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Piñon Ridge Mill License Approved;
CO Confident In Safety Of State-Of-The-Art Facility -
Paradox Valley from the North, future site of the Piñon Ridge
Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill license application meets state regulatory
DENVER: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Radiation
Program announced April 25th that Energy Fuels Resources Corp. has met all
the regulatory requirements for a radioactive materials license for the
Piñon Ridge Uranium Mill in western Montrose County, Colo. State law
requires the department to approve applications when such requirements are
The license was required before Energy Fuels could construct its planned
500-tons-per day uranium/vanadium mill approximately 12 miles west of
Naturita, Colo., in the Paradox Valley. The mill will process uranium ore
from mines in the region to produce uranium oxide, which requires additional
processing outside Colorado to become fuel for nuclear reactors. The mill
also will recover vanadium, a metal used in steel alloys and high-tech
The license imposes a number of conditions on Energy Fuels involving
construction of the mill; the receipt, possession, use and transfer of
radioactive materials; and procedures to minimize risks to property and
public health and safety, and to prevent loss or theft of radioactive
material. Notably, the license requires an enhanced groundwater monitoring
plan, subject to annual review.
A separate settlement agreement between Telluride and San Miguel County with
Energy Fuels sets up additional protections related to the transportation of
radioactive materials, blowing dust and water quality monitoring. In
addition to the approximately $13 million financial surety established by
the state, this agreement increases Energy Fuels’ total surety to an amount
not less than $15 million.
Dr. Chris Urbina, executive director and chief medical officer of the
department, said, “With the approval of the license, our work is not done.
We will continue to work with the community members and officials to keep
them informed of progress.”
During construction and operation of the Piñon Ridge facility, the
department’s oversight will continue, including regular inspections and an
annual review of the financial assurance. The department expects to have at
least one staff member whose primary assignment will include monitoring and
inspections of the facility.
Ron Henderson, chairman of the Montrose Board of County Commissioners said,
“An exhaustive process has been followed and validated with the approval of
Montrose Commissioner David White said, “This validates the science behind
the application, design and potential construction of the mill. It is a
state-of-the-art facility and will benefit the citizens of Montrose County,
the state of Colorado and the United States for decades to come.”
The license application was submitted by Energy Fuels on Nov. 18, 2009, and
has undergone a thorough technical and regulatory review. Prior to its
approval of the license, the department and the applicant conducted eight
public meetings in 2010 in Nucla, Naturita, Paradox, Montrose, Telluride and
Ophir. And in November 2012, the department held a six-day hearing in Nucla
to allow cross-examination of witnesses and to solicit additional public
comment. All of the information was thoroughly reviewed by the state’s
Radiation Program prior to the decision to grant the license.
The administrative record includes comprehensive reports and comments by
engineers, scientists, environmental and business groups, government
officials from western Colorado counties and towns, and regulators. Anyone
interested can view the department’s Decision Analysis and Environmental
Impact Analysis, which includes a copy of the license and the department’s
responses to public comments.
Dr. Urbina said, “From the beginning, we have listened carefully to the
public and worked with Energy Fuels to minimize risks to public health and
the environment. Today’s engineering standards, and strict environmental
regulations, far exceed those in place when the last such mill was
constructed more than 25 years ago. We are confident these standards and
regulations will ensure the safe construction and operation of the
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The Great Miramonte Fish Harvest Fishing Derby is coming
on May 11!