DATA SHOWS UNACCEPTABLY HIGH LEVELS OF
RADON EMISSIONS AT WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
Recent data shows high levels of radon emissions from processing effluents and other ponded liquids at the White Mesa Mill. The fluids are held in lined impoundments or in ponds on top of solid tailings. The liquids come from the uranium ore processing, dewatering of Cell 2, pumping of contaminated groundwater, and surface runoff.
For years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed that these radium-laden liquids did not have to be monitored because the radon emissions were “zero.” Now, putting together an EPA formula that determined that for every 1,000 pico Curies per liter (pCi/l) of radium in the effluents at White Mesa, there were
7 pico Curies per meter squared per second (7 pCi/m2-sec) of radon emissions. Recent Energy Fuels Resources Inc. data on the radium content of the liquids shows that the radon emissions are far greater than the 20 pCi/m2-sec emission standard for the dry tailings in the older (“existing”) impoundments. The emissions from liquid tailings range from 102 to 573 pCi/m2-sec, which is 5 to 28 times the radon emission standard for solid tailings.
• Risk Assessment Revision for 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W – Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings: Task 5 – Radon Emission from Evaporation Ponds; S. Cohen and Associates, November 9, 2010; Table 6, page 17.
• White Mesa Mill 2013 Annual Tailings Wastewater Monitoring Report; Groundwater Quality Discharge Permit, UGW370004, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., November 1, 2013
• Non Privileged Records (July-Sept 2014, Part 1), pages 405-416.
Non Privileged Records (July-Sept 2014, Part 2), pages 1-3 and 200-246.
URANIUM WATCH AND OTHERS SUBMIT
COMMENTS ON EPA RADON EMISSION RULEMAKING
At the end of October Uranium Watch (UW) et al. submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criticizing the EPA’s proposed regulations for the emission of radon from conventional uranium mills, in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery operations, and heap-leach uranium recovery operations. The regulations are the National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions From Operating Mill Tailings, 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W. The current standards limits the radon emissions from the “existing” tailings impoundments at the White Mesa Mill near Blanding, Utah, to pCi/m2-sec. The mill owner, Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (Energy Fuels), must monitor the emissions and report to the Utah Division of Air Quality, which regulates radon emissions from uranium mines and mills in Utah, and the EPA. If the emissions exceed the standard, as they did for Cell 2 in 2012, Energy Fuels must take corrective actions. Energy Fuels placed additional fill on the Cell 2 interim cover and cleaned up windblown tailings to bring Cell 2 back into compliance. The proposed rule:
• Does not comply with the provisions of the Clean Air Act at Section 112(h).
• Eliminates any requirement to monitor and report radon emissions from the mill.
• Assures that no one knows how much radon is being emitted from the tailings.
• Ignores the high levels of radon emissions from over 155 acres of liquid effluents.
• Uranium Watch Subpart W Rulemaking Comments, October 29, 2014
• EPA Subpart W Review Webpage
• Other Subpart W Comments (Enter EPA–HQ– OAR–2008–0218)
UTAH APPROVES ANFIELD RESOURCES PURCHASEOF SHOOTARING CANYON MILL
The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) has authorized the Change of Control and Ownership from Uranium One Americas, Inc to Anfield Resources Holding Corp. When the purchase transaction is complete, Anfield must apply for a change of name of the licensee and provide the required reclamation bond. There will be an opportunity for public comment and a hearing on the change of ownership. The DRC has given Anfield until October 14, 2015, to submit the long-delayed license renewal application.
• DRC Shootaring Canyon Mill Webpage