aquifer pollution, AREVA, ARMZ Uranium Holding, arsenic, Australia, Canada, CFIUS, clean water, COGEMA, Cold War, Committee on Foreign Investment, Crimea, Donna Wichers, ecocide, economic hardship, environment, exploitation, France, genocide, Groundwater pollution, Imperialism, internal imperialism, ISL excursions, ISL leaks, ISL spills, ISL uranium mining, ISR, Kazakhstan, NAFTA, old uranium mines, Radionuclides, Rosatom, Rosatom subsidiary, Russia Wyoming, Russian State Corporation, Small Business, South Africa, uranium mining, Uranium One, US EPA, US NRC, USA, Willow Creek, yellow cake, yellowcake
Rosatom, Russian State owned nuclear entity, seems to fancy itself a small US business, which might have to cease operations in the US if forced to monitor and clean-up aquifers polluted by their In Situ Leach (ISL) uranium mining project. A word to Russia and its minions, such as Donna Wichers: Well, hurry up and get going to Moscow then! With your bleached blond hair, and money lust, you’ll blend right in. Who asked you or the Russian State to destroy American land, air and water with uranium mining in the first place?
There are many mysteries here. First, why would a small business have the right to pollute air, land and water with dangerous radionuclides and other toxins like arsenic? If a company cannot afford to clean-up their mess and cannot obtain private insurance, then they should not be allowed to operate at all.
How preposterous that the Russian State, which controls the largest land area in the world, implies that they are a small US business! Did they miss the creation of the internet and think that people can’t figure out that Uranium One is owned by Rosatom, itself a Russian State owned and controlled entity? Even Uranium One is huge with many properties all over the world: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/russia-strengthens-its-grip-on-uranium-supplies-to-fuel-its-arctic-conquest-rosatom-acquires-uranium-one-mines-in-kazakhstan-australia-the-us/
(Red boxes added for emphasis)
How did the Russian State end up owning US uranium mines? They came in the back door via Canada. And, French State owned Areva sold the mines to Uranium One. However, a long list of US officials-agencies approved it. The list is at the bottom of the post (see CFIUS). At some point, someone needs to examine who occupied those positions when Russia took control in 2013.
Leave it to Russia, along with France, to keep everyone entertained with outrageous statements and behavior. Russia, which controls the largest land mass in the world (10.995%), and continues wantonly to pollute and destroy it, while enlarging itself with the invasion of Crimea, implies that it is a small business that must have special protection and rights to pollute and destroy America too! If the land is unwanted and unneeded then give it back to the American Indians. Don’t give it to Russia to finish destroying it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_area See what’s happening to Russia with Moscow’s internal colonialism and destruction of indigenous peoples and lands: http://www.greenpeace.org/russia/en/ http://www.bellona.org
Let the Rosatom-Uranium One minions pleading hardship hurry up then and go (back) to Russia (and Cameco to Saskatchewan), after cleaning up their radioactive and toxic messes, and take their minions with them. Go on now! Get!
Rosatom-Uranium One mines have had so many spills, leaks (excursions), and other violations, such as monitoring well violations; overpressurized yellow cake drums contaminating workers elsewhere, and aerial release of yellowcake powder at the mine site, that it was necessary to just append the list on the bottom, followed by those responsible for letting Russian take control of a US uranium mine in the first place.
Considering that the US still has not cleaned up old uranium mines from the Cold War, how does it make sense to allow a Russian State owned entity to mine and pollute US air, land, and water? It is clear that no one will be able to make them clean-up their mess, if they couldn’t get US companies to do so, and cannot get Russia to exit Crimea.
Uranium One-Rosatom’s concern about the weak and toothless groundwater (aquifer) restoration required under the US EPA proposal, suggests that Rosatom is currently mega-polluting the aquifers, as does their leak and spill record.
The US EPA rule proposal, which sounds so glorious on the surface, appears to follow the US NRC lead in manipulating language, methodology, and statistics to make the requirements as weak as possible: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/tenorm/proposal-40cfr192-12-31-2014.pdf Comment here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OAR-2012-0788 until 11.59 pm Eastern Time, NYC-DC time today.
More here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/isl-uranium-mining-water-restoration-part-ii-gaming-the-stats-us-epa-deadline-27-may-2015/
Like Canada’s Cameco, Russian State owned Rosatom (Uranium One), asked for comment extensions-public hearings, and got them, apparently by crying economic hardship. While it is clear that Wyoming is closer to Cameco’s Saskatoon headquarters than Washington DC, it’s not certain that Wyoming is closer to Moscow.
