Energy policy — nuclear: HB 10-1348 (Increase Oversight Radioactive Materials) update

A picture named conventionaluraniummill.jpg

From the Telluride Daily Planet (Reilly Capps):

A new piece of legislation seeks to tighten up the application process and ensure that old mills are cleaned up before new ones are opened, and the Telluride Town Council came out in support of it yesterday. The Uranium Processing Accountability Act [HB 10-1348] (pdf) would apply most directly to the Cotter-owned mill near Cañon City, which first opened in 1958. It is still in the process of cleaning up contamination. The company applied to reopen the mill in 2001. If this bill passes, the Cotter Corp. couldn’t re-open the mill until all the clean-up has been completed…

The bill would also apply to the bonds that companies put up to pay for cleanup. When a mill starts operation, the company has to post a public bond that will pay for the cleanup. The proposed bill seeks to make sure that the public has a say in the size of the bond.

But Dianna Orf, a lobbyist for the Colorado Mining Association, said the legislation doesn’t make sense. “The implication I see is that if you can’t accept new material for processing, you can’t produce the revenue stream you need” to clean up the old site, Orf said. The Colorado Mining Association is not necessarily opposed to the legislation, said director Stuart Sanderson. But he said the state, and the country, would do well to support uranium production in general.

Here’s the fact sheet from the Colorado Environmental Coalition and an excerpt:

Uranium milling has a radioactive and toxic legacy in Colorado. Operations have polluted our air and water, devastated communities and public health, killed wildlife, and ruined our lands. In March 2009, Cotter announced plans to reopen its Canon City mill, even though it’s still an E.P.A. superfund site and has other outstanding violations. The first new uranium mill in the U.S. in 25 years is being considered in the Paradox Valley of Western Colorado to mill ore pulled from the public lands in Colorado’s red rock canyon country surrounding the Dolores River. We must learn from our past mistakes and update state law to match modern standards. The Uranium Processing Accountability Act would require any uranium processing facility to clean up its toxic mess before applying for new or expanding operations. This ensures scarce state resources will be allocated for the clean-up of existing problems.

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here. More nuclear coverage here.

Leave a Reply