Sarah M. Fields wrote a letter to the Virginia General Assembly back in January of 2012. She is with Uranium Watch out of Moab, Utah. Her letter was written to give the legislators a fuller perspective regarding uranium mining and milling.
She addresses many of the facets of the mining and milling process and why this is dangerous particularly in our extremely wet environment — with the potential for extreme weather events. Read the whole letter.
Another factor in the life cycle of a uranium mine or mill is the possibility for the mill to be placed on standby for long periods of time, due to fluctuations in the price of uranium. In Utah, the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill has been on standby for 30 years. Energy Fuels recently announced that 3 of their permitted Utah uranium mines would be in non-operational status by the end of 2012, adding to 4 non-operational mines in Utah and several in Colorado. Some of the permitted Energy Fuels mines had been non-operational for 10 to 20 years. During non-operation no reclamation work was done and hazardous conditions existed at the essentially unregulated mine sites.