“Uranium One is a uranium mining company owned by the Russian government with headquarters in Toronto and operations in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the United States. It is a Canadian” [registered] “corporation. Rosatom, a Russian State-owned enterprise, through its subsidiary ARMZ Uranium Holding, purchased the balance of a 100% stake in the firm January 2013.…ARMZ took complete control of Uranium One in January 2013 in a transaction which was reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. In December 2013 an internal reorganization of Rosatom extinguished the interest of ARMZ making Uranium One a direct subsidiary of Rosatom.“ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_One
From WISE Uranium Project. Clickable links at original here: http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopuswy.html COGEMA, which is now French state owned AREVA, sold the mines to Uranium One.
This is the overview of Uranium One’s Violations in Wyoming by WISE Uranium. (Some emphasis added)
“Willow Creek (ISL), Campbell County
(formerly Christensen Ranch / Irigaray)
NRC issues Notice of Violation to Uranium One USA, Inc. for failures at Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine
On Dec. 11, 2014, NRC issued a Notice of Violation to Uranium One USA, Inc. for two violations involving: (1) failure to issue a Radiation Work Permit on two occasions, and (2) failure to perform monthly gamma surveys in the modular buildings.
> Download Inspection Reports and Notice of Violation, Dec. 11, 2014 (ML14345B073)
NRC denies acceptance for review of Uranium One’s proposal for simplified monitoring of airborne effluents at Willow Creek in situ leach uranium mine
> Download NRC letter to Uranium One, Nov. 12, 2014
Development halt of new well fields at Willow Creek in situ leach uranium mine continues for another year
“During the next reporting period, it is not anticipated that any new wellfield packages will be submitted for approval as any additional development activities have been suspended for the reporting period Aug 19, 2014 to Aug 18, 2015.” (2013-2014 WDEQ Annual Report Willow Creek Project, Permit to Mine No.478, Uranium One USA, Inc., September 18, 2014)
And again: pressure buildup in drum filled with yellow cake at Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine causes contamination incident at conversion plant – this time in Metropolis (Illinois)
“[…] when the drum lid was being removed at the ConverDyn facility weighing and sampling plant, as the drum lid bolts were being removed, the lid of the drum buckled and U3O8 concentrates escaped the drum and spread in an approximately six foot radius around the drum in the sampling plant area.” (Uranium One email to NRC, Sep. 10, 2014)
In a “Root Cause Analysis Plan” on the Sep. 9, 2014, incident submitted to the NRC on Sep. 29, 2014, Uranium One “commits to not ship any dried Yellow Cake sourced from the Willow Creek mine to any conversion facility until the Root Cause Analysis Final Report has been completed and the recommended actions to avoid this type of incident in the future are in place.”
Shipments of Willow Creek yellowcake to the Honeywell conversion facility resumed on Nov. 5, 2014.
On Nov. 11, 2014, Uranium One notified the NRC that “it was found that the root cause of the September 9, 2014 drum incident at Honeywell was the decomposition of uranyl hydrates resulting in the generation of oxygen gas in the drum. The reason the gas generation occured was likely the placement of the lid on the dried yellowcake drum in such a way that the venting of gases during the cool-down period after drum filling was not properly completed.”
A revised Root Cause Analysis Report, prepared by consultant Golder Associates, was submitted to the NRC on Mar. 16, 2015.
> Download Root Cause Analysis Report, September 9, 2014 Incident Investigation Pressurized Drum of Yellowcake at the Honeywell Uranium Refinery, October 27, 2014, Revised February 24, 2015 (6.9MB PDF)
> See also current issues Metropolis conversion plant, Illinois
> See also 2012 contamination incident in Canadian refinery caused by yellow cake shipped from Uranium One’s in situ leach mine in Wyoming
NRC issues Notice of Violation to Uranium One for failure to follow procedures established to prevent pressure buildup in drums filled with yellow cake at Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine
On Sep. 8, 2014, NRC issued a Notice of Violation to Uranium One USA, Inc.: “[…] between November 4, 2012, and July 26, 2013, the licensee failed to process yellowcake with at least a minimum of 4.5 hours drumming rate per barrel. Specifically, the licensee processed 55 drums of yellowcake with a drumming rate between 4 hours and 4 hours and 25 minutes, and one drum processed at a drumming rate of 3 hours and 40 minutes.”
The minimum drumming rate had been established after pressure build up in drums filled at Willow Creek had led to a contamination incident at Cameco’s Blind River refinery on June 23, 2012 (view details).
Wyoming DEQ invites comment on proposed license renewal for planned deep disposal wells at Irigaray in situ leach uranium mine
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is proposing to renew Uranium One Americas, Inc.’s existing permit for authorization to inject into two injection wells which have not yet been built.
Submit comment on the draft permit until September 23rd, 2014.
