American Nuclear Corporation
1.0 Site Identification
|Type of Site:
||Uranium Recovery Facility
||Possession Only License
2.0 Site Status Summary
The ANC site is located in the Gas Hills region in eastern Fremont County, Wyoming (Figure 1). The Gas Hills is a remote, sparsely populated, rural region in Wyoming with the nearest population center (Riverton, Wyoming) approximately 45 miles (72.4 kilometers) west-northwest of the site. The site occupies approximately 550 acres (222 hectares) that were used for uranium mining and milling activities between 1959 and 1981. The ANC suspended milling activities in 1981 due to poor uranium market conditions and began the decommissioning process. Two tailings impoundments, totaling approximately 120 acres (49 hectares), are located on the site. Some decommissioning and stabilization of the impoundments have been completed, but neither impoundment has been decommissioned to the requirements in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 40, Appendix A. Approximately 130 acres (53 hectares) of the site may contain contaminated soil in excess of the Appendix A criteria that will need to be collected and emplaced in the tailings impoundments. In addition, isolated “hot spots” on or near the site have been identified. Due to the remote nature of the site, these concerns do not appear to pose an immediate threat to the public health and safety. Groundwater contamination, as a result of mill activities, is present on and off-site, however, it does not pose an immediate threat to public health and safety at this time because groundwater is not a current source of drinking water in this area.
Figure 1: American Nuclear Corporation Uranium Mill Site Location Map
On May 9, 1994 ANC notified the NRC that it was ceasing operations and going out of business, which would forfeit its $3.2 million (M) surety reclamation performance bond to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ). In July 1994, the WDEQ informed the NRC that it was prepared to undertake decommissioning of the site.
Since 1994 the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has been performing limited decommissioning of the site pursuant to the October 1996 Confirmatory Order which outlines the WDEQ’s responsibilities for decommissioning of the site. Specifically, the WDEQ completed placement of an interim cover on Tailings Pond No.1, removed windblown tailings, and performed limited decommissioning and capping of Tailings Pond No. 2 and ground water monitoring.
In May 2016, the WDEQ requested that the NRC revise the Confirmatory Order to redirect the WDEQ's efforts at the site from collecting ground water samples to temporarily stabilizing the site and providing surface diversions. Between May and September 2016, the NRC staff and WDEQ staff discussed the revision to the Confirmatory Order, and, by November 2016, both parties agreed on the terms of the revised Confirmatory Order. The NRC subsequently revised the Confirmatory Order in January 2017 directing the WDEQ to use the remaining decommissioning funds to stabilize those areas of the site that have deteriorated and to improve the tailings pile cover to prevent both additional recharge of contaminants to ground water and erosion. WDEQ completed the interim stabilization activities in the Spring of 2019 and the NRC terminated the Confirmatory Order in April 2020. All funds from the forfeited surety bond have been exhausted by WDEQ in completing the interim stabilization activities.
Figure 2: Drawing from Lindstone and Associates ANC TP-1 Interim Stabilization Plan Site Overview
3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues
The licensee is insolvent and funds are not available to complete decommissioning of the site. NRC is assessing funding options.
4.0 Estimated Date for Closure
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, March 14, 2022