U-mine down temporarily after spill

Sep 10, 2017 From wire reports

CHEYENNE (AP) -- A Wyoming uranium mine halted some operations following two spills of water tainted with relatively low levels of the radioactive element.

The spills happened at Ur-Energy's Lost Creek mine 70 miles (43 kilometers) northeast of Rock Springs. A more than 200,000-gallon (757,000-liter) spill Aug. 18, followed by a 10,000-gallon (38,000-liter) spill Tuesday, prompted Littleton, Colorado-based Ur-Energy to partially halt operations. The bigger spill was one of the biggest on record in the industry.

Workers shut down part of the mine unit where the spills occurred so equipment could be inspected, company officials told Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality regulators in an email on file with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and posted by the NRC online.

The water contained relatively low levels of uranium, federal and state regulators said Friday.

"The level of activity is very low and would not be a danger to public health and safety and both spills were contained on site," NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said.

How long the equipment was to be shut down while Ur-Energy officials investigated the ruptured pipes that caused both spills was unknown. The bigger spill flowed about 350 yards (meters) though workers were able to recover 3,200 gallons (12,100 liters) with a vacuum truck.

Lost Creek is an in-situ mine made up of a network of wells scattered across mostly federal land in the remote high desert.

The shutdown is expected to be short-term, although company officials would not comment specifically.

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