> View WY DEQ Public Notices
NRC issues temporary exemption from certain financial assurance requirements to Uranium One for its Willow Creek in situ leach uranium mine
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing a temporary exemption from certain NRC financial assurance requirements to Uranium One USA, Inc., (Uranium One) in response to its annual financial assurance update for the Willow Creek uranium in-situ recovery (ISR) Project.
> Federal Register Volume 79, Number 147 (Thursday, July 31, 2014) p. 44472-44474 (download full text )
> Access Docket ID NRC-2014-0177
Spill continued unnoticed for nine days at Uranium One’s Willow Creek in situ leach uranium mine
Date and Estimated Time: from January 6, 2014 (estimated) to January 15, 2014 (10:45 am).
“Approximately 77,700 gallons of ISR recovery fluid was released from Modular Building 5-5 after the production manifold froze and broke when a 6” butterfly valve associated with the Mine Unit 5-2 trunkline and the building’s manifold failed. The release flowed North West approximately 5,440 feet [1,658 m] down a dry ephemeral drainage. The release did not enter any active waters including Willow Creek. […]
It is estimated that approximately 24,000 square feet (0.56 acre) [2,230 m2] of soil was impacted. […] This building is not utilized for production activities which allowed the release to go unnoticed for several days until routine quarterly sampling activities occurred in the area. […]”
Release analysis results: Mod 5-5 Recovery Manifold – 12.7 ppm Uranium […]
(Uranium One Feb. 12, 2014)
Processing of yellow cake from mothballed South Australian Honeymoon mine at Willow Creek in situ leach mine in Wyoming
On Dec. 10, 2013, Uranium One asked NRC for an “urgent Conference call […] to discuss the transfer and storage of drummed yellowcake from our Honeymoon facility in Australia to our Willow Creek facility in Wyoming. The Honeymoon facility was recently placed in care and maintenance and must move the yellowcake to a secure facility, preferably owned by Uranium One and within the U.S. […]
However, the Honeymoon material contains small amounts of organic residual from the solvent extraction process that is above each converter’s rejection limit for their processes. Therefore Uranium One also wishes to discuss with you the potential for reprocessing (additional drying – calcining) of this material at our Willow Creek facility.” [Uranium One Letter to NRC, Dec. 10, 2013 , ADAMS Acc. No. ML13350A032]
On Feb. 28, 2014, Uranium One submitted a related license amendment request to the NRC [ADAMS Acc. No. ML14066A112].
On Oct. 21, 2014, NRC approved the requested license amendment request, with conditions.
> Download NRC letter to Uranium One, Oct. 21, 2014 [ML14212A164]
> Download Licence Amendment 3, SUA-1341, Oct. 21, 2014 [ML14212A173]
On Nov. 21, 2014, NRC issued its review and verification that the requirements of the license amendment have been met and that shipments of redried Honeymoon yellowcake from the Willow Creek Project may commence.
> Download Safety Evaluation Report, Nov. 21, 2014 [ML14323A957]
Uranium One halts development of new well fields at Willow Creek in situ leach uranium mine owing to low uranium price
Twenty-six Wyoming employees of Uranium One Inc. will be out of work at the end of June, after the Toronto-based company decided to stop drilling additional wells because of low uranium prices. With the layoffs, the company will stop developing new well fields and focus on production in current well fields, said Donna Wichers, a senior vice president of Americas for Uranium One. (Casper Star-Tribune June 15, 2013)
On May 31, 2013, Uranium One notified the NRC that the license amendment application for the Irigaray expansion is now scheduled for submittal end of the fourth quarter 2015.
Wyoming DEQ authorizes operation of Unit 10A Well Field at Christensen Ranch uranium in situ leach mine
On Feb. 8, 2013, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality authorized Uranium One to commence lixiviant injection in the Unit 10A Well Field at the Willow Creek (Christensen Ranch) Mine.
Wyoming DEQ authorizes operation of Unit 8 Well Field at Christensen Ranch uranium in situ leach mine
On Dec. 18, 2012, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality authorized Uranium One to commence lixiviant injection in the Unit 8 Well Field at the Willow Creek (Christensen Ranch) Mine.
NRC takes action in case of contamination incident in Canadian refinery caused by yellow cake shipped from Uranium One’s in situ leach mine in Wyoming
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Action Letter documenting actions that Uranium One USA has agreed to take following an incident in Canada in which three workers were exposed to yellowcake from a drum shipped from a U.S. facility.
The incident occurred on June 23 at a uranium conversion facility in Blind River, Canada. When a worker loosened a ring clamp on a 55-gallon drum containing uranium oxide yellowcake the lid blew off, ejecting about 26 kilograms of the material into the air. The worker closest to the drum and two others in the area, who were not wearing respirators, were exposed to airborne uranium. Any adverse health effects to the workers would likely be caused by chemical, rather than radiological effects.
