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2019 uranium news highlights and lowlights

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Here's a collection of 2019 uranium news highlights and lowlights taken from the WISE-Uranium website ( ‒ a remarkable resource maintained by Peter Diehl for as long as anyone can remember.

For more information on these news items, see the 2019 Uranium News webpage ( and follow the links.


‒ ERA releases updated Closure Plan for Ranger uranium mine

Report identifies need for improvements with clean-up of Ranger uranium mine to address long-term risks for Kakadu national park

Decommissioning cost estimate for Ranger uranium mine increases further to A$830 million

‒ Court dismisses appeal against federal environmental clearance for Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia

‒ Evaporation ponds at Olympic Dam mine are still killing hundreds of birds

Consequence of potential failure of Olympic Dam tailings dams rated 'extreme'


‒ INB signs agreement with Public Prosecutor's Office on necessary improvement of management of Pocos de Caldas tailings

CNEN establishes 'action plan' for inspection of Pocos de Caldas tailings dam

‒ Five years after halt of operations, license renewed for Caetite uranium mine

‒ Brazil's government plans to allow public-private partnerships for uranium mines, circumventing parliament

‒ Nuclear fuel convoy attacked by armed men


‒ Tribunal orders TEPCO to pay damages in dispute over cancellation of Fukushima uranium supply contract, but reduces TEPCO's obligation to 6% of amount claimed by Cameco

‒ Small fluorine release in Cameco Port Hope UF6 plant (Ontario)

> Heavy rain causes water inflow at Cameco Port Hope conversion plant

> Property remediation resumes at Canada's Port Hope Project

‒ Nova Scotia legislators deny request from mining industry lobby to lift province's uranium ban

‒ CNSC to hold un-hearing on revised financial guarantee for McArthur River mine

‒ Cameco opposes more stringent environmental review process for uranium mining projects

‒ CNSC seeks comments on project description for Wheeler River in situ leach uranium mine project with freeze wall

‒ Spill at mothballed Key Lake uranium mill contained uranium concentrations exceeding standard ten-fold

‒ Proposed production of nuclear fuel pellets at BWXT Peterborough nuclear fuel facility raises concern among residents


‒ Violation of criticality rules at Framatome's FBFC Romans nuclear fuel fabrication plant

‒ Justice bars Greenpeace from approaching Orano's uranium transports

‒ Greenpeace 'repaints' train carrying reprocessed uranyl nitrate from La Hague to Pierrelatte

‒ Anti-nuclear sabotage against electrical equipment on railway siding to Areva's depleted uranium storage facility at Bessines

‒ Environmental guidance values for uranium in waters downstream from former uranium mines in France not met at four sites, at least

‒ Orano plans to construct four additional buildings to extend storage capacity for reprocessed uranium at Tricastin

‒ Almost 100,000 t of depleted uranium oxide in use as radiation shield for Orano's reprocessed uranium stored at Tricastin

‒ ASN demands Orano for improvements with storage of uranium material after loss of containment at decommissioning uranium conversion plant for reprocessed uranium at Pierrelatte


‒ 300 demonstrate against Framatome Lingen nuclear fuel plant and nuclear power plant

‒ Wismut's former uranium mining site in the Ore Mountains becomes World Heritage

‒ Wismut starts construction of final cover on Culmitzsch uranium mill tailings pile

Further financing assured for reclamation of Wismut legacy sites in Saxony

‒ Demonstration against Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant

‒ Demonstration against Framatome Lingen nuclear fuel plant and nuclear power plant

‒ Preparations started for reclamation of abandoned Hakenkruemme uranium mill tailings site

‒ 250 Easter March participants demonstrate against Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant

‒ Injured mineral collector rescued from unsecured abandoned uranium mine


‒ Government of Greenland rejects company's complaint about handling of EIA report for Kvanefjeld uranium mine

‒ Stability of tailings dam at proposed Kvanefjeld uranium mine unclear

‒ Demonstration against proposed Kvanefjeld uranium mine

‒ Formation of joint venture with CNNC for processing of Kvanefjeld rare earth ‒ uranium minerals raises concern that Greenlandic uranium may end up with Chinese military


‒ Uranium mining polluting groundwater in Andhra Pradesh villages, scientists warn

