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Dewey-Burdock Uranium Project - Edgemont, South Dakota

Email from Randy Brich, Diamond B Communications LLC to Haimanot Yilma, Project Manager-U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding public outreach for the Dewey-Burdock uranium project - March 10, 2010 (PDF 46 KB, 1 page)  This email, released by the NRC on January 3, 2011, is from Randy Brich, Powertech's media consultant and the brother-in-law of South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds (whose term ends this month).  Brich asks "if there is any NRC guidance or suggestions on what prospective licensees should be doing in terms of public outreach, including tribal governments."  In line with Powertech's minimalist approach to public relations and consultation with stakeholders, Brich says Powertech officials "are wondering if the Draft Supplemental EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) that NRC is preparing satisfies all the public outreach goals for the project."  Brich has been the sole media and public relations contractor working for Powertech since longtime Denver PR guy Pete Webb quit after a short stint in 2007-2008.

Comments from the Town of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Dewey-Burdock uranium project - Brian Besco, Water Operator - Town of Buffalo Gap - February 3, 2010 (PDF 27 KB, 1 page)  The Town of Buffalo Gap is about thirty miles northeast of Edgemont.  In this email to the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the town board expresses its opposition to the proposed uranium project.

"Uranium and nuclear experts speaking in Virginia" - Staff report - GoDanRiver.com - September 14, 2010 (PDF 11 KB, 1 page)    Dewey-Burdock Project Manager Mark Hollenbeck will be traveling to Virginia later this month to discuss "the future of nuclear power in Virginia."  Hollenbeck is described as a "uranium mining expert", but his experience in this field appears to be limited to doing primarily public relations work for Powertech, a company that has never mined uranium.  Hollenbeck is a cattle rancher, an engineer, and the former mayor of Edgemont, South Dakota (population 800).  His most infamous quote is that in-situ leach uranium mining is "like a water clean up project."


Response by the South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources to Powertech's proposed groundwater discharge monitoring plan - Matt Hicks, Senior Hydrologist - Ground Water Quality Program - August 11, 2010 (PDF 154 KB, 3 pages)  Powertech did its usual bang up job drafting a plan to monitor its proposed land application wastewater disposal operations for the Dewey-Burdock project.  Hydrologist Hicks points out that the monitoring wells are too deep and too far away from the land application areas, there is no baseline monitoring plan, there is no plan to mitigate possible arsenic and selenium accumulation in vegetation, the submitted map is difficult to correlate to the plan, and Powertech is not correctly reading the relevant regulations.


Underground Injection Control Permit Application for Class V Disposal Wells - Dewey-Burdock Uranium Project - Powertech (USA), Inc. - March 2010  This EPA permit application for deep disposal wells was not publicly available online until the full application was posted on the NRC's ADAMS site on September 13, 2010.  Typically, ISL uranium mines use Class I deep disposal wells to inject radioactive wastewater into aquifers that are below any aquifers that are used or may be used for drinking water.  South Dakota prohibits Class I injection wells.  As a result, Powertech proposes to treat such wastewater to bring levels of radionuclides down to federal standards.  The application does not say how Powertech intends to do this.  Also, Powertech claims the aquifers targeted for injection are not expected to qualify as underground sources of drinking water (USDW) because of their expected high concentrations of total dissolved solids.  The application reveals that, since the proposed disposal wells have not yet been drilled, water quality samples have not been tested to verify this claim.


Letter from Richard Blubaugh transmitting Powertech's revised Class III Underground Injection Control permit application to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and responding to completeness issues raised in the DENR's August 6, 2009 letter rejecting Powertech's original application - February 4, 2010 (PDF 1,062 KB, 18 pages)


News story - "Powertech revising uranium mining permit applications" - Steve Miller, Rapid City Journal - October 3, 2009  Note: This article covers the problems Powertech has had with two of their permit applications for the Dewey-Burdock ISL uranium project near Edgemont, South Dakota.  Both of the permit applications (to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources) were found to have numerous material deficiencies.  Powertech purchased the Dewey-Burdock uranium leases in May 2006.  Four months later, the company purchased the uranium mineral rights for the Centennial uranium project near Nunn and Fort Collins, Colorado.  In the three years since Powertech announced the projects, the company has had only two permit applications accepted for technical review by permitting agencies, both for the Dewey-Burdock project (no permits have been issued).  No permit applications have been filed for the Centennial project, and it is unlikely that any will be submitted before spring 2010.  (Updated and corrected December 5, 2009)


Letter from the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources notifying Powertech (USA) Inc. that its application for a Class III Underground Injection Control permit for the Dewey-Burdock ISL uranium project has been determined to be incomplete, stating "the application lacks sufficient detail to address fundamental questions related to whether the project can be conducted in a controlled manner to protect ground water resources."  August 6, 2009  (PDF 2,451 KB)  This 41 page response to Powertech's permit application is a scathing critique of the company's proposed approach to in-situ mining in the Inyan Kara Aquifer Group near Edgemont, South Dakota.  As detailed in the SD DENR's response, the permit application is vague and non-specific, omits large amounts of critical data, and contains dozens of typographical, spelling, grammatical, and other errors. 


News Release - "Powertech to Submit Updated Technical Reports" - Powertech Uranium Corp. - May 7, 2009 (PDF 139 KB)  Note: The British Columbia Securities Commission is reviewing Powertech's securities filings and press releases, and has determined that the company's 2008 Annual Information Form does not comply with regulations regarding disclosure.  The BCSC also required Powertech to disclose that it has not conducted independent preliminary feasibility studies for either the Centennial or Dewey-Burdock projects.


Abstract - "In Situ Recovery of Uranium: Regulatory Status and Economic Benefits", a presentation by Mark Hollenbeck - Dewey Burdock Project Manager, Powertech (USA), Inc. to the 2009 Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference - April 23, 2009  (PDF 28 KB)  Note: This promotional pitch for the Dewey Burdock uranium project was given at a scientific conference partially supported by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Hollenbeck claims that the permitting application process for the project is "nearly finished".  Permit applications were submitted to the EPA and the NRC in early 2009, and a Large Scale Mine Permit application has yet to be submitted to the South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources.


News release announcing April 20, 2009 hearing before the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment regarding Powertech's survey of archeological, historical, and cultural resources at the Dewey-Burdock uranium mining site - Defenders of the Black Hills - March 25, 2009 (PDF 39 KB)


Powertech (USA) Inc. Dewey-Burdock Project Underground Injection Control Permit Application - Prepared for U.S. EPA Region 8 - December 2008 - Released March 2, 2009


Dewey-Burdock UIC Permit Communication Plan - Valois Shea, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - February 18, 2009 (PDF 25 KB)


Letter from Steven Pratt, USEPA Region 8 to Powertech affirming administrative completeness of UIC permit application for Dewey-Burdock Project - February 17, 2009 (PDF 72 KB)


Letter from Lilias Jarding, PhD, to the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment, addressing impacts from Powertech's proposed Dewey-Burdock ISL uranium mine on archeological, cultural, and historic resources, and detailing environmental impacts from other ISL mining operations - February 16, 2009 (PDF 5,099 KB)


Email from Steven Pratt, Groundwater Program Director - USEPA Region 8, to Sarah Fields, Program Director - Uranium Watch, regarding UIC permit application for Powertech's Dewey Burdock project - February 3, 2009