The barrel had been shipped from Uranium One’s Willow Creek Facility in Wyoming to a Canadian conversion facility on May 29. Following this incident several other drums shipped to the Canadian facility containing yellowcake were found to be bulging from internal pressure.
The Canadian facility has stopped opening containers of yellowcake from Uranium One’s Willow Creek facility until they can develop a plan to safely do so. The licensee has notified the NRC that it has suspended all shipping from the Willow Creek facility until it determines how the drums became pressurized.
Under the terms of the Confirmatory Action Letter, Uranium One has agreed to investigate the cause of the event; develop a course of action to ensure the safety of any other unopened drums containing yellowcake previously shipped from its Wyoming facility; and develop a corrective action plan to ensure the safety of continued storage, shipment or further processing of the yellowcake.
After similar events occurred at several facilities in 1998, corrective actions were adopted by the industry to prevent recurrence. Specifically, new procedures were adopted to ensure that drums containing yellowcake remained unsealed for at least three hours to ensure adequate cooling of the material. (NRC release July 6, 2012 – emphasis added)
> Download Confirmatory Action Letter CAL 4-12-003, July 5, 2012 (PDF)
> Download Preliminary Notification PNO-IV-2012-005, July 5, 2012 (PDF)
On Dec. 4, 2012, NRC notified Uranium One, that “Based on an independent evaluation of the adequacy of corrective actions taken, the NRC has determined that the actions prescribed in CAL 4-12-003 have been met. Consequently, the NRC is closing the CAL, which will allow Uranium One to resume shipments of yellowcake product in accordance with the new packaging and transportation procedures.”
> Download Preliminary Notification PNO-IV-2012-005A, December 4, 2012 (PDF)
> See also: NRC issues revised Information Notice on prevention of gas buildup in yellow cake drums
> See also current issues Blind River Refinery (Ontario)
Commissioning phase at Willow Creek (ex Christensen Ranch) ISL uranium mine still ongoing after almost one year
Commissioning at the Willow Creek Project commenced in December 2010. Commissioning will be completed when a pre-defined operating level, based on the design of the plant, is maintained. (Uranium One Inc. Nov. 7, 2011)
NRC begins special investigation of Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine after aerial release of yellow cake powder
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission launched a “special investigation” today to determine if workers were exposed to “yellowcake” after an incident at Uranium One USA Inc.’s Irigaray and Christensen Ranch in-situ uranium mine in northeast Wyoming. According to a NRC press release, the incident occurred on Sunday (Oct. 2). Two workers were in the vicinity of a “dryer” containing yellowcake – yellow uranium oxide powder – when they heard an alarm and the dryer automatically shut down. The yellowcake dryer is located inside an enclosed building. “It appears that a seal on the dryer may have broken, causing the yellowcake powder to escape,” the NRC stated in the press release. “Current information indicates there were no major safety impacts or release to the environment as the dryer is housed inside a pressurized sealed room within a building.” NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding told WyoFile that it appears the workers were wearing proper protective clothing to avoid exposure to the uranium material. To determine whether there was an exposure, air samples will be analyzed. Also, the workers underwent urinalysis testing.
“We got results back today, and uranium was non-detectable … So they had no intake of uranium,” Donna Wichers, Uranium One senior vice president of in-situ operations, told WyoFile in a phone interview on Wednesday (Oct. 5). Wichers described the entire incident as a “non-event,” and said the NRC inspector was scheduled to visit the mine anyway. She said once the NRC decided to launch a special investigation, part of the agency’s protocol is to issue a press release, “Which we tried to talk them out of,” Wichers said. (WyoFile Oct. 5, 2011, emphasis added)
> Download NRC release Oct. 5, 2011 (PDF)
State issues Notice of Violation for spill of sodium chloride brine solution at Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine
On Sep. 19, 2011, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued a Notice of Violation to Uranium One USA, Inc. for a spill of approx. 7,000-10,000 gallons of sodium chloride brine solution that occured “around August 4 or 5, 2011” but was reported only on August 19, 2011.
> Download Notice of Violation NOV #4900-11, Sep. 19, 2011 (PDF – WY DEQ)
> Download Notice of Compliance, Oct. 19, 2011 (PDF – WY DEQ)
License renewal of Willow Creek (formerly Christensen Ranch / Irigaray) uranium in situ leach mine
NRC issues license renewal for Willow Creek (formerly Christensen Ranch / Irigaray) uranium in situ leach mine: On March 7, 2013, NRC issued a 10-year license renewal for the Willow Creek uranium in situ leach mine.