‒ Residents living near Tummalapalle uranium mine block UCIL vehicles demanding supply of purified drinking water

> State Pollution Control Board issues directions to UCIL on impacts of Tummalapalle uranium mine

> State Pollution Control Board to hold hearing on alleged violations leading to groundwater contamination at Tummalapalle uranium mine

> Expert committee urges medical care for residents affected from impacts of Tummalapalle uranium mine

‒ Rally held against proposed uranium mining in Nallamala forest

70,000 people to be displaced for uranium mine in Amrabad Tiger Reserve

> Telangana State Assembly passes resolution opposing uranium mining in Nallamala forest

> Telangana Congress party demands reversal of state government's approval of uranium exploration in Nallamala forest

> Protesters prevent UCIL officials from conducting uranium survey in Nallamala forests

> Rallies and road blockade against uranium exploration in Amrabad tiger reserve

> State official vows they won't allow anyone inside for uranium exploration in Amrabad Tiger Reserve

> Campaign launched to save Amrabad Tiger Reserve from uranium mining

> Environmentalists back Chenchus' fight against uranium mining at Amrabad

> Professor arrested on his way to meet opponents of uranium mining in Nallamala forest

> Professor arrested on his way to meet tribes affected from proposed uranium mining in Nallamala forest ‒ again

‒ Environmental approval of uranium exploration affects tribals in Betul, Madhya Pradesh

‒ Displaced people demonstrate at Narwapahar uranium mine (Jharkhand)

‒ Workers at several uranium mines in India on strike

‒ India to develop 13 new uranium mine projects, increasing production by factor of up to four


‒ Iran to restart uranium enrichment at Fordo underground facility in breach of nuclear deal

‒ Iran announces tenfold increase in enriched uranium production in breach of nuclear deal

‒ Ardakan uranium mine delivers yellow cake consignment


‒ Kyrgyzstan's parliament bans uranium exploration and mining after protests

> Association of Miners and Geologists supports uranium ban in Kyrgyzstan

> At demonstration in Bishkek, more than 300 demand ban on uranium mining in Kyrgyzstan

> Kyrgyz Prime Minister bans exploration and mining of uranium before legal response

‒ Residents mined sand from Kyzyl-Ompul uranium deposit

> Demonstration in Karakol against Kyzyl-Ompul uranium mine project

> Prime Minister orders suspension of works at proposed Kyzyl-Ompul uranium mine site amid growing protests

> Licensing commission suspends exploration license for uranium at Kyzyl-Ompul

> Over 10,000 people sign online petition against proposed uranium mine at Kyzyl-Ompul

‒ Cleanup to start at two uranium legacy sites in Kyrgyzstan

‒ Hundreds join march from Balykchy to Bishkek to protest against proposed uranium mine

‒ More than 300 people gather for protest at proposed Tash-Bulak uranium mine site

‒ Chhattisgarh chief minister categorically opposes uranium mining in his state

‒ Kyrgyzstan issued 20 uranium prospection and exploration licenses, so far


‒ Paladin acting big: mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine discharged over 1.1 billion cubic metres of treated water into Sere River, according to 2018 Sustainability Report

‒ Paladin to sell its interest in mothballed Kayelekera uranium mine

‒ New Mines and Minerals law for Malawi


‒ Rio Tinto completes sale of its stake in Roessing Uranium Limited share

‒ China to fund construction of new SWAPO headquarters in exchange for uranium prospection licenses

‒ Upon sale to CNNC, Roessing uranium mine life 'potentially' to be extended beyond 2025

‒ Decommissioning fund for Roessing uranium mine currently holds 54% of amount required

‒ Swakop Uranium agrees to some of Husab uranium mine workers' safety demands

‒ Husab mine operations halted after protests against negligent handling of explosives


‒ Orano's Akouta uranium mine to be closed in 2021

‒ Additional deposits included in Madaouela mining permit without requirement for new environmental assessment

‒ Foundation stone laid for Madaouela uranium mine

Solar power for proposed Madaouela uranium mine?


