Chemical Safety Incidents
WY Uranium Recovery Facility Approved
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 @ 10:03 AM gHale
AUC LLC earned an operating license for the Reno Creek uranium recovery facility in Campbell County, WY.
AUC submitted the application in October 2012 for the in situ recovery facility, which uses a solution to extract uranium from underground ore, then pumps it to the surface for further processing.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) review of the application included an environmental review published in December 2016 as a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that looked at site-specific impacts and referenced the agency’s Generic EIS for in situ recovery facilities.
The NRC also published a Safety Evaluation Report, which concluded the proposed facility can, in a safe manner, operate, manage radiological and chemical hazards, protect groundwater, and eventually cleanup and decommission.
The Reno Creek project comprises NI 43-101 compliant resources of 10.96 million pounds of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.066% U3O8 measured and indicated and 4.73 million pounds of U3O8 at an average grade of 0.063% U3O8 inferred. It also contains 8.41 million pounds of U3O8 in historical resources grading about 0.083% U3O8.
ISL mines pass a leaching solution — such as oxygen with sodium carbonate — through buried sand containing uranium, dissolving it on the way. The solution then pumps to the surface. The uranium ends up removed from the solution using an ion-exchange process. Usually the ion-exchange resin or solvent would undergo stripping and precipitation on-site to remove uranium.
The project will have five wellfields and a central processing plant producing about 750 tU annually. It is 30km southeast of Uranium One’s Willow Creek and 50km north of Cameco’s Smith Ranch uranium projects.