WHITE MESA UTE COMMUNITY PROTEST
AND SPIRITUAL WALK - May 13
◊ Saturday May 13 there will be a Protest and Spiritual Walk from the White Mesa Ute Community to the White Mesa Uranium Mill—about 4 miles. The alk is to protest the operation of the Mill and to protect our community, health, air, land, culture, and sacred sites from the Mill. Gather at the White Mesa Community Building at 11 am.
The Walk is sponsored by the White Mesa Concerned Community and co-sponsored by Canyon Country Rising Tide, Grand Canyon Trust, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Haul No, Living River,and Uranium Watch.
Directions: The White Mesa Ute Community is between Bluff and Blanding. The community center is located slightly off Hwy. 191, on the west side of the road, behind the Mobil Gas Station. Look for a large red building with “White Mesa Community Center” written in white letters on the side.
Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water! For more information, call White Mesa Concerned Community (435) 485-0265.
WESTINGHOUSE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY - CALLING INTO QUESTION FEASIBILITY OF BLUE CASTLE PROJECT
◊ On March 29, Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy of Westinghouse, a unit of the Japanese Toshiba Corp., was expected, due to the billions of dollars lost by Toshiba associated with the construction of four AP1000 nuclear reactors—two each in Georgia and South Carolina. The problems involved cost overruns, technical, design, and construction difficulties, contract terms, project delays, and financial and legal issues associated with the four reactors.
In 2014 Blue Castle Holdings Inc. and Westinghouse signed a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that the companies would work together on marketing, nuclear safety licensing, permitting, design, engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning, startup, testing, nuclear fuel, refueling, and operation and maintenance of two AP1000 reactors at Green River.
Statements made by Toshiba indicate that Westinghouse would no longer be involved in reactor construction. The cost overruns and construction delays and billions of dollars of economic losses will discourage utility commitment to nuclear power and new reactor investment, as it should. The full impacts will take years to become apparent and to assess. The feasibility of the Blue Castle Project is now even more in doubt.
• Southern Alliance for Clean Energy News Release
• Toshiba News Release
• Westinghouse files for bankruptcy over U.S. projects
• Toshiba troubles drive credit downgrades for reactor builders
• Mining Awareness Article
US GOVERNMENT AND NAVAJO NATION ANNOUNCE SETTLEMENT FOR CLEANUP OF 94 ABANDONED URANIUM MINES ON THE NAVAJO NATION
◊ The US Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Navajo Nation have entered into a Settlement Agreement with Cyprus Amax Minerals Company and Western Nuclear for the reclamation and remediation of 94 uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. The largest mining area is 177 acres in Monument Valley. The other mine areas are much smaller. Under the settlement, the companies will perform the work and the US will contribute about half the costs. This settlement and others commits funds to begin the process to cleanup at over 200 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. The work is subject to EPA oversight, in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.
◊ The EPA awarded $380,000 to Diné College for abandoned uranium mine study.
◊ Adriano Tsinigine and Tommy Rock Appointed to Diné Uranium Remediation Advisory Commission.
• DOJ, EPA, Navajo Nation Consent Decree
• Navajo Nation News Release
• Navajo Nation Abandoned Uranium Mines Cleanup Gets $600 Million
• Diné Uranium Remediation Advisory Committee
• EPA News Release
SPILLS OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS GOING
TO WHITE MESA MILL
◊ In January drums of radioactive materials from the Honeywell Metropolis uranium conversion facility in Illinois leaked during shipment to the White Mesa Mill for processing. Leakage from drums and the van was discovered at the Mill, but the van was cleaned up by the employees before the Radiation Safety Officer was able to evaluate the extent and nature of the contamination. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an event report.
• NRC Event Notification - January 23, 2017
• WISE Uranium Information
◊ Cameo/Power Resources, Inc., the licenses for the Smith Ranch-Highlands in-situ leach uranium recovery operation in Wyoming provided a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the 2015 and 2016 spills of ISL waste (radium/barium sludge) that is shipped to White Mesa for disposal in Cell 3. Cameo is finally going to ship the materials in containers designed for the type of material shipped. The waste is over 6,000 pico Curies per gram gross alpha.
• NRC Confirmation Action Letter
• Cameo Response to NRC Confirmatory Action Letter
EPA ISSUES FINAL RADON EMISSION STANDARDS
Uranium Watch was very disappointed with the final radon emission standards for operating uranium mills recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA Final Rule met the needs and desires of the uranium industry, rather than giving primary consideration to the public impacted by the mills. The rule did not establish a numerical emission standard for new tailings cells (Cells 4A and 4B at the White Mesa Mill), next to the White Mesa Ute Community. The final rule kept the emission standard and annual measurement and reporting requirements for older impoundments at the White Mesa Mill (Cell 3) and two mills on standby, Shootaring Canyon (Utah) and Sweetwater (Wyoming). The new rule limits the number of operating impoundments with solid tailings to two, but allows any number of ponds or cells with liquids at conventional mills, in-situ leach operations, and heap-leach operations. The rule does not establish a limit on radon emissions from heap leach operations while the leaching is taking place.
• EPA Rulemaking Documents
• EPA Final Rule: Federal Register Notice and Supporting Documents
URANIUM WATCH PARTICIPATES IN HEARING ON KCWCD WATER RIGHTS EXTENSION REQUEST
On December 20, 2016, Uranium Watch, Living Rivers, and HEAL Utah participated in a hearing in Green River on the Kane County Water Conservancy District’s request for extension of time to show that the water rights appropriated for the Blue Castle Project have been put to beneficial use.
Uranium Watch asserted that the water is not needed for Kane County or other area served by the District or any other location over the next 40 years. There is no evidence that Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH) has the financial resources to complete the application for an Early Site Perm, let alone the funds to license and construct the 2-unit nuclear power plant. BCH has not contacted the NRC since 2011 and is not moving forward with emergency response planning. BCH no longer owns the Willow Creek pipeline construction company, which was their main source of revenue.
• KCWCD Water Rights Documents
COLORADO DETERMINES THAT ABLATION IS A URANIUM
"MILLING" OPERATION AND REQURES LICENSE
THe Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) determined that Ablation is a uranium recovery operation, or "milling" operation, under the Atomic Energy Act (AEA). Ablation must be regulated under applicable Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and State of Utah regulations. The NRC and the CDPHE determined that the solid and liquid waste streams from Ablation met the defination of 11e.(2) byproduct material. Therefore, the handings, storage, and long-term care of the waste streams fall under both the AEA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other federal laws.
Black Range Minerals/Western Uranium Corporation (WUC) has proposed using Ablation to process ore at the Sunday Mine Complex, in San Miguel County, Colorado. The mines have been on standby since 2009. The mine is not permitted to operate. In order to reopen the mine, WUC needs to submit a new Plan of Operations, and go through the Bureauof Land Management approval process, which includes a new environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It is unclear if WUC would be able to license and operate a uranium recovery operation and dispose of the waste on federal land.
George Glasier, the CEO of WUC continutes to mislead the public and investors regarding the Sunday Mine Complex and the possibility of using Ablation technology.
• CDPHE Ablation Documents
• Western Uranium Corporation/Black Range Minerals Canadian Securities Documents
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