The Colorado Independent,2020
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Two New Mexico Democrats today introduced a bill that would require uranium mining companies to pay a 12.5-percent royalty on federal lands – a move Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado at least favors studying given the growing interest in uranium mining and nuclear power. The Uranium Resources Stewardship Act introduced by U.S. Reps. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján would shift the regulation of uranium mining from the 1872 Mining Law to the Mineral Leasing Act and require royalty payments to federal and state governments similar to those paid by the coal, oil and gas industries.
Until recently, most of the debate over nuclear power in Colorado had to do with whether to mine and mill more uranium to be shipped elsewhere for conversion into fuel rods to power nuclear plants in other states and other countries around the world. The magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan on March 11 changed both the nature and the tenor of the discussion in Colorado – a state that produced some of the uranium ore used in developing the nation’s first nuclear weapons.
Not surprising in the midst of an ongoing nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, much of the heated opposition to a proposed reactor in Pueblo the last two nights has reportedly focused on safety and fallout in the event of a meltdown. The Pueblo Chieftain reported more than 500 people, most of them opponents, came out to a Pueblo County commissioners meeting Wednesday night to express their fears about possibly being home to Colorado’s first active nuclear reactor since Fort St. Vrain in Platteville, east of Longmont, was shut down in 1992 and later converted to a natural gas plant.
America’s “nuclear power renaissance” – and a concurrent Colorado uranium mining revival -- could cool considerably in the wake of an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami off Japan’s northeast coast that caused two partial meltdowns at two nuclear reactors and serious problems at two more plants.
An attorney for a company trying to open an in-situ leach uranium mine 15 miles northeast of Fort Collins says the withdrawal this week of an EPA permit for the project is not a significant setback.
Activists and property owners in northern Colorado contend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to properly obtain and review the results of critical groundwater aquifer pump tests before granting to a permit last month to Powertech USA, a subsidiary of a Canadian company proposing an in-situ leach uranium mining project.
Conservation groups opposed to the planned Piñon Ridge Mill in far western Colorado expressed “extreme disappointment” with Wednesday’s state approval of a radioactive materials license for what would be the first new uranium processing facility in the United States in a quarter of a century. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) issued the decision after 14 months of review and eight public meetings in Montrose and San Miguel counties. Piñon Ridge, which would process up to 500 tons of uranium and vanadium a day, is a project of Toronto-based Energy Fuels.
A new study commissioned by an environmental group opposed to a proposed uranium mill in far western Colorado concludes the project could adversely impact economic growth in the area because of potential radiation contamination and the stigma of a new nuclear boom. Produced for the Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance, which is suing to stop the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill in Montrose County, the new report (pdf) found that the outdoor recreation, tourism and residential sectors (both retirees and new residents) would be hurt by an upsurge in uranium mining activity in the area.
Mining reform groups over the weekend reacted sharply to Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (pdf) to allow the transfer of two...
A litigious pattern is developing in Colorado’s uranium mining industry, where officials have told the Colorado Independent they’re feeling increasingly squeezed by state regulations meant to protect limited water resources. So they’re suing the state to curtail those rules.