Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Deadline for Comments on Uranium Extended: Letters Still Needed

The deadline for letters related to Energy Fuels and domestic uranium sales has been extended! The deadline for the written comments originally WAS September 10, 2018. Today's notice changes the comment deadline to September 25, 2018.Comments may be submitted at any time but must be received by September 25, 2018.

Response to this notice may be submitted to regulations.gov docket number BIS-2018-0011.
Technology Evaluation, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of
Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1093, Washington, DC 20230.
Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce (202) 482-4506,
Uranium232@bis.doc.gov. For more information about the section 232 program,
including the regulations and the text of previous investigations, see www.bis.doc.gov/232.

All written comments on the notice must be submitted by one of the following
1~~By the Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Comments
2~~By mail or delivery to Michael Vaccaro, Acting Director, Office of
3~~By email directly to Uranium232@bis.doc.gov.
For Further Information Contact Michael Vaccaro, Acting Director, Office of Technology Evaluation
Photos from June 15, 2017 Hearing in regards to Energy Fuels
Bruce Lyman, local farmer, one of many who gave testimony in
support of Energy Fuels re-licensing. He stated that White Mesa
is not "down wind" from the mill. The wind blows north, and his farm
is closest to the mill and is a safe and good neighbor.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Energy Fuels Petitions President to Investigate Implications of Foreign Uranium Imports

Article published originally in Free Range Report Sept. 7, 2018
Republished with permission  
Today, the U.S. generates 20 percent of our electricity – and 60 percent of our clean, non-emitting electricity – from nuclear energy. U.S. producers supplied less than 5 percent of the fuel for these reactors in 2017, while unfriendly nations like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have supplied about 33 percent of our reactor requirements.
 Interview by Marjorie Haun
A uranium mill in southeastern Utah has taken the lead in activating locals to reach out to the Trump Administration regarding the current imbalance in uranium trade practices and how they are harming rural economies and threatening our national security. With its headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado, Energy Fuels has a mill near Blanding, Utah which employs 150 workers, about 50 of whom are Native American, and which produces over 20 percent of America’s domestic uranium. Energy Fuels submitted a petition to the Commerce Department in January of this year, calling for an investigation into the national security and economic impacts of disproportionate uranium imports from other nations, including geopolitical rivals Russia and China. Commerce responded and initiated an investigation in July. The period for public commentary is ongoing and been extended to September 25. You can go HERE to submit comments if you like, and find additional information about the investigation titled, Section 232 National Security Investigation of Imports of Uranium. Published 7/25/18 (83 FR 35205).”
Uranium has been unfairly demonized in the media and popular culture for years. And because this “atomic” element is not well understood, fear-mongering campaigns by radical special interest groups have succeeded in perpetuating myths and impeding its domestic development. With modern applications primarily in energy production and medicine, today’s uranium is not the uranium of the 1940’s or even the 1990’s, and its uses are many with world demand growing. Free Range Report reached out Energy Fuels and their marketing director, Curtis Moore, gave us a real world perspective on the domestic uranium industry of today.
Free Range Report: Share with us a little about Energy Fuels, its history, and what projects you have in the works.
Logan Shumway: Energy Fuels is the largest US-based uranium and vanadium mining company, supplying U3O8 to major nuclear utilities. Uranium is used as the fuel for nuclear energy. Vanadium is used a hardening agent in high strength steel and other alloys. Vanadium is also used in large-scale batteries used with renewable energy systems. 

Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado (near Denver), Energy Fuels holds three of America’s key uranium production centers, the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch Processing Facility in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa Project in Texas. The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S. today and has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3O8 per year (we expect to produce about 300,000 lbs. of U3O8 at that facility this year, along with about 500,000 lbs. of V2O5). 

The Nichols Ranch Processing Facility is an ISR production center with a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year (we expect to produce about 140,000 lbs. of U3O8at that facility this year). Alta Mesa is an ISR production center currently on care and maintenance. Energy Fuels also has the largest NI 43-101 compliant uranium resource portfolio in the U.S. among producers, and uranium mining projects located in a number of Western U.S. states, including one producing ISR project, mines on standby, and mineral properties in various stages of permitting and development.
FRR: What inspired you to reach out to the public with the petition to encourage President Trump to support Uranium?
Logan Shumway:The U.S. uranium mining industry is in crisis today, due to persistent low prices. In fact, during the 1st half of 2018, our industry produced uranium at the lowest levels since the late-1940’s! The problem is that this is exposing serious national security and energy security issues. This is the reason we petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce and the President. 

