Wyoming raises environmental concerns about Cameco

CBC reports that the State of Wyoming is raising environmental concerns about a uranium mine run by Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp.

The Smith Ranch-Highland facility, near Douglas, Wyo., is the largest active uranium mine in the United States, producing about two million pounds last year.

But the state regulator says the mine has had about 80 spills and it wants the facility’s environmental problems fixed immediately.

Cameco spokesman Gord Struthers said 80 spills might sound terrible, but the spills weren’t dangerous.

“We need to point out that in none of them is there any threat to human health or any lasting environmental effect,” Struthers said.

Some of the spills at Cameco’s mine contained contaminated production fluids, state environmental quality official Don McKenzie said.

“You know that contains uranium, as well as radium, selenium, for example. So we certainly don’t consider that to be a benign fluid that’s entered into the environment,” McKenzie said.

Spills are not the only thing of concern to the state.

Cameco is behind on its promise to clean up parts of the mine, McKenzie said.

“Frankly, you know, we need to reassess what we are doing at these facilities,” he said.

State regulators will meet with officials from Cameco on April 24.

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