The $billions cost of cleaning up after the uranium industry
Regulators are examining hydrology, seismology, demographic impacts and effects on flora and fauna, as well as demanding complete plans for how ….. the site would be reclaimed.
Toxic legacy of uranium haunts proposed Colorado mill – The Denver Post, Nancy Lofholm, 5 Sept 10, GRAND JUNCTION — “………..More than a billion dollars has been spent cleaning up radioactive tailings piles and lessening toxic leaks into rivers and aquifers at nine defunct mills in Colorado. Nearly 20 million tons of radioactive tailings sit in disposal sites where they must be monitored in perpetuity. Hundreds of acres of unusable water fill contaminated aquifers.
Much has changed in the understanding of uranium milling since that toxic legacy was created. New regulations are in place to make the industry safer. But those regulations are still untested. Costs for dealing with its inevitable contamination are as long-lived as its radioactive leavings: The state’s latest regulations call for the monitoring of new mill waste for 1,000 years.
A full picture of all the taxpayer and privately funded expenses for past cleanup and ongoing monitoring and maintenance is not available because multiple agencies — the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment — along with multiple programs within those agencies, have a hand in overseeing the uranium legacy. The only federal cost information available is 5 years old………
State legislators last spring passed the Uranium Processing Accountability Act, designed to prevent radioactive messes from sitting for decades. The act requires mills to clean up past contamination before beginning new processing jobs. It also gives the public a say in annual reviews of the amount of the financial bond that mill owners must post for potential cleanups………
Regulators are examining hydrology, seismology, demographic impacts and effects on flora and fauna, as well as demanding complete plans for how the mill ultimately would be torn down and the site reclaimed.
No comments yet.