Today, the U.S. generates 20 percent of our electricity – and 60 percent of our clean, non-emitting electricity – from nuclear energy. U.S. producers supplied less than 5 percent of the fuel for these reactors in 2017, while unfriendly nations like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have supplied about 33 percent of our reactor requirements. Numbers from China are kept confidential; however, they have announced that they intend to target the U.S. nuclear market. In addition, U.S. defense is inextricably tied to uranium, including fueling aircraft carriers, submarines, and other vessels in the U.S. Navy, and uranium is a critical component in our nuclear deterrent including tritium production. 

The governments of Russia, China, and the others heavily-subsidize state-owned entities that produce uranium and nuclear fuel. Free market producers, like we have in the U.S. and in allies like Canada and Australia, simply cannot compete against these foreign government sponsored enterprises. These unfriendly nations are literally on the verge of dominating the global nuclear industry, which has serious implications for U.S. national security and energy security. We must maintain a viable uranium mining and nuclear fuel industry for the sake of national defense and energy security.
In our Petition, we asked for a trade quota that reserves 25 percent of the U.S. uranium market for U.S. uranium producers. That means U.S. uranium production would have to increase from about 1.5 million pounds per year to about 10-12 million pounds per year. This is very achievable, and you wouldn’t see large-scale uranium mining popping up all over the nation. Some news reports have indicated that we asked for a tariff – this is not true.
FRR: Have you or the company ever been activated in political outreach prior to this?
Logan Shumway: Not at this scale. We’ve always been very engaged at the local level and with our local, state and federal regulators. But, it’s only recently that we’ve become embroiled in issues of national significance. And, while it’s tough for a little company like us to deal with it all, we’re glad our industry is getting some of this attention. People need to know the truth about our industry, where their energy comes from, and how it all ties to national security.
FRR: How has the uranium industry changed since the 1950’s?
Logan Shumway: It has changed in numerous ways – too many to count – mainly in protecting human health, worker safety, and the environment. Also, in the 1950’s, uranium mining was government controlled, as the U.S. government was the only buyer of uranium. During the Cold War, the government needed uranium for weapons, and later for the development of commercial reactors, and human health and the environment sometimes took a backseat to national security imperatives. Compared to today, uranium mining in the 1950’s was essentially unregulated. Today, we have much better understandings of how to mine uranium efficiently and responsibly. In fact, we lead the world on these issues.
FRR: Are horror stories coming from environmental groups and the Outdoor Industry Association something the public needs to worry about?
Logan Shumway: No, almost everything they point to occurred during the unregulated, Cold War era. They truly do not understand – nor do they want to understand – about how the modern uranium mining industry operates and is regulated. It is also somewhat dismaying to us that these groups, who claim to be fighting air pollution and climate change, are so anti-nuclear.  Nuclear energy is – by far – the best way we have to address these issues. As I said, nuclear provides 60 percent of the clean, non-emitting energy in the U.S. However, most of the mainstream environmental groups are anti-nuclear. It makes one wonder what their true agenda is.
FRR: What applications are there for uranium other than weapons and energy production? What innovations are in the future for uranium?
Logan Shumway: Almost all uranium is used for energy production, not weapons, and small amounts are used in medical applications.
FRR: How many jobs could your company bring into southeastern Utah?
Logan Shumway: At full capacity, the White Mesa Mill employs about 150 people with good-paying jobs for the area, many with benefits. We are also a major employer of Native Americans – today about one-third of our workforce is Native American and at full capacity about half would likely be Native American. In addition, we would hire miners and support personnel at our mines. We do not know how many people this will total at this time; however it would likely be in the hundreds.
FRR: What do you foresee for the future of uranium domestically and internationally?
Logan Shumway: A lot depends on how the Administration reacts to our Petition. As I said, the U.S. produces 20 percent of our electricity from nuclear. This comes from 99 nuclear reactors. This number is likely to drop somewhat as a few older units close in the coming years. However, the U.S. will be a major producer of nuclear energy – and consumer of uranium – for many decades to come. So, the demand for uranium in the U.S. exists. 
As for the future of uranium mining, if the Administration provides our industry with the support we’ve requested (the quota), within about 3-5 years the domestic uranium mining industry would grow to a critical mass of viability in terms of operating facilities, technical expertise, and personnel. It wouldn’t be huge, but it would certainly be healthier than it is today. You would likely see the White Mesa Mill increase its level of activity and employment, and a few mines in southeast Utah would re-open. You would also see increased production at mines and processing facilities in other states, mainly Wyoming and Texas. 