‒ Presidential Council on Human Rights concerned about storage of depleted uranium hexafluoride in open air at Angarsk

‒ Moscow residents hold protest against road construction through tailings dump on bank of Moskva River


‒ National Court dismisses appeal against authorization for Retortillo uranium mine project

> Students from eight European countries protest in Retortillo against the uranium mine project

> Protesters hold road blockade to demand termination of Retortillo uranium mine project

> Berkeley obtains permit for extension of uranium exploration around Ciudad Rodrigo

> Miner Berkeley appeals to Spain's Supreme Court over nuclear watchdog nominees

> Spain-Portugal cross-border human chain held against Retortillo uranium mine project

‒ Bush fire near closed Quercus uranium mill

‒ More than 13,000 signatures against uranium exploration in area of former Cabra Alta mine

> 1,500 demonstrate against uranium exploration in area of former Cabra Alta mine

> Exploration authorization suspended for area of former Cabra Alta uranium mine


‒ Aura Energy lodges compensation claim for loss of Haeggaan mining project due to Sweden's uranium ban

United States:

‒ U.S. EPA reaches agreement with three mining companies to investigate impacts and possible remedies of groundwater contamination at San Mateo Creek Basin Site in New Mexico

‒ Centrus Energy signs contract with U.S. DOE for demonstration of high assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production at American Centrifuge enrichment plant (Ohio). [A military project dressed up as a contribution to the development of 'advanced' power reactors ‒ NM.]

> U.S. DOE contracts Centrus Energy subsidiary for HALEU fuel fabrication system

> Groups raise concern over proliferation hazard from Urenco USA's High assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) project (New Mexico)

‒ U.S. House of Representatives passes bill for permanent uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon

> Groups call for closure of Canyon mine due to groundwater pollution hazard resulting from ongoing flooding (Arizona)

> Bill for permanent uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon passes House committee

> Tribal leaders, lawmakers push bill for permanent mining ban near Grand Canyon

> U.S. Supreme Court denies review for Canyon uranium mine near Grand Canyon

‒ U.S. Army Installation Command requests relaxation of environmental monitoring requirements for depleted uranium munitions test areas

> U.S. NRC approves 20-year deferral of decommissioning of DU munitions test area at Jefferson Proving Ground (Indiana)

> U.S. NRC issues Environmental Assessment on proposed 20-year deferral of decommissioning of DU munitions test area at Jefferson Proving Ground

> Utah Governor quietly allows bill that loosens state restrictions on accepting depleted uranium for disposal to become law without his signature

> Utah lawmakers finally approve bill that loosens state restrictions on accepting depleted uranium for disposal; groups ask governor for veto

‒ U.S. NRC denies 25% reduction of financial surety for Grants uranium mill tailings site (New Mexico)

> 12,000 gallon spill of brine from evaporation pond at Grants uranium mill tailings site

> 'Unauthorized release of impacted water' from collection pond at Grants uranium mill tailings site

> Tighter standard warranted for uranium in groundwater at Grants uranium mill tailings site, review of EPA report finds

‒ US$125 million settlement announced for cleanup of Nuclear Metals/Starmet DU munitions facility site in Concord (Massachusetts)

‒ Study finds uranium in Navajo women, babies

> U.S. EPA to award $220 million for uranium mine cleanup on Navajo Nation (New Mexico)

> Navajo sign national research agreement for study on effects of environmental exposure to uranium on babies (Arizona)

> U.S. EPA funds study on impacts of abandoned uranium mines on air quality in Cove, Arizona

‒ Positive results announced for Preliminary Economic Assessment of Charlie uranium project, based on uranium sales price 2.5 times current levels (Wyoming)

‒ Failure of criticality alarm system in downblending station for High-Enrichment Uranium at NFS Erwin nuclear fuel plant (Tennessee)

‒ Security violation at Urenco USA enrichment plant (New Mexico)

> Lunchbox-based security breach incident at Urenco USA enrichment plant

> U.S. NRC identifies violation at Urenco USA enrichment plant in connection with dropped cylinder containing enriched uranium

‒ Wyoming DEQ invites comment on Western Nuclear's request for 6-fold increase of selenium standard in groundwater at Split Rock uranium mill site (Wyoming)

‒ Arco demands jury trial over cleanup liability for former Jackpile uranium mine site (New Mexico)

‒ 'Unplanned' surface contamination found on heeled UF6 cylinders received at Framatome Richland nuclear fuel plant (Washington)

