submitted by Tuesday, May 30, to Scott Anderson, Director, DWMRC, PO Box 144880, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. Or, e-mail to Scott Anderson: email@example.com.
◊ June 15 Meeting: USU Arts and Events Center, 715 West 200 South, Blanding, Utah. From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
The June 15 Meeting is to provide an opportunity for the submittal of oral and/or written comments to the DWMRC.
◊ Written Comments: Written Comments on the License and Permit Renewals, Reclamation Plan, and License Amendment must be submitted by June 30 to Scott Anderson, Director, DWMRC, PO Box 144880, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. Or, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject Line: Public Comments on White Mesa RML Renewal.
• Public Notice and White Mesa Mill Documents and Information
NRC CITES CAMECO FOR VIOLATIONS RE
WASTE SLUDGE TRANSPORT TO WHITE MESA MILL
◊ Based on the results of an inspection of the Power Resources Inc. (Cameco Resources Inc.) Smith Ranch Highland insitu leach (ISL) Uranium Recovery Facility, conducted by the Nuclear Regulaory Commission (NRC) from Nov. 15-17, 2016, nine apparent violations were identified and are being considered for escalated enforcement action in accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy. The failures involved transport of waste to the White Mesa Mill, where spills of the waste coming from the Smith Ranch site occurred in 2015 and 2016. The apparent violations involved:
• The failure to accurately assess the activity of pond sediment and barium sulfate sludge waste shipments;
• The failure to adequately report the total activity for waste and resin shipments on the associated shipping documents;
• The failure to accurately label waste shipment package;
• The failure to classify and ship the waste packages as Low Specific Activity level two (LSA-II) material;
• The failure to ship LSA-II waste material in appropriate containers;
• the failure to ensure by examination or appropriate tests that packages were proper for the contents to be shipped and closure devices were properly secured;
• The failure to perform evaluations or perform tests that ensured the transportation package would be capable of withstanding the effects of any acceleration and vibration normally incident to transportation;
• The failure to provide the name of each radionuclide listed and an accurate chemical description of contents; and
• The failure to provide function specific training to a hazmat employee concerning the requirements that are specifically applicable to the functions the employee performed.
• NRC Inspection Report, April 3, 2017
• NRC News Release: Predecisional Conference, April 25, 2017
• NRC May 4 Predecisional Conference Summary, May 9, 2017
THE BOARD OF UTAH DIV. OF OIL, GAS & MINING
APPROVES NEXT STEP IN RULEMAKING FOR TEMPORARY CESSATION OF
◊ At the April 26, 2017, meeting of the Board of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining, the Division staff briefed the Board on the rulemaking that would provide clarity and improvements to the Division’s regulations regarding temporary cessation of operation of hard rock mines. The rulemaking is the result of concerns brought to Division staff by Uranium Watch in 2015. The Division’s regulations regarding temporary cessation of operation were vague and were not being properly enforced. Some permitted uranium mines have been on standby for 25 years or more. The proposed rules will define “operation” and include a requirement for Interim Management Plans.
The Board approved moving ahead with the rulemaking process. The Division staff will provide a draft rule to an informal review group of stakeholders, including Uranium Watch. Once a draft is finalized it will be noticed for public comment.
For information about the process and Board discussion, view the You-Tube Video (minutes 29:00 to 53:40, approximately).
WHITE MESA UTE COMMUNITY PROTEST
AND SPIRITUAL WALK - May 13
◊ Saturday May 13 there will be a Protest and Spiritual Walk from the White Mesa Ute Community to the White Mesa Uranium Mill—about 4 miles. The alk is to protest the operation of the Mill and to protect our community, health, air, land, culture, and sacred sites from the Mill. Gather at the White Mesa Community Building at 11 am.
The Walk is sponsored by the White Mesa Concerned Community and co-sponsored by Canyon Country Rising Tide, Grand Canyon Trust, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Haul No, Living River,and Uranium Watch.
Directions: The White Mesa Ute Community is between Bluff and Blanding. The community center is located slightly off Hwy. 191, on the west side of the road, behind the Mobil Gas Station. Look for a large red building with “White Mesa Community Center” written in white letters on the side.
Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water! For more information, call White Mesa Concerned Community (435) 485-0265.
