Other Group

Uranium Watch

Website:

www.uraniumwatch.org

Location:

Monticello, UT

Type:

Environmental Advocacy

Program Director:

Sarah M. Fields

Expenses:

$6,980[i]

[i] Living Rivers, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Part III, Line 4C.

Formation:

2006

Uranium Watch is an environmental advocacy group that opposes uranium mining and milling in Western states, the expansion of nuclear power, and the transport and storage of nuclear waste. [1]

Uranium Watch was one of the organizations that worked successfully to prevent the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal facility in Nevada, and a founding member of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a group dedicated to preventing the opening of the Yucca Mountain. A study by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the Yucca Mountain site was environmentally sound, but a plan to open it was cancelled by the Trump administration in 2020. [2] [3] [4]

Background and People

Uranium Watch was established in 2006 as a project under the fiscal sponsorship of Living Rivers, an environmental group that advocates for reducing the damming of rivers in the western United States were most of the nation’s uranium milling is carried out. [5]

Sarah M. Fields is the program director for Uranium Watch. [6]

Activism Against Nuclear Waste Transport and Storage

Uranium Watch was a founding member of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a group dedicated to preventing the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal facility in Nevada. A proposal to open the Yucca Mountain facility was shelved in 2010 by President Barack Obama, but some elected officials and energy industry groups sought to revisit the proposal. In 2015, Uranium Watch and other opponents of the Yucca Mountain facility unveiled a “Stop Fukushima Freeways” campaign, alleging that the transport and storage of waste from nuclear power plants and other sites to Yucca Mountain risked an environmental disaster on the scale of the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. [7]

A study by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the Yucca Mountain site was environmentally sound,[8] but another plan to open Yucca Mountain was cancelled by the Trump administration in 2020. [9]

Uranium Watch was among several environmental groups that called on Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) in 2019 to pressure the federal government to halt interstate shipping of nuclear waste products through the state until protocols were developed to notify local authorities of the shipments. [10]

Activism Against Uranium Mining Industry

Uranium Watch has advocated for the closure of the White Mesa uranium mill in Utah, which processes mined uranium and is the last such mill in the United States. White Mesa is also used as a site to store waste from uranium mills and nuclear production sites throughout the western United States. Uranium Watch alleged the mill is at risk of contaminating groundwater used for drinking by the Southern Utes, a federally recognized Indian tribe, as well as other residents of southern Utah, and also is a source of potentially hazardous radon gas. [11] Uranium Watch criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for “regulatory confusion” and inaction, alleging that the White Mesa mill operates more waste impoundment sites than its current permit allows. [12]

Uranium Watch objected to President Donald Trump’s executive order reducing the size of the Bear Ears National Monument in Utah because of a concern this will open new lands up uranium mining and milling. [13] In 2020, Uranium Watch criticized a Trump administration proposal to spend $1.5 billion to subsidize uranium mining in the United States in order to build up the nation’s uranium stockpile and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of uranium. [14]

In 2008, Uranium Watch opposed the issuance of permits that would have allowed uranium mining and milling at a site in Green River, Utah. [15]

References

  1. “About Us.” Uranium Watch. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://uraniumwatch.org/aboutus.htm. ^
  2. James Conca. “Trump Rejects Yucca Mountain Nuke Dump In Bid For Nevada Votes.” Forbes. Feb. 10, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2020/02/10/trump-dumps-nevada-nuclear-dump-in-tweet/. ^
  3. “Editorial: Harry Reid vs Yucca Mountain.” Chicago Tribune. Oct. 31, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2020. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-yucca-nuclear-edit-1103-20141031-story.html. ^
  4. David DeMille. “Group fighting proposed revival of Yucca Mountain.” The Spectrum. Oct. 27, 2015. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/2015/10/27/group-fighting-proposed-revival-yucca-mountain/74708910/. ^
  5. “About Us.” Uranium Watch. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://uraniumwatch.org/aboutus.htm. ^
  6. “About Us.” Uranium Watch. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://uraniumwatch.org/aboutus.htm. ^
  7. David DeMille. “Group fighting proposed revival of Yucca Mountain.” The Spectrum. Oct. 27, 2015. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/2015/10/27/group-fighting-proposed-revival-yucca-mountain/74708910/. ^
  8. “Editorial: Harry Reid vs Yucca Mountain.” Chicago Tribune. Oct. 31, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2020. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-yucca-nuclear-edit-1103-20141031-story.html. ^
  9. James Conca. “Trump Rejects Yucca Mountain Nuke Dump In Bid For Nevada Votes.” Forbes. Feb. 10, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2020/02/10/trump-dumps-nevada-nuclear-dump-in-tweet/. ^
  10. Lee Davidson. “Environmental groups raise alarm over mislabeled nuclear waste shipments through Utah.” Salt Lake Tribune. July 29, 2019. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/07/29/environmental-groups/. ^
  11. Connor Richards. “Ute Tribe in Southern Utah Struggles Against America’s Last Uranium Mill.” Daily Utah Chronicle. July 27, 2017. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://dailyutahchronicle.com/2017/07/27/ute-tribe-in-southern-utah-struggles-against-americas-last-uranium-mill/. ^
  12. “Regulatory Confusion: Federal and State Enforcement of 40 C.F.R. Part 61 Subpart W.” Uranium Watch. July 20, 2013. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/uwreport-subpartw-regualtoryconfusion130720.pdf. ^
  13. Alastair Gee. “Former national monuments shrunk by Trump to be opened for mining claims.” The Guardian. Feb. 2, 2018. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/02/former-national-monuments-shrunk-by-trump-to-be-opened-for-mining-claims. ^
  14. Zak Podmore. “Trump administration plan could revive the uranium industry in Utah, raising concerns from conservationists.” Salt Lake Tribune. April 25, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/04/25/trump-administration-plan/. ^
  15. Stephen Speckman. “N-plant proposal fuels worries.” Deseret News. Aug. 24, 2008. Accessed on Westlaw (2008 WLNR 15997875) on May 12, 2020. ^
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Uranium Watch

P.O. Box 1306
Monticello, UT