DENVER — Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced today Cotter Corp. has notified the department of its decision to terminate its Cañon City Uranium Mill radioactive materials license.
The current license expires Jan. 31, 2012, and Cotter was faced with submitting a renewal application 30 days prior to that expiration date. Instead, Cotter now must submit a decommissioning plan and schedule as defined in the regulations.
“This is good news for the Cañon City community,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said. “We appreciate Cotter Corp.’s containment and cleanup efforts and look forward to the company’s continued involved in the community as remediation and decommissioning activities occur over the next 10 to 15 years.”
The decision not to seek licensure sets the mill on a course for closure. The Radiation Control Act requires decommissioned uranium mill sites to be thoroughly cleaned up and restored at the operator’s expense.
“A comprehensive, meaningful public involvement process will be followed for the license termination,” said Steve Tarlton, radioactive materials program manager for the department’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. “Through transparent and open communication, the state is committed to getting community input as the termination process moves forward.”
The current license conditions will remain in effect beyond the expiration date until the Department of Public Health and Environment notifies Cotter in writing that the license is terminated. No operations are allowed under the current license conditions and the termination process precludes restarting operations.
Specific documents required in the decommissioning plan must be submitted to the department and made available for public review and comment prior to any final approval. The documents include:
• An on-site conceptual characterization plan that describes how Cotter will address on-site and windblown soils, and on-site groundwater — due Dec. 19, 2011
• An impoundment reclamation plan that includes an alternative disposal analysis – due March 31, 2012
• A review and documentation of historic cleanup actions – due March 31, 2012
• A contaminated groundwater cleanup analysis – due Feb. 17, 2012
For more background and technical information about the Cotter Cañon City Uranium Mill, see: www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/cotter/licenseinfo.htm.