Cotter Uranium Mill - Cañon City

1.0 General Site Information

Site Location: Cañon City, CO
Agreement State License Number: CO 369-01
Agreement State Contact: Shiya Wang Shiya.Wang@state.co.us
NRC Agreement State Site Monitor: Stephen Poy Stephen.Poy@nrc.gov
NRC Site Monitor: Thomas Lancaster Thomas.Lancaster@nrc.gov

2.0 Site Description

The site is a former uranium mill and consists of a former mill area, two impoundments (approximately 100 acres), ore storage pads, and a few office/lab/maintenance trailers, on approximately 2500 acres adjacent to Cañon City and the unincorporated community of Lincoln Park. The entire site is in Fremont County.

3.0 Site History

The site was licensed by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) under the Radioactive Materials License CO 369-01 (the License). The mill was operated continuously from 1958 until 1979, and intermittently since then; the last commercial milling operation was conducted in 2006. The site was owned by Cotter Corporation until early 2018. Past milling operations have contaminated the soils and groundwater in the surrounding areas. Therefore, the site and the adjacent Lincoln Park area were added to the National Priorities List in 1984 as the Cotter/Lincoln Park Superfund Site by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA divided the side into two "operable units," one being the sources of contamination on the mill site, such as the old ponds area and the other being the Lincoln Park neighborhood (off-site impacts). Cleanup activities have focused on eliminating the mill site as a source of contamination to Lincoln Park, and eliminating exposures to Lincoln Park residents.

In 2012, the licensee officially announced decommissioning of the site and requested termination of the License. The License was amended in 2014 and changed from a milling license to a decommissioning license; this amendment removed the authorization for any further source material processing. On March 9, 2018, the License was transferred from Cotter Corporation to Colorado Legacy Land, LLC.

This site is dual regulated by the State of Colorado under the Agreement State authority and EPA under the Superfund authority. The site has also been under a Consent Decree (CD) issued by Colorado District Court since 1988. Since then, site remediation has been conducted in accordance with the requirements in the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) attached to the CD. In 2014, the licensee, EPA, and CDPHE entered into an Agreement on Consent that requires the site to be remediated following the Superfund processes, including completing Remediation Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS).

Cotter Mill & Vicinity Map from Colorado Legacy Land Website
Cotter Mill & Vicinity Map from Colorado Legacy Land Website

4.0 Current NRC actions/status

NRC currently has no actions for the Cotter Uranium Mill until the CRR is submitted by the State of Colorado.

5.0 Expected Transition to DOE for LTS&M

2047 (See DOE LM Site Management Guide, March 2022)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, May 19, 2022