powertechexposed.com home

NRC staff release questionable estimates of document issuance dates for Dewey-Burdock project

Powertech securities filing diverges from NRC's estimates

Posted July 10, 2011, Updated July 20, 2011


In the July 1 monthly status report to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, NRC staff put forth a questionable schedule for issuance of environmental documents for Powertech's Dewey-Burdock project.  Powertech has applied to the agency for a Source Material License that would allow in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mining at the South Dakota site. 

Prior to issuing a license, the NRC is required to issue both a draft and a final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed project.  In the July 1 report, NRC staff estimate that a draft SEIS will be issued by April 2012, and a final SEIS will follow five months later in September.

Curiously, three other proposed ISL mine applications currently being reviewed by the NRC have SEIS issuance schedules that are significantly longer than the estimate for Dewey-Burdock.  The three projects, Lost Creek, Nichols Ranch, and Ross, are all located in Wyoming.  The final SEIS for Nichols Ranch was issued on January 24, 2011, thirteen months after the draft SEIS was published (the Source Material License was issued on July 20).  The final SEIS for Lost Creek was issued on June 17, 2011, eighteen months after the draft was released.  The estimated time between issuance of the draft and final SEIS for Ross is twelve months. 

The NRC has not explained why it thinks the SEIS process will be so much shorter for Dewey-Burdock than for the three Wyoming projects.  This is especially baffling since the Wyoming projects appear to be relatively noncontroversial whereas Dewey-Burdock has met with vociferous opposition.  Since public comment is taken on a draft SEIS and must be addressed in a final SEIS, one would expect that a highly controversial project such as Dewey-Burdock would actually take longer from draft to final SEIS.

Adding further to the confusion is the fact that the NRC's website includes a schedule for the project that conflicts with the July 1 staff report.  The website shows the draft and final SEIS release dates as "TBD" (to be determined).  This is understandable since the NRC has recently suspended its review of the Dewey-Burdock application.  But it is unclear why the agency's July 1 report contains such a compressed schedule and why the schedule in the report is different than the one on the NRC's website. 

Powertech's June 10 Management Discusssion and Analysis (MD&A) filed with securities regulators tells investors that the NRC is expected to provide a draft SEIS "in late 2011 or early 2012".  This statement appears to be inaccurate since there is no evidence that the NRC expects to issue a draft SEIS before April 2012.

(CEO Dick Clement signed and filed a "Certification of interim filings" attesting that the MD&A does not contain any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state a material fact required to be stated or that is necessary to make a statement not misleading.)

The MD&A goes on to say a final SEIS is "expected in the second half of 2012" and that the license from the NRC is "expected to follow thereafter".  But based on the NRC's estimates for the three Wyoming ISL projects, and the anticipated participation of project opponents in the SEIS process, the issuance date for a final SEIS could easily be pushed into mid 2013 or even early 2014.



Monthly Status Report specifying NRC staff's best estimate of issuance dates for draft and final documents associated with its review of Powertech's Dewey-Burdock application - Patricia Jehle, Counsel for NRC staff - July 1, 2011 (PDF 259 KB, 6 pages)  

NRC Application Review Schedule - Dewey Burdock (PDF 20 KB, 1 page)

NRC Application Review Schedule - Lost Creek

NRC Application Review Schedule - Nichols Ranch

NRC Application Review Schedule - Ross

POWERTECH URANIUM CORP. (An Exploration Stage Company) - MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS - June 10, 2011 (PDF 156 KB, 22 pages)

Form 52-109F2 Certification of interim filings - full certificate - Richard F. Clement, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and President, Powertech Uranium Corp. - June 10, 2011 (PDF 14 KB, 2 pages)