> Federal Register Volume 78, Number 55 (Thursday, March 21, 2013) p. 17450-17451 (download full text )
> Download: License SUA-1341, March 7, 2013 (1.1MB PDF)
> Downlad: Safety Evaluation Report, March 2013 (8.8MB PDF)
NRC issues Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for license renewal with more than doubled flow rate:
> Federal Register Volume 78, Number 17 (Friday, January 25, 2013) p. 5514-5516 (download full text )
“This supplemental environmental assessment addresses new information since the original environmental assessment for license renewal regarding the applicant’s proposed change to increase the licensee’s Christensen Ranch satellite plant throughput from 15,140 liters per minute (L/min) (4,000 gallons per minute (gpm)) to 34,070 L/min (9,000 gpm).”
> Download: Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Renewal for Uranium One USA, Inc., Willow Creek Uranium In-Situ Recovery Project, Johnson and Campbell Counties, WY, License SUA-1341, January 2013 (147k PDF)
> Access Docket ID NRC-2009-0036
NRC issues Final Environmental Assessment for license renewal: “CONCLUSION: The NRC staff concludes that the renewal of License SUA-1341, involving continued operation of the Irigaray and Christensen Ranch projects, would not significantly impact the environment.”
> Federal Register: July 14, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 135) p. 41528-41529 (download full text )
> Download Final Environmental Assessment, July 2011 (789k PDF)
Uranium One fined US$ 25,000 for missed sampling of 24 monitor wells at Willow Creek ISL uranium mine
Of 66 monitoring wells requiring sampling in the recently started Well Field Unit 7, sampling had been missed at least once in 24 wells for a total of 82 missed sampling events. Since the well field began operations, each well should have been sampled seven times over a period of 14 weeks, sampling being required on a biweekly basis. Five wells were never sampled while seven had only on sampling event missed.
In a settlement agreement of April 21, 2011, Uranium One agrees to pay a total penalty of US$ 25,000.
> Download Notice of Violation NOV #4831-11 , April 21, 2011 (PDF – WY DEQ)
> Download Settlement Agreement, May 2011 (PDF – WY DEQ)
> Download Termination of Notice of Violation , Nov. 23, 2011 (PDF – WY DEQ)
Public comment invited on proposed additional deep disposal wells at Christensen Ranch in situ leach uranium mine
On Nov. 5, 2010, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality announced that it proposes to permit two additional deep disposal wells (in addition to the two existing ones) at Christensen Ranch.
The public is invited to comment on the draft permit until December 10, 2010.
> Download Public Notice · Draft Permit 10-219 · Fact Sheet (PDF – WY DEQ)
Transfer of ownership of the Christensen Ranch ISL mine to Atomredmetzoloto
Atomredmetzoloto can’t export uranium mined in Wyoming
A Russian state-owned firm mining Wyoming uranium can’t export what it mines and would need to meet stringent requirements before it could do so, the top U.S. nuclear regulator told Sen. John Barrasso in a letter released Monday (Mar. 28).
The written response from Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko came in response to a Barrasso letter to President Barack Obama in December. The Wyoming Republican expressed “strong concerns” regarding NRC approval in November of the purchase of a controlling stake in Uranium One Inc. by Russian state-owned firm ARMZ that month. Russia helps with nuclear programs in countries unfriendly to the United States, Barrasso wrote. Uranium One owns several permits to mine Wyoming uranium and operates processing facilities and mines in Johnson and Campbell counties.
In his response to Barrasso, Jaczko said ARMZ and Uranium One lack the export license needed to ship uranium out of the country. “In order to export uranium from the United States, Uranium One Inc. or ARMZ would need to apply for and obtain a specific NRC license authorizing the export of uranium for use in reactor fuel,” Jaczko wrote. If the firm did request permission to export uranium, U.S. law would require Russia to certify that the uranium would be used only for peaceful purposes. The law would also require Russia to suitably protect the nuclear fuel, not transfer it to a third country and not alter the form without U.S. consent. If the firm did apply for an export license, that request would be made public, Jackzo wrote. (Billings Gazette Mar. 28, 2011)
NRC approves transfer of ownership of the Christensen Ranch ISL mine to Atomredmetzoloto
On Nov. 23, 2010, NRC approved the change of control of the Christensen Ranch ISL mine from Uranium One Americas, Inc. to Atomredmetzoloto.
> Download NRC release Nov. 24, 2010 (PDF)
> Federal Register: December 7, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 234) p. 76050-76051 (download full text )
NRC provides opportunity to request hearing and/or provide comments on the proposed transfer of ownership of the Christensen Ranch ISL mine to Atomredmetzoloto
Notice of Application From Uranium One USA, Inc., for Consent to an Indirect Change of Control for Source Material License SUA-1341 to JSC Atomredmetzoloto, Opportunity To Provide Comments and To Request a Hearing:
Requests for a hearing must be filed by October 12, 2010.
