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 Durango Telegraph (Will Sands):

The Toronto-based uranium and vanadium mining company received approval from Colorado regulators for Piñon Ridge in January. The company plans to site the mill in the middle of Western Colorado’s uranium belt on 1,000 acres of privately owned land not far from the Dolores River. The facility would be the nation’s first uranium mill in a quarter century and located close to the only other operating mill in the country, the White Mesa Mill in Blanding.

However, Piñon Ridge faces its share of opposition. The Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance has filed a lawsuit that could derail the facility. The suit contends that Colorado regulators violated the Atomic Energy Act by not allowing the public to ask technical questions about the project and is being heard in Denver District Court. In addition, SMA and Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste, a citizens group in Cañon City, have asked the EPA to withhold its approval of the mill’s construction plan until Clean Air Act regulations can be brought up to speed. The 1989 Clean Air Act allows radioactive uranium tailings to be dumped without protections or emissions limits.

“We cannot afford the dangers of uranium milling and mining of the past to be repeated again on the Western Slope,” said Hilary White, executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance.

However, Energy Fuels is confident that Piñon Ridge will become a reality after the company prevails in court. The company closed on an $11.5 million loan in March, has plans to break ground on the mill in the near term and is actively acquiring mines and unearthing ore not far from Paradox Valley…

Energy Fuels already owns two mines with vast uranium and vanadium resources – the Whirlwind and Energy Queen mines, just across the Colorado border in Utah. The company now plans to purchase abandoned uranium mines in the vicinity of Paradox Valley, bring them into compliance and use them to feed Piñon Ridge…

Energy Fuels plans to begin construction on the facility in 2012 and have the mill operational early in 2013.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

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