If the Administration does not act to support the industry, you would likely see all uranium production in the U.S. shut down and (in time) be reclaimed, expect perhaps the White Mesa Mill. The White Mesa Mill has other businesses that can keep it afloat, including vanadium production, alternate feed material processing (recycling certain materials for the recovery of uranium), and land cleanup work. On this last note, there are a number of government-sponsored, Cold War era uranium sites scattered around the Four Corners Region, including over 500 on the Navajo Nation. There are efforts underway today to cleanup those sites properly. The White Mesa Mill is actually a perfect location to recycle material from those cleanups that contains recoverable quantities of natural uranium – it would basically be low-grade ore. That business could keep White Mesa operating for a number of years as well. However, it would be scrapping business together, like it is today.
FRR: What would you like to say to people who may still be skeptical?
Logan Shumway: Don’t believe what you read in mainstream media outlets about uranium mining! There are activists who spread a lot of misinformation about what we do, and journalists simply don’t have the time or inclination to research verify the activists’ claims. Second, our industry carries a lot of Cold War baggage. However, almost all of the problems with our industry occurred during the 1940’s to 1960’s – or before. Think about the cars we were driving back then; or the computers we were using.  It’s night-and-day. There are people that think uranium miners haven’t changed since those days; nothing could be further from the truth.  
In addition, see the discussion below about “natural uranium.”  Some people think our industry is nefarious and shrouded-in-mystery – probably a relic of the Cold War era. But, really what we do is quite benign. Of course, you have to handle uranium properly and safely, and you have to be very conscious of the health and environmental impacts of our operations. But, the hazards of uranium mining and processing are not all that different from other mineral processing or industrial activities.  As an extreme example, we sometimes have to laugh, when people decry the dangers of uranium ore trucks traveling down the road. But, those same people don’t bat-an-eye about trucks carrying gasoline, diesel, acid, chlorine, and other nasty chemicals on our roads; substances are orders-of-magnitude more dangerous than humble uranium ore. But, that’s the world we live in today.
FRR: What are some cool facts about uranium the public would be surprised to learn?
Logan Shumway: Uranium is an extremely common element, more common than tin, about 40 times more common than silver, and 500 times more common than gold. It is found in most rocks and sediments, in seawater, in aquifers, and in hot springs. If the price of uranium were high enough, we could produce it from the ocean. I used a term above, ‘natural uranium.’  This is an important concept, because I think there are people who think a nuclear power plant, or even a uranium mill, could blow up like a nuclear bomb – yes, I’ve heard people say these things at public hearings! 

“Natural uranium” is uranium as it occurs in nature – it is the element that we mine and process. Uranium is comprised primarily of two isotopes – U-235 and U-238. In nature, uranium is about 99.3 percent U-238 and 0.7 percent U-235. “Natural uranium” is stable, it is only mildly radioactive, and it cannot explode! Everything our company does involves “natural uranium,” from mining to processing to alternate feed materials. We produce natural uranium concentrate, also known as U3O8 or “Yellowcake”.

 I’ve often heard it said that the main health hazard from “natural uranium” is not its radioactivity, but its toxicity. Like you shouldn’t ingest lead, you shouldn’t ingest uranium. Uranium becomes “unnatural” when it is enriched – which is a process far down the nuclear fuel cycle, long after we’ve sold the product. We have nothing to do with enrichment.  Enrichment is basically the process of increasing the percentage of U-235 from 0.7 percent to about 3-5 percent for use in a nuclear reactor. At those levels of U-235, the material can sustain a low-level nuclear reaction and create heat. This heat is used to power a steam turbine and generate electricity in a nuclear reactor. If you want to make a nuclear weapon, you have to increase the level of U-235 to over 90 percent! 
Energy Fuels Reclamation Efforts:  Before and After 

One of several mine sites previously operated by Energy Fuels.  Upon completion, the company reclaims the areas where their operations have been.  They are good neighbors and attentive to the environment.
Site of Kanab North Mine 1990

Kanab North Mine 2015 ~~ After Reclamation

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If you would like to support safe, regulated, environmentally-responsible domestic uranium production, please comment HERE or email uranium232@bis.doc.gov


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Friday, August 31, 2018

~~BEAR ESSENTIALS: August 31, 2018~~


What is San Juan’s Vision Now for Bears Ears National Monument?

(Revisiting Jim Stiles Cartoon from 2016)

News in the West 

  
 ~~People who care about access and roads. This is where they'll decide which roads they're closing and what kind of travel will be allowed.
~~People who utilize the resources in the new monument boundaries or old monument boundaries. This includes gathering wood and plants, grazing, timber production, mining, surface mining and rockhounding, film production and professional photography, etc.
~~People who have private property inholdings or similar rights like water rights, grazing rights, mineral rights, etc.
~~People who recreate within new monument boundaries. This includes people who hunt or fish.
  • Send your letter to: Email: blm_ut_monticello_monuments@blm.gov
  • Mail: BLM, Canyon Country District Office, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah 84532, Attention: Lance Porter  For further information concerning the land use planning process, please contact Lance Porter, District Manager at (435) 259-2100.