Comments must be received by October 20, 2010.
> Download NRC release Sep. 20, 2010 (PDF)
> Federal Register: September 20, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 181) p. 57300-57302 (download full text )
Christensen Ranch to become first Russian-owned uranium mine in the U.S.
If, as announced on June 8, 2010, Russian state-owned Atomredmetzoloto succeeds in becoming the majority shareholder of Uranium One Inc., Christensen Ranch will become the first Russian-owned uranium mine in the U.S. This change of control for the Christensen Ranch license will require NRC approval.
In addition, Uranium One’s properties in the U.S. include, among others, the idle Shootaring Canyon uranium mill (Utah), and the proposed in situ leach uranium mines of Moore Ranch, Ludeman, and JAB/Antelope (all in Wyoming).
Uranium One plans to have new Wyoming ISL projects licensed as satellites to newly acquired Christensen Ranch / Irigaray mine
On Jan. 18, 2010, Uranium One notified the NRC that, in view of the acquisition of the Christensen Ranch / Irigaray mine, it plans to request the approval of its new ISL projects Ludeman, Allemand-Ross, and Moore Ranch as satellites to Christensen Ranch / Irigaray.
Uranium One acquires Christensen Ranch and Irigaray uranium in-situ leach mines
Acquisition of Christensen Ranch and Irigaray uranium in-situ leach mines by Uranium One Inc. completed: Uranium One Inc.’s purchase of Cogema Mining, Inc. from Areva (Cogema Resources, Inc.) closed on January 25, 2010. The name of Cogema Mining, Inc. will be changed to Uranium One USA, Inc.
NRC approves acquisition of Christensen Ranch and Irigaray uranium in-situ leach mines by Uranium One Inc.: On Dec. 17, 2009, NRC issued an order providing consent to the change of control.
Federal Register: December 30, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 249) p. 69152-69153 (download full text )
NRC provides opportunity to request a hearing concerning acquisition of Christensen Ranch and Irigaray uranium in-situ leach mines by Uranium One Inc.: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering an application submitted on September 18, 2009, by Cogema Mining, Inc. (Cogema or the Applicant), requesting consent for an indirect change of control with respect to its NRC Materials License SUA-1341. Under this license, Cogema operates the Irigaray and Christensen Ranch in situ leach (ISL) uranium milling facilities that are located in Johnson and Campbell Counties, Wyoming. Cogema is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cogema Resources, Inc. (Cogema Resources), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Areva NC. Cogema Resources is planning to sell Cogema to Uranium One Exploration U.S.A., Inc. (Uranium One), which, through several subsidiaries, is wholly owned by Uranium One, Inc.
A request for a hearing must be filed by November 19, 2009.
Federal Register: October 30, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 209) p. 56241-56243 (download full text )
Uranium One Inc. to acquire Christensen Ranch and Irigaray uranium in-situ leach mines: On Aug. 10, 2009, Uranium One Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the MALCO Joint Venture from wholly-owned subsidiaries of AREVA and EDF for US$ 35 million in cash.
The assets of MALCO include the licensed and permitted Irigaray ISR central processing plant, the Christensen Ranch satellite ISR facility and associated U3O8 resources located in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
The Irigaray and Christensen Ranch facilities are expected to form the basis of a new operating plan for the Company’s projects in Wyoming. Uranium One anticipates that its Moore Ranch project will now become a satellite ISR operation, with loaded resins being transported to Irigaray for further processing into dried U3O8. Uranium One’s additional projects in the Powder River Basin, including Ludeman, Peterson, Allemand-Ross and Barge could also be developed as satellite operations with final processing through Irigaray.
NRC staff finds no problem with groundwater impacts of existing in-situ leach uranium mines
> View here
U.S. NRC issues Notice of license renewal request for Christensen and Irigaray Ranch uranium in-situ leach facilities and opportunity to request a hearing
Notice of Request To Renew Source Materials License SUA-1341, COGEMA Mining, Inc., Christensen and Irigaray Ranch Facilities, Johnson and Campbell Counties, WY, and Opportunity To Request a Hearing
A request for a hearing must be filed by April 10, 2009.
Federal Register: February 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 25) p. 6436-6440 (download full text)
Restart of Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines
Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines restarted without EPA approval
By letter dated Feb. 11, 2011, EPA notified Uranium One that a licence for evaporation and holding ponds is required according to 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart W, National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings.
