Energy policy — nuclear: First new uranium mill in the U.S. in 25 years gets the go ahead from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

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Here’s the release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Warren Smith):

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Approves Radioactive Materials License for Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill
DENVER—The Radiation Program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment today announced approval of a radioactive materials license for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in western Montrose County, Colo. The license is required before Energy Fuels Resources Corp. can construct a 500-tons-per-day uranium/vanadium mill approximately 12 miles west of Naturita, Colo., in the Paradox Valley. The facility will be the first new conventional uranium mill built in the United States in more than 25 years.

“Energy Fuels has demonstrated it can build and operate the mill in a manner that is protective of both human health and the environment,” said Steve Tarlton, Radiation Program manager. “Our comprehensive review considered short- and long-term impacts of the proposed mill, including radiological and nonradiological impacts to water, air and wildlife, as well as economic, social and transportation-related impacts.”

The department conducted significant outreach in 2009 and 2010 related to the radioactive materials license, and shared information with local government officials and several state agencies. The department conducted or participated in eight public meetings in Montrose and San Miguel counties, and submitted more than 400 technical questions to Energy Fuels during the 14-month-long application review process. The Montrose County Commissioners submitted comments on the Environmental Report. The department also considered hundreds of comment letters, e-mails, and cards from stakeholders in the development of the 432-page license decision.
In approving the license, the department imposed a number of conditions on Energy Fuels. Before construction can begin, the company must do the following:

• Obtain all applicable permits and other authorizations of local, state and federal agencies with authority over health, safety and environmental protection.

• Obtain Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approval of final design and construction plans, including plans for quality assurance and quality control. Before the mill can receive any radioactive material,

• Radiation and worker protection procedures and equipment must be in place; along with personnel trained in using them;

• The company must conduct at least two emergency response exercises involving two different incident scenarios, involving off-site response agencies in one or both of the drills;

• Environmental monitoring procedures and equipment must be in place, along with personnel trained in using them. Routine operations require,

• Worker training and monitoring;

• Environmental monitoring;

• Site security;

• Documentation and reporting;

• Facility maintenance;

• Material control;

• Emergency or spill response.

Energy Fuels must remain in compliance with financial assurance requirements, including an approved financial warranty for decommissioning for $11,070,890, and a long-term care fund in the amount of $827,590 deposited in the state treasury.

Throughout the term of the license, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment may impose additional requirements and conditions regarding the receipt, possession, use and transfer of radioactive material to minimize risks to public health and safety or property, and to prevent loss or theft of material.

The department’s Decision Analysis and Environmental Impact Analysis, which includes a copy of the license, is available online at: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/rad/rml/energyfuels/index.htm.

For more information about the license, please see the attached Energy Fuels Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill Radioactive Materials License Approval Fact Sheet.

From the Grand Junction Free Press (Sharon Sullivan):

…[The] Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Radiation Program announced today its approval of a radioactive materials license for the Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in western Montrose County…

Radiation program manager Steve Tarlton said in a press release that “short- and long-term impacts, including radiological and nonradiological impacts to water, air and wildlife, as well as economic, social and transportation-related impacts,” were considered in making the decision.

More Pinon Ridge Mill coverage here. More nuclear coverage here and here.

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