‒ U.S. NRC issues final interim staff guidance for conducting the Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act for uranium recovery licensing actions

> Wyoming DEQ invites comment on Western Nuclear's request for 7-fold increase of nitrate standard in groundwater at Split Rock uranium mill site

> U.S. NRC investigation identifies apparent violation involving submission of inaccurate and incomplete information on groundwater situation at Split Rock uranium mill site

‒ CDPHE approves Removal Site Evaluation Work Plan for Trichloroethene in Groundwater and Soil at former Canon City uranium mill site (Colorado)

> CDPHE invites comment on Removal Site Evaluation Work Plan for Trichloroethene in Groundwater and Soil at former Canon City uranium mill site

‒ U.S. NRC identifies undisclosed safety violation at BWXT Lynchburg nuclear fuel plant (Virginia)

> U.S. NRC identifies violation of criticality safety procedures at BWXT Lynchburg nuclear fuel plant

‒ More than 100 vicinity properties may still contain uranium mill tailings at Durango (Colorado)

‒ Court orders closure and cleanup of Van 4 uranium mine that went idle 30 years ago (Colorado)

‒ Uranium-laden water leaks from refuse container at Westinghouse Electric Co. Columbia nuclear fuel plant (South Carolina)

> Citizens frustrated, distrusting after Westinghouse cleans up uranium contamination at Columbia nuclear fuel plant

> Groundwater not contaminated from uranium leak through floor of WEC Columbia nuclear fuel plant

> Workers at Westinghouse Electric Co. Columbia nuclear fuel plant still receive individual radiation doses twice average

> Violation of criticality rules at WEC Columbia nuclear fuel plant

> Waste drum damaged due to over pressurization at Westinghouse Electric Co. Columbia nuclear fuel plant

‒ County health commissioner holds public forum on neptunium found in air at school near decommissioning Portsmouth enrichment plant (Ohio)

> School closed for suspected contamination from nearby decommissioning Portsmouth enrichment plant

> No unusual radioactive material found at school closed for fear of contamination from nearby decommissioning Portsmouth enrichment plant

‒ U.S. President declines to set U.S. uranium production quotas, orders further review

‒ Natural flushing of contaminated aquifer at former Riverton uranium mill site might not be accomplished in 100-year regulatory time frame (Wyoming)

‒ Supreme Court upholds Virginia's ban on uranium mining

‒ Even improved groundwater remediation unlikely to meet remediation goal at former Monticello uranium mill tailings site (Utah)

‒ U.S. DOE to repair stream bank near Canonsburg uranium mill tailings disposal cell (Pennsylvania)

> No cancer cluster around former Canonsburg radium and uranium plant, study finds

> Uranium concentrations in groundwater at Canonsburg uranium mill tailings site don't decrease as expected

‒ Protest march to White Mesa uranium mill (Utah)

‒ Utah DEQ wants improvements for cover of reclaimed Lisbon Valley uranium mill tailings

‒ Utah DEQ issues Notice of Violation for failures at idle Shootaring Canyon uranium mill

‒ NX Uranium Inc. gives up on uranium, repositions itself in the cannibis industry, and renames itself Rogue Station Companies. "The Company's Board of Directors believes this name change more accurately reflects its planned activities in cannabis-oriented businesses." (Utah)

‒ U.S. NRC staff concurs with DOE's request for 'supplemental standards' rather than cleanup of road and trail near Moab uranium mill tailings site (Utah)

> 60% of Moab uranium mill tailings relocated at 10th anniversary of first shipment

‒ Presence of Technetium-99 complicates groundwater cleanup at former Kerr-McGee Cimarron nuclear fuel plant (Oklahoma)

‒ Uranium One requests five-year interim stabilization for Christensen Ranch in situ leach uranium mine site (Wyoming)

‒ U.S. NRC Board grants evidentiary hearing on stalled survey of historic, cultural, and religious sites for Dewey-Burdock in situ leach uranium mine project (South Dakota)

> In spite of appeals court ruling, U.S. NRC leaves disputed license for Dewey Burdock in situ leach uranium mine project in place

‒ U.S. uranium production reaches historic low

‒ Funding sought to speed up cleanup of Niagara Falls Storage Site (New York)

