User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

69° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.


[0] My Saved Articles
Back to all news


Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


NRC Panel Hears from Public On Edgemont Uranium Mine

August 18, 2014, 6:17 PM by Kevin Woster

NRC Panel Hears from Public On Edgemont Uranium Mine

A panel for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is in Rapid City this week for a three-day hearing on the licensing of a proposed uranium mine near Edgemont. But even before the hearing began, members of the panel traveled to Hot Springs, closer to the proposed mine, to take public comments on the controversial issue.

The NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel got a preview of some of the issues to be discussed during a public meeting at the civic center in Hot Springs.

The key issues for consideration by the panel are water-pollution worries by project opponents, contentions by Native Americans that cultural resources aren't being properly considered and protected, and whether geological data Powertech Uranium has from previous uranium operations in the Edgemont area should be made public.

But the panel got warmed up by listening to public opinions on the perceived benefits and threats of injecting a water solution deep underground to extract uranium, in a process similar to fracking. Opponents argue that groundwater pollution is virtually guaranteed.

Jim Petersen of Rapid City said that despite assurances from Powertech that important aquifers will be protected, the very process is full of opportunities for underground leaks.

"It's a toxic witch's brew of radio-nuclei and heavy metals that's going to drive down gradient, forever," Petersen said.

Petersen and other project foes worry that underground fissures and thousands of old test holes in the project area northwest of Edgemont will allow escaped pollutants to contaminate ground water supplies.

"That means this is going to contaminate potable water down gradient year after year, forever," Petersen said.

Powertech officials contend that aquifers to be most affected by the mining operation are already degraded by natural pollutants. They say "mining" system of injection-extraction wells maintains a pressure that contains the injection solution and the uranium and other potential contaminants to the well field.

Edgemont Mayor Carl Shaw says he has faith in government regulators, Powertech officials and modern-mining techniques to protect the groundwater supplies.

"I feel it's a safe project. They're doing the same thing in Nebraska and Wyoming," Shaw said. "I don't see why we can't do it in South Dakota."

Shaw also adds that Edgemont needs the economic boost the uranium mining could bring.

"It would greatly increase our tax base, bring more people into the community and help with our school district, city, even our county," he said.

Depending, of course, on what the NRC decides.

The NRC staff has given a tentative go-ahead to the project by issuing what amounts to a preliminary license. That has been contested by project opponents, who will make their arguments during the hearings this week.

The panel is expected to make its decision on the issue by mid-November. But that ruling could be appealed to the full NRC.

Previous Story

Next Story




View business

You may also like

Stacy Phelps Resigns From Board of Education

10/2/2015 3:14 PM

Phelps administered the GEAR UP program which prepared and encouraged Native American students to enroll into higher educaton.

Full Story
Sioux Falls Floral Shop Fills Special Order For Elton John

10/1/2015 4:48 PM

Sir Elton John will be surrounded by beautiful flowers during his stop in Sioux Falls.

Full Story
Mitchell Superintendent Defends 'Second Job'

10/5/2015 10:02 PM

Our KELOLAND News investigation revealed some of the problems surrounding the multimillion dollar GEAR UP grant that caused the state to end its partn...

Full Story | Watch
Following The GEAR UP Grant Money

9/29/2015 6:10 PM

Mid Central Educational Cooperative dispersed the grant money since 2005 to two organizations to run the GEAR UP program, under business manager Scott...

Full Story | Watch
Coffee Shop, Pizza Chain Both Opening In East Sioux Falls

10/2/2015 2:03 PM

Marco's Pizza filed a building permit to set up shop in a new stripmall on South Sycamore Avenue.

Full Story