“Resuming operation of the ponds is considered to be a modification, requiring that a modification approval application be submitted to EPA before the modification is planned to commence. We understand that the Christensen Ranch/Irigaray facilities have resumed operation. We have not received an approval application for the ponds onsite, as required by 40 CFR §61.07.”
By letter dated Apr. 20, 2011, Uranium One contested the applicability of 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart W to its in situ leach operations.
Production restarted at Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines
Uranium One has started production at its Christensen Ranch uranium mine in southwest Campbell County, making it the first operating uranium mine in Campbell County in more than a decade. Uranium One also has opened its Irigaray processing plant just across the border in Johnson County. The Irigaray plant now processes the uranium ore from the Christensen Ranch facility into yellowcake uranium. (Gillette News Record Jan. 7, 2011)
NRC authorizes restart of Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines
> Download NRC release Dec. 17, 2010
NRC issues Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for restart of Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines
Federal Register: September 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 178) p. 53052 (download full text )
> Download Environmental Assessment Sep. 2008 (ADAMS ML082110026)
The requested license amendment to revert from restoration and decommissioning status to operating status was issued by NRC on Sep. 30, 2008.
NRC issues Notice of license amendment request for restart of Christensen Ranch/Irigaray uranium ISL mines and opportunity to request a hearing
On March 6, 2008, NRC issued a Notice of License Amendment Request to revert to operating status from restoration and decommissioning status, COGEMA Mining, Inc., Christensen and Irigaray Ranch facilities, Johnson and Campbell Counties, Wyoming, and Opportunity to Request a Hearing.
A request for a hearing must be filed by May 16, 2008.
Federal Register: March 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 52) p. 14279-14281 (download full text )
COGEMA to restart Christensen Ranch in-situ leach uranium mine
With yellowcake cruising at $43 per pound on increased demand and dwindling worldwide stockpiles, COGEMA Mining Co. is now under strict orders from its international parent companies to get the Christensen Ranch in-situ leach uranium mine back on full production. “It’s just a matter of a few — six months — before we’re back in operation,” said Mark Owens, who serves as manager of technical support for Mills-based COGEMA. In addition to putting its Christensen Ranch mine back on production, COGEMA is seeking to increase its uranium ore reserves in the state, according to Owens. (Casper Star-Tribune May 22, 2006)
“Due to an increase in the uranium market price, mining is anticipated to resume at Christensen Ranch during year 2007. The final decision to resume mining is still pending the Joint Participation’s approval, hopefully by the end of 2006 (The Joint Participation includes COGEMA Mining, Inc. as the operator and 71% owner, Malapai Resources Company as 29% owner; decisions must be unanimous).
Assuming that mining is resumed at Christensen Ranch, the first step will be continued well installation in the remainder of Mine Unit 7 (MU7). MU7 was about 50% installed when operations were shut down in year 2000. Drilling and well installation would resume in March 2007, followed by the initiation of surface construction (connection of wells to module buildings, connection to existing main trunkline to the plant). If schedules are adhered to, and all necessary approvals obtained, lixiviant injection could resume in MU7 as early as September 2007.”
(COGEMA Mining, Inc., ANNUAL REPORT, PERMIT TO MINE NO. 478, August 19, 2005 through August 18, 2006)
On April 3, 2007, COGEMA Mining, Inc. requested an amendment of the license for its Irigaray/Christensen Ranch facilities to revert to an operating (uranium production) status from the current restoration and decommissioning status.
Christensen Ranch ISL project shut down
“Christensen Ranch Project
All chemical addition to the mining wellfields ceased during February, 2000. Uranium recovery was slowly phased out during the following months, with the last operating wellfield shut down on June 23, 2000. Groundwater restoration is ongoing with active restoration in two out of five Mine Units (#3 and 5). Residual uranium is removed at a rate of approximately 50 lbs. per day during the Christensen restoration process. Projected completion of groundwater restoration is in 2005, with final decommissioning and surface reclamation to follow.
Mining ended in 1994. Groundwater restoration is ongoing with two Production Units (# 6 and 7) out of a total of nine Restoration has been completed in the other seven Production Units. Residual uranium is removed at a rate of approximately 10 lbs. per day during the Irigaray restoration process. Completion of groundwater restoration is projected for late 2001, with wellfield decommissioning and surface reclamation to follow. Decommissioning of most plant facilities will not begin until groundwater restoration is completed at the Christensen Project and all recovered uranium is processed.”
(COGEMA Mining, Inc. letter to NRC dated September 7, 2000, available through ADAMS )
Cogema to shut down Christensen Ranch / Irigaray ISL site in second half of 2000
COGEMA plans to cease production in all of its well fields of its Christensen Ranch / Irigaray in-situ leach site in Wyoming sometime during the third or fourth calender quarters of 2000.
