Friday, August 16, 2013


Comments:  Can you dewater anything in Virginia with our humidity?  Look at the following statement:  "  increase in emissions was caused by the dewatering of the tailings"   Regulations are not working in Utah, an agreement state!

Subject: Uranium Watch Utah Bulletin - July 2013
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:45:00 -0600

Uranium Watch — Utah Bulletin
Volume 6 | No. 3 | July 2O1
RADON FLUX: The White Mesa Uranium Mill is out of compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for radon emissions from Operating Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundments (40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W).  The 2012 radon flux from tailings Cell 2 exceeded the 20 picoCuries per-square-meter-per-second (20 pCi/m²/sec) standard.  The 2012 radon flux was 25.8 pCi/m²/sec, more than a 25% increase.  The Utah Department of Air Quality (DAQ) enforces the EPA radionuclide National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS).
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. (Energy Fuels) determined that the increase in emissions was caused by the dewatering of the tailings.  The tailings must be dewatered to reduce the potential for leakage from the impoundment and so that the pile will settle before the placement of the final radon barrier.
Tailings are no longer being placed in the 67-acre Cell 2 impoundment. Dewatering of the tailings began a few years ago.  In the past, water on top of the tailings and in the tailings reduced the radon emissions.  As the water is removed from the tailings, the radon emissions have continued to increase, even though there is an interim soil cover on top of the pile.  The DAQ has determined that Energy Fuels must submit monthly radon flux reports, starting in April. 
Energy Fuels proposed a test-scale application to confirm the effect of the addition of one foot of additional soil cover.  If test achieves the desired result, Energy Fuels plans to  will apply one foot of additional random fill to the remainder of Cell 2, on or before July 1, 2014.  Energy Fuels proposed the addition of 1 foot of fill, even though they determined that 1 foot of fill would only bring Cell 2 into compliance during the next year, and it would take at least 2 feet to  reduce surface radon flux to below 20 pCi/m²/sec, regardless of the depth of dewatered tailings. So, the radon emissions from Call 2 will likely exceed the standard for some years to come.  
TAILINGS IMPOUNDMENTS:  The White Mesa Mill is also out of compliance with the limitations on the number of tailings impoundments in operation at any one time.  EPA regulation (40 C.F.R. 61.252(b)(1)) only allows the operation of two tailings impoundments at any one time.  In the past the regulators and the mill owner have only counted the impoundments receiving solid tailings, but the impoundments receiving liquids also count as operational impoundments.  The Miil has 5 operational impoundments: Cells 1, 3, 4A, 4B, and Roberts Pond.  Though Cell 2 is not receiving tailings, it should also be considered to be an operational impoundment.  The EPA has determined that the Mill is out of compliance with the requirement for only 2 operational impoundments, but it is unclear how the Mill will be required to come into compliance.  
The Utah Division of Radiation Control is in the process of developing a rulemaking to amend their Administrative Procedures to conform to the hearing procedures required in the Atomic Energy Act (42 U.S.C § 2021(o)(3)(A).  This rulemaking is in response to a Uranium Watch allegation submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission alleging that the DRC had not been in compliance with the requirement for hearings, with a transcript and opportunity for cross-examination, for uranium mill and tailings impoundment agency actions. The hearings are to be held PRIOR to final agency actions.  In the past the DRC has held hearings for some proposed amendments to the White Mesa Mill and other uranium mill (Lisbon Valley and Shootaring Canyon Mills) or 11e.(2) byproduct material impoundments (EnergySolutions), but there was no transcript and no opportunity for cross examination of either the staff or the licensee for those public hearings.  
• DANEROS URANIUM MINE:  Energy Fuels has submitted a Plan of Operation (POO) to expand the Daneros Mine to a 65-acre large mining operation.  The BLM will commence  a process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when they have received all the information they need to review the POO.
• DOE URANIUM LEASING PROGRAM:  The comment period for the Department of Energy (DOE) Uranium Leasing Program (ULP) Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement closed July 1.  UW found numerous flaws in the DPEIS, including the failure of the DOE to assess all of the previous impacts at the ULP mine sites and the failure to consider the impacts from the extensive periods of non-operation.
•  DOE ABANDONED MINE REPORT: The DOE must develop a report on the abandoned uranium mines associated with the Atomic Energy Commission ore buying program.  There are hundreds of such mines in the 4-Corners area, particularly in SE Utah and SW Colorado.  The Report is due in mid-2014.  For more Information and to submit information to the DOE: