By Monte Whaley
The Denver Post
February 14, 2008
A Larimer County study of uranium mining refuses to say whether a proposed uranium operation in neighboring Weld County is dangerous, citing a lack of information about the project.
The report, prepared by the Larimer County Environmental Advisory Board, lays out the potential risks of uranium extraction, including soil, water and air pollution.
But without specific facts about proposed mining activity in Nunn in eastern rural Weld, the board could not make a judgment call, said board chairman Dale Lockwood.
"We just can't at the moment," Lockwood said. "We don't have a good way to quantify the risk."
Local, state and federal lawmakers have qualms about the plan by Powertech Uranium Corp. to extract more than 4,750 tons of uranium to help feed the increasing demand for nuclear power.
Powertech, a Canadian firm, has yet to apply for a permit to begin the mining. The company is conducting exploratory digging near Nunn.
Residents there have formed a citizens group to try to block Power tech's efforts, saying the mining could lead to contamination of their land, air and water.
Powertech officials say they will probably use an in-situ mining process, where treated water is pumped under high pressure to extract uranium ore from underground deposits. This approach, they say, will be less environmentally damaging.
Still, the report said, in-situ mining can hurt the environment, with water contamination being the most serious risk. But without baseline information about the Nunn project, "the probabilities of any of these risks at a proposed site in Colorado remain unknown," the report said.
Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907 or