All well fields will be in the restoration phase after production ceases. COGEMA’s proposes to submit a decommissioning plan to NRC by April 30, 2000. It is anticipated that upon completion of the mining it will require a number of years to conclude the ground water restoration efforts in all impacted well fields.
(NRC letter to Cogema dated Nov. 29, 1999, available through ADAMS )
Cogema gets aquifer exemption for deep well brine disposal at Christensen Ranch ISL site
Cogema received permission to inject brines from its Christensen Ranch in-situ leaching site in Wyoming in deep aquifers that might be a source of future drinking water supply. The brines consist of operational bleed streams from commercial in-situ leaching uranium mining operations as well as fluids from the restoration of the aquifer in mined out sections of the Christensen Ranch site. The exemption is necessary, since aquifer fluids contain less than 3,000 mg/l Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).
> See notice in Federal Register, March 26, 1999 (Vol. 64, No. 58), p. 14799-14804 (download full notice )
> See also Federal Register, August 27, 1998 (Vol. 63, No. 166), p. 45810-45812 (download full notice )
License renewal for Cogema’s Irigaray and Christensen Ranch ISL uranium mines
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the proposed license renewal of Cogema’s Irigaray and Christensen Ranch in-situ leach uranium mines in Wyoming.
> See notice in Federal Register, June 26, 1998 (Vol. 63, No. 123), p. 34942-34944 (download full notice ).
The License violations and reportable events reported for the Christensen Ranch facility are not mentioned in this Federal Register notice.
License violations and reportable events at Willow Creek (ex Christensen Ranch / Irigaray) in-situ leaching site
See also: Lists of Spills and Excursions for COMIN, Dec. 17, 2009 (ADAMS Acc. No. ML093640215)
According to Cogema’s “Quarterly Progress Report of Monitor Wells on Excursion Status” of Oct. 2, 2000 (available through ADAMS ), 7 monitor wells at Irigaray remained on excursion status during the third quarter of 2000. The wells have been on excursion status for more than one year and up to 11 years. One other monitor well has been removed from excursion status.
Latest NRC Event Reports referring to Uranium One’s Willow Creek (ex Christensen Ranch / Irigaray) ISL site in Wyoming:
Mar. 10, 2015: 830 gallon spill of injection fluid (1.7 ppm U)
Dec. 29, 2014: Monitor well placed on excursion status
Aug. 15, 2014: 492 gallon spill of recovery fluid (11.2 ppm U)
Aug. 13, 2014: 535 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.8 ppm U)
Jul. 25, 2014: 946 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.92 ppm U)
Jul. 7, 2014: Disposal well shut in due to apparent leaking of tubing in the well
June 19, 2014: Deep disposal well fails mechanical integrity test
May 15, 2014: “potential leak” at evaporation pond
Apr. 19, 2014: 616 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.32 ppm U)
Mar. 3, 2014: 665 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.6 ppm U)
Jan. 15, 2014: 77,700 gallon spill of production fluid (12.7 ppm U)
Nov. 26, 2013: 1,060 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.32 ppm U)
Oct. 31, 2013: 740 gallon spill of injection fluid (1.2 ppm U)
Jul. 22, 2013: 2,600 gallon spill of injection fluid (1.1 ppm U)
Jun. 15, 2013: 1,400 gallon spill of injection fluid (0.8 ppm U)
Mar. 7, 2013: Evaporation pond leak
Mar. 5, 2013: “potential leaks” at two evaporation ponds
Feb. 11, 2013: 2,100 gallon spill of injection fluid
Dec. 23, 2012: 800 gallon spill of injection fluid (< 0.4 ppm U)
Dec. 22, 2012: 950 gallon spill of disposal well fluid (2.1 ppm U)
Dec. 9, 2012: 1,500 gallon spill of injection fluid ( For reports on many more spills, download WY DEQ’s spill databases ! ” http://www.wise-uranium.org/umopuswy.html
So, who approved Russian ownership of US Uranium Mines? Whoever occupied the following positions in 2013.
“Composition of CFIUS
The Secretary of the Treasury is the Chairperson of CFIUS, and notices to CFIUS are received, processed, and coordinated at the staff level by the Staff Chairperson of CFIUS, who is the Director of the Office of Investment Security in the Department of the Treasury.
The members of CFIUS include the heads of the following departments and offices:
Department of the Treasury (chair)
Department of Justice
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of State
Department of Energy
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Office of Science & Technology Policy
The following offices also observe and, as appropriate, participate in CFIUS’s activities:
Office of Management & Budget
Council of Economic Advisors
National Security Council
National Economic Council
Homeland Security Council
The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor are non-voting, ex-officio members of CFIUS with roles as defined by statute and regulation.”
Another letter found in passing: