Smith-Highland Ranch

United States | Wyoming : Cameco


This case is drawn from the Earthworks report:Nuclear Power's Other Tragedy: Communities Living with Uranium Mining

Nearly every uranium operation studied in this report had environmental and/or labor violations. The following case studies -- taken from our publication, Nuclear Power's Other Tragedy: Communities Living with Uranium Mining -- highlight some of the most controversial uranium projects in the United States.

Power Resources Corporation, owned by Cameco, owns and operates the Smith Ranch and Highland ISL facilities in Converse County, Wyoming. Together, the facilities form the largest uranium production facility in the United States.

In 2006, Cameco Corporation received certification under the ISO 14001:2004 program, one of the most internationally recognized standards for environmental management. The certificate was awarded to Cameco for its excellence in environmental protection and implementation of “best practice” environmental management system at its Smith-Highland facilities.[1]

Just over a year later, the Wyoming DEQ slammed Smith-Highland Ranch with several environmental violations.

In July 2008, Cameco agreed to pay a total of $1.4 million in fees to the WDEQ and state for the numerous violations.[4]

The Smith-Highland Ranch is not only an example of the potential environmental hazards associated with ISL operations, but also the poor oversight of ISL projects in Wyoming. ISL production of uranium is the primary method of uranium extraction today, and the DEQ should have stronger oversight over these operations.

For more information:

  1. Cameco Corporation. Smith Ranch-Highland Uranium Mine Receives ISO 14001:2004 Certification. June 1, 2006. Accessed 10/28/10.
  2. Summary: Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Notice of Violation to Power Resources, Inc. Prepared by Lilias Jarding Ph.D.
  3. DEQ needs to ensure uranium mine oversight. Star-Tribune Editorial Board. April 08, 2008. Accessed 11/02/10.
  4. “Uranium mine to pay $1.4 million settlement”. Star-Tribune. Dustin Bleizeffer. July 10, 2008.

Tagged with: wyoming, uranium

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