DENVER (AP) – The Colorado health department is accepting public input on a Toronto-based energy company’s plan to build what would be the first new uranium mill in the United States in more than 30 years.
Representatives with Energy Fuels Resources Corp. said Friday the company has filed documents with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment outlining a construction plan for the Pinon Ridge mill on 880 acres in western Colorado’s Montrose County. The company wants to transform uranium ore into uranium oxide, which would then be sent out of state to be turned into fuel for nuclear reactors.
The mill is expected to process 500 tons a day of uranium and vanadium, which is used in steel alloys and high-tech batteries.
Energy Fuels also has submitted a plan to fund maintenance and surveillance of the site after it is decommissioned and turned over to the state or the Department of Energy. The company was granted a radioactive materials license for the proposed mill in April.
Project leaders hope to begin construction of the mill at the beginning of 2016, to begin stockpiling ore later that year and to begin processing it in 2017.
Energy Fuels, which announced plans for the mill in 2007, will primarily process ore from mines in Gateway, Colo., and La Sal, Utah, according to CDPHE documents.
Colorado originally authorized the mill in 2011, but the decision prompted appeals from a handful of activist groups. A Denver judge eventually invalidated that license after finding that the state did not hold formal public hearings. Following new hearings, the license was granted anew this year.
Colorado’s public health department has scheduled a meeting in Nucla on Aug. 13 to gather comment on the plans for construction and funding for decommissioning. It will accept input by email, mail or fax until Sept. 13.
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