WESTINGHOUSE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY - CALLING INTO QUESTION FEASIBILITY OF BLUE CASTLE PROJECT
◊ On March 29, Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy of Westinghouse, a unit of the Japanese Toshiba Corp., was expected, due to the billions of dollars lost by Toshiba associated with the construction of four AP1000 nuclear reactors—two each in Georgia and South Carolina. The problems involved cost overruns, technical, design, and construction difficulties, contract terms, project delays, and financial and legal issues associated with the four reactors.
In 2014 Blue Castle Holdings Inc. and Westinghouse signed a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that the companies would work together on marketing, nuclear safety licensing, permitting, design, engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning, startup, testing, nuclear fuel, refueling, and operation and maintenance of two AP1000 reactors at Green River.
Statements made by Toshiba indicate that Westinghouse would no longer be involved in reactor construction. The cost overruns and construction delays and billions of dollars of economic losses will discourage utility commitment to nuclear power and new reactor investment, as it should. The full impacts will take years to become apparent and to assess. The feasibility of the Blue Castle Project is now even more in doubt.
• Southern Alliance for Clean Energy News Release
• Toshiba News Release
• Westinghouse files for bankruptcy over U.S. projects
• Toshiba troubles drive credit downgrades for reactor builders
• Mining Awareness Article
US GOVERNMENT AND NAVAJO NATION ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT FOR CLEANUP OF 94 ABANDONED URANIUM MINES ON THE NAVAJO NATION
◊ The US Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Navajo Nation have entered into a Settlement Agreement with Cyprus Amax Minerals Company and Western Nuclear for the reclamation and remediation of 94 uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. The largest mining area is 177 acres in Monument Valley. The other mine areas are much smaller. Under the settlement, the companies will perform the work and the US will contribute about half the costs. This settlement and others commits funds to begin the process to cleanup at over 200 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. The work is subject to EPA oversight, in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.
◊ The EPA awarded $380,000 to Diné College for abandoned uranium mine study.
◊ Adriano Tsinigine and Tommy Rock Appointed to Diné Uranium Remediation Advisory Commission.
• DOJ, EPA, Navajo Nation Consent Decree
• Navajo Nation News Release
• Navajo Nation Abandoned Uranium Mines Cleanup Gets $600 Million
• Diné Uranium Remediation Advisory Committee
• EPA News Release
SPILLS OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS GOING
TO WHITE MESA MILL
◊ In January drums of radioactive materials from the Honeywell Metropolis uranium conversion facility in Illinois leaked during shipment to the White Mesa Mill for processing. Leakage from drums and the van was discovered at the Mill, but the van was cleaned up by the employees before the Radiation Safety Officer was able to evaluate the extent and nature of the contamination. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an event report.
• NRC Event Notification - January 23, 2017
• WISE Uranium Information
◊ Cameo/Power Resources, Inc., the licenses for the Smith Ranch-Highlands in-situ leach uranium recovery operation in Wyoming provided a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the 2015 and 2016 spills of ISL waste (radium/barium sludge) that is shipped to White Mesa for disposal in Cell 3. Cameo is finally going to ship the materials in containers designed for the type of material shipped. The waste is over 6,000 pico Curies per gram gross alpha.
• NRC Confirmation Action Letter
• Cameo Response to NRC Confirmatory Action Letter
EPA ISSUES FINAL RADON EMISSION STANDARDS
Uranium Watch was very disappointed with the final radon emission standards for operating uranium mills recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA Final Rule met the needs and desires of the uranium industry, rather than giving primary consideration to the public impacted by the mills. The rule did not establish a numerical emission standard for new tailings cells (Cells 4A and 4B at the White Mesa Mill), next to the White Mesa Ute Community. The final rule kept the emission standard and annual measurement and reporting requirements for older impoundments at the White Mesa Mill (Cell 3) and two mills on standby, Shootaring Canyon (Utah) and Sweetwater (Wyoming). The new rule limits the number of operating impoundments with solid tailings to two, but allows any number of ponds or cells with liquids at conventional mills, in-situ leach operations, and heap-leach operations. The rule does not establish a limit on radon emissions from heap leach operations while the leaching is taking place.
• EPA Rulemaking Documents
• EPA Final Rule: Federal Register Notice and Supporting Documents