Robert Bush 6:31 p.m., May 18
General Atomics Faces Yet Another Uranium Cleanup Fight
The New York Times has reported via the Greenwire news service that Rio Grande Resources Corp., a subsidiary of La Jolla-based General Atomics is stirring opposition in New Mexico with its plans to delay cleanup of its Mount Taylor uranium mine, which has been closed since 1990.
The mountain, which contains the nation's largest single deposit of the radioactive ore, is said to be viewed as sacred land by surrounding Native American tribes, the story says.
"More than 8 million pounds of "yellow cake" were produced from the mine before it was closed more than two decades ago due to plummeting uranium prices," according to the report.
"Rio Grande Resources, which acquired the mine from Chevron in 1991, estimates that more than 100 million pounds of uranium remain unplumbed."
Rio Grande critics testified at a hearing on the application to keep the mine in "standby status" held by the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division that a five year delay in remediation risked further contamination of the site, but backers said it would help the mine get back into operation.
"State Sen. David Ulibarri (D), who represents the city of Grants in the state legislature," the story says, "testified in favor of the standby permit renewal, which would allow the company to bring the mine back online quickly.
"'The mine has proved to be a safe site for many years,' he said, adding that reopening the mine has 'tremendous potential for bringing economic viability back' to western New Mexico."
As we've http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/jun/16/city-light-2/ ">previously reported, General Atomics, operated by San Diego brothers Neal and Linden Blue, also faces a fight in Colorado over the cleanup of an old uranium mill in that state.