Response in the Petroglyph: “This smells a lot like the $500,000 dollars the Commission promised to the Discovery Center/Four Corners School. At the time it was said the Discovery center was going to bring in massive amounts tourists.
If the county wants to spend money how about picking up the bill for those who have spent years trying to keep access open to public lands. How about picking up the bill for the Recapture Protest, you could pay to fight the BLM over the 2009 raids, the fraudulent charges and $30,000 + thousand dollar fine two Blanding resident received for fixing part of a trail that was legal. How about supporting the citizens of San Juan County, instead of undermining everything they have worked for over the years.
This marketing campaign might be great for a private company but it is undermining everything the majority of citizens in the county have fought against with the monument.
The commission should have voted against it instead of endorsing. The full responsibility for this decision falls on the Commissioners.
But let's be honest this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone after the Four Corners School deal, the Nature Conservancy land sale, and many other backroom deals. Many that were addressed in the 2012 commission election and ever since but no one cared and now here we are again!”
Tim’s act of civil disobedience led to a legal battle. In the case of the U.S.A. vs. Tim DeChristopher, he faces penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.   While fighting the lawsuit, Tim co-founds a grass-roots group dedicated to defending a livable future through non-violent action and redefines patriotism for a new generation.”
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n Read Past Editions of Bear Essentials at: http://beyondthebears.blogspot.com/
Documenting Bears Ears Controversy and Public Land Issues since July 2016
                                                                                                  

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Uranium Industry Suppressed by Foreign Marketing

U.S. Uranium Industry Controlled by Russians? 

Americans Need to be Concerned and Write Dept. of Commerce

Energy Fuels has embarked on a key process with the Trump Administration that, if successful, will strengthen U.S. national security and energy security, and revitalize the U.S. uranium industry.  Your help is needed.

"In January 2018, Energy Fues submitted a Petition to the U.S. Department of Commerce to have them investigate the impacts of today’s extremely high levels of uranium imports on national security. In July 2018, Commerce initiated the investigation. This is great news for the United States, for the domestic uranium industry and for those associated with that industry.

Commerce also opened a 45-day period in which they would accept public comments to consider in their investigation. Therefore, I hope you will join me in submitting a comment that encourages Commerce and the President to support a healthy domestic uranium industry. Comments can be submitted to DOC in three ways:

(i)                  Via email at uranium232@bis.doc.gov;
(ii)                Through the link https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BIS-2018-0011 (click the “Comment Now!” box), or
(iii)               By U.S. mail to Michael Vaccaro, Acting Director, Office of Technology Evaluation, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 1093, Washington, DC 20230.

Comment period ends on September 10, 2018. 
Submit your comments before then.


 As members of this strategic industry, I am certain that The Dept. of Commerce and the President will listen to us.  Also, please forward this link to your friends, family, consultants, or anyone else you think would be willing to submit a supportive comment.

We need to work together to generate as many positive comments as possible encouraging Commerce and the President to do the right thing for U.S. national security and energy security."



Possible Talking Points for Letters: 


·        The U.S. uranium mining industry is at risk. Uranium is essential to our national defense, including providing fuel for the U.S. Navy and representing the backbone of our nuclear deterrent.
·        Over the past decade, this key domestic industry has shrunk to the point that U.S. national security is now threatened.
·        In 2017, U.S. uranium production fell to near historic lows due in large part to uranium and nuclear fuel imported from state-subsidized foreign entities.
·        In 2018, U.S. producers may produce less than 2% of our nation’s needs.
·        Russia and China are geopolitical rivals of the U.S. with a long record of utilizing their state-owned energy industries as tools of foreign policy.
·        State-owned enterprises in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are targeting the U.S. uranium industry, and now fulfill over one-third of U.S. demand.
·        Moreover, Chinese state-owned entities have announced plans to penetrate the U.S. nuclear market, threatening to further degrading U.S. energy security and national security.
·        In traditional allies like Canada and Australia, mines are shutting down and reducing production.
·        Without prompt action, uranium imports from Russia, China and other geopolitical rivals will increase significantly in the future.
·        The U.S. uranium mining industry can compete on a level-playing field with anyone. However, the anti-competitive practices of state-owned and state-subsidized entities are putting U.S. producers at an enormous disadvantage.
·        The U.S. generates 20% of our electricity – and nearly 60% of our clean, zero-carbon electricity – from nuclear energy.
·        The remedies proposed are sensible and achievable, a 75% quota on imports and a “buy American policy for U.S. Government purchases. They will have an impact on foreign entities, but very little impact on U.S. utilities and their customers.
·        The U.S. uranium industry has more than enough production capability to increase production and meet requirements, including a number of permitted and constructed mining and processing facilities currently in operation or on standby.
·        The Administration can help create thousands of jobs, including Native American jobs, with good salaries and benefits, along with increased tax revenues that support rural schools, hospitals, and other local infrastructure.