‒ Lawsuit filed against changes to U.S. DOE worker compensation program

‒ Bill again re-introduced in U.S. Congress to amend Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

‒ Uranium plumes in groundwater extending beyond Bluewater uranium mill tailings site remain unchanged, DOE report finds (New Mexico)

‒ Cameco abandons Three Crow Expansion project of Crow Butte uranium in situ leach mine (Nebraska)

‒ U.S. NRC announces opportunity to request a hearing and to petition for leave to intervene on proposal to place mine waste repository on top of reclaimed Church Rock uranium mill tailings deposit (New Mexico)

> U.S. NRC invites comments on scoping for EIS on proposal to place mine waste repository on top of reclaimed Church Rock uranium mill tailings deposit

‒ Newmont Mining requests relaxed radiation cleanup standards at former Midnite uranium mine (Washington)

‒ U.S. EPA releases Phase 2 Groundwater Investigation report for San Mateo Creek Basin Legacy Uranium Mines Site (New Mexico)

‒ U.S. NRC approves Framatome's requests to postpone decommissioning of Uranyl-nitrate storage building at Richland nuclear fuel plant (Washington)

‒ Bills introduced in South Dakota Legislative Assembly to allow people in areas impacted by mining to have a voice in the water permitting process

‒ Umetco applies for reduction of groundwater monitoring at former Gas Hills uranium mill site (Wyoming)

> Interim stabilization of ANC Gas Hills uranium mill tailings completed - unresolved issues remain

‒ Bill introduced in Colorado Assembly to protect water quality from adverse mining impacts

‒ U.S. NRC requests views on whether to resume rulemaking on ground water protection at uranium in situ recovery facilities

‒ Depressions on cover of Mexican Hat uranium mill tailings disposal cell assumed to be result of precipitation-induced erosion (Utah)

‒ U.S. NRC notes violation of criticality safety requirements at NFS Erwin nuclear fuel plant (Tennessee)

‒ DNR demands corrective action on radiation hazard from stockpile at idle Sunday mine (Colorado)

‒ Wyoming uranium mining industry makes plea for 15-year tax break

‒ U.S. DOE wants to end groundwater remediation by active pumping at Shiprock uranium mill tailings site although remediation goals not met (New Mexico)


‒ Czech Republic: Project for municipal and industrial waste collection center on Mydlovary uranium mill tailings site stopped; reclamation to be completed by 2024

‒ Former Czech state uranium miner now turns to lithium

‒ Groups demand halt of nuclear fuel exports from Framatome Lingen plant to Doel nuclear power plants (Belgium), after European Court ruled that prolonging life of the ailing reactors infringed European law

‒ Sellafield Ltd fined GBP 380,000 for safety breaches leading to worker contamination with plutonium (UK)

‒ Tails de-conversion plant at Urenco Capenhurst site completed four years late at costs of almost GBP 1 billion ‒ 2.5 times initial estimate (UK)

‒ Silex and Cameco to acquire GE-Hitachi's stake in GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC

‒ Will your next hard disk be made of a uranium compound?

‒ Lung cancer risk for uranium miners confirmed even for low radon exposures

‒ Rebels take control of mining town Bakouma in Central African Republic

‒ Jordan to train Saudis on uranium mining

‒ Regional Court upholds Ministry's rejection of further uranium exploration at Kuriskova site (Slovakia)

‒ Positive feasibility study announced for Tiris uranium mine project, assuming uranium sales price at least twice current prices (Mauritania)

‒ Heap leach pilot plant planned for Central Jordan uranium project

‒ Nuclear bill introduced in Nepal parliament to regulate uranium mining and processing

‒ Non-proliferation experts raise concern over lack of scrutiny on uneconomical projects, such as by-product recovery of uranium from phosphate, in UNECE's proposal on 'Redesigning the Uranium Resource Pathway'

‒ Group initiates referendum against proposed uranium mine in Western-Mecsek Landscape Protection Area (Hungary)

‒ Cleanup of Kamianske uranium mill tailings still stuck by insufficient allocation of funds and improper use of those allocated (Ukraine)

‒ Kazatomprom plans 20% cut to uranium production in 2019 (Kazakhstan)