Energy policy — nuclear: Energy Fuels plans to spend $1 million over the next 18 months in preparation to process uranium at the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill

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From The Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

The company currently holds the leases on two idle mines: The Whirlwind, about four miles south of Gateway, and the Energy Queen, just outside of La Sal, Utah. It is trying to acquire another mining property in the region, but no more details of that purchase were made available. If Energy Fuels can get both mines online and humming at top production, it’s estimated that they could produce about 450 tons of uranium-bearing rock per day. Both mines are already permitted. “We’re just looking at adding resource is all we’re doing,” said Gary Steele, a vice president at Energy Fuels. “We’re looking at picking up more mining opportunities.”[…]

“Historically, Colorado and Utah were home to the most important uranium producing districts in the World,” Stephen P. Antony, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, said in press release. “These areas still contain significant quantities of uranium and vanadium that can be produced competitively and economically. The Colorado Plateau can again be a major uranium-producing area of worldwide significance.”[…]

The Whirlwind Mine was developed by Pioneer Uravan between 1976 and 1981, and later passed through Umetco and Cotter Corporation’s holdings. Energy Fuels bought the claims and infrastructure in 2006, and production ceased because of falling spot prices. Energy Fuels completed permitting on the mine in 2009, and it’s ready for production, according to the company’s website.

The Energy Queen, formerly called the Hecla Shaft, was initially a Union Carbide/Hecla Mining joint venture. Energy Fuels bought it in 2006. The Energy Queen is just north of an active uranium and copper district known as Lisbon Valley. It’s three miles outside of La Sal, Utah.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

Runoff/snowpack news: 2,570 cfs at the Avondale gage on the Arkansas River as streamflow drops

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Arkansas River flows through Pueblo and at Avondale dropped from more than 3,000 cubic feet per second at the beginning of the week to about 2,500 cfs Thursday. Flows at Parkdale, west of the Royal Gorge, were 3,500 cfs Monday and dropped to 2,400 cfs by Thursday. At Granite, north of Buena Vista, flows dipped below 2,000 cfs Wednesday night. Releases by the Bureau of Reclamation from Turquoise and Twin Lakes in Lake County are playing a role in the river levels. The releases are being driven by municipal exchanges that total about 425 cfs, and do not affect Fryingpan-Arkansas Project water, said Linda Hopkins of the Pueblo Reclamation office…

The Boustead Tunnel, which brings water from the Fryingpan River into Turquoise Lake, has been flowing near capacity all week. So far, about 42,000 acre-feet of water has been brought over, nearly half of the projected total. In the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, high-water advisories remain in effect for Pine Creek and the Numbers, near Buena Vista, but not for the Royal Gorge…

Snotel sites operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service show that much of the snow below 10,000 feet elevation has melted, but there is still snowpack at higher elevations.

From the Boulder Weekly (Tom Winter):

Colorado’s epic winter has left the state poised for a big water year, and with cool temperatures the norm late into spring, the season has been primed for excellence. The average snowpack across Colorado has been measured at 248 percent of average, with some areas along the Continental Divide clocking in at 359 percent of average. That’s a huge amount of snow, and with a delayed summer (more than eight inches of snow fell Sunday night at the top of now-closed Loveland Ski Area), the snow has been stacking up instead of melting. But melt it will, and the potential has whitewater enthusiasts drooling…

“The middle Eagle section’s normally only open two weeks,” says [John Seelig, owner of Lakota Guides in Eagle County]. “It’s been open a month, and we are anticipating another month.”

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Right-hand lanes of Interstate 70 are open again in both directions west of Fruita as the swollen Colorado River has receded, state highway officials said…The river is currently moving approximately two inches below the bridge near Skipper’s Island.