U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Issues Uranium Mining Operating License in the Black Hills
On April 8th, 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an operating license to the Powertech Uranium Corp for its proposed uranium mine in the Black Hills. The move comes four months ahead of a public hearing scheduled to hear opposing voices to the proposed uranium mine.
The NRC said in a statement that a review “concluded the proposed facility can operate safely, including management of radiological and chemical hazards, groundwater protection, and eventual cleanup and decommissioning.”
The proposed uranium mine still needs final approval from the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment, the South Dakota Water Management Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before it can began mining uranium.
Powertech Uranium projects that the 17-square mile mine would yield 1-million pounds of uranium annually for up to 8 years.
The proposed uranium mine is opposed by area Tribes, ranchers, environmentalist and the Rapid City Council.
He Sapa, the Black Hills, is a sacred site to the Lakota and numerous other Western Tribes who have long gone to the area for ceremony, hunting game, harvesting medicines and for spiritual renewal. Despite the 1980 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Sioux Nation, that ruled the U.S. illegally stole the Black Hills from the Lakota, the U.S. has refused to return the lands to the Lakota and it remains a continued central source of conflict between the Lakota and the U.S. government.
Posted by: Matt Remle