Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Strict new rules for in-situ uranium projects

the new rules:  Require uranium companies to restore groundwater quality to its pre-mining condition or better…Require baseline water quality testing for all in-situ uranium projects during the prospecting phase.

(USA) MINING: Colo. adopts strict regulations on in-situ uranium operations WaterWorld, August 19, 2010, Eryn Gable,  Colorado officials have approved the nation’s most stringent water quality protections for in-situ uranium operations as part of an effort to update uranium-mining regulations that dated back to the late 1970s.

The Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board voted unanimously last week in favor of the new regulations, which require in-situ uranium firms to restore water quality to either pre-mining conditions or state groundwater standards after mining operations are complete, clarify that uranium mines are subject to the same environmental standards as other hardrock mines in the state, and allow for public participation in mine prospecting decisions.

The decision caps a two-year process that began when the Colorado Legislature passed legislation that included some of the nation’s toughest uranium mining laws. Last week’s decision by the seven-member reclamation board was the final enactment of the new protections, whose adoption drew praise from environmentalists and residents who had pushed for stronger protections from the downsides of uranium extraction.

“We’ve experienced the legacy of the impacts from prior uranium mining, so it’s ridiculous to think we could permit them again in the same manner with no greater protections than what caused the problems in the first place,” said Jeff Parsons, an attorney with the Lyons, Colo.-based Western Mining Action Project who represented Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction (CARD), Environment Colorado and others during the rulemaking process before the state mining board. Colorado’s new in-situ uranium mining regulations include measures to protect the state’s water resources from radioactive contamination………………

Among other things, the new rules:

Require uranium companies to restore groundwater quality to its pre-mining condition or better through a plan approved by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety prior to the start of the mine.

Require all uranium operations to be considered a “designated mining operation,” which makes them subject to the same environmental laws as other mining projects.

Provide an appeals process for mine prospecting decisions.

Require baseline water quality testing for all in-situ uranium projects during the prospecting phase.

Require that mining companies disclose when, where and how mining operations will occur to ensure the public is fully informed about potential impacts…………..

Among other things, the new rules:

Require uranium companies to restore groundwater quality to its pre-mining condition or better through a plan approved by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety prior to the start of the mine.

Require all uranium operations to be considered a “designated mining operation,” which makes them subject to the same environmental laws as other mining projects.

Provide an appeals process for mine prospecting decisions.

Require baseline water quality testing for all in-situ uranium projects during the prospecting phase.

Require that mining companies disclose when, where and how mining operations will occur to ensure the public is fully informed about potential impacts……

Despite Powertech’s assertions that in-situ mining will not contaminate the aquifer, critics fear the spread of uranium and various other elements such as arsenic, selenium, molybdenum, vanadium and radium-226 mobilized in the process. And they contend no company has ever returned an in-situ uranium mine to baseline groundwater levels.

“The track record for in-situ operations is poor,” Parsons said. “In every other state, they’ve allowed mines to weaken the groundwater standards as they go along so they don’t have to restore to baseline.”   http://www.waterworld.com/index/display/news_display/1244999008.html

August 20, 2010 - Posted by | uranium | , , , , ,

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