What are the potential environmental impacts from storage of depleted uranium as an oxide?
Storage as an oxide could result in potential adverse impacts to air, water, and soil quality as a result of construction activities. Potential air quality impacts would be from particulate matter generated during construction; such impacts could be controlled by good construction practices. Also, construction activities have the potential to result in surface water, groundwater, or soil contamination through spills of construction chemicals. However, by following good engineering practices, concentrations in soil and wastewater (and therefore surface water and groundwater) could be kept well within applicable standards or guidelines.
Long-term storage as oxide could require excavation of large quantities of soil and rock, if subsurface storage was selected as the preferred option. Impacts from the excavated materials could be mitigated by contouring and reseeding, or by trucking the excavated material off-site. Additionally, long-term storage as an oxide could require a relatively large land area, ranging from 80 acres for storage as UO2 in a mine up to 260 acres for storage as U3O8 in a vault.
No other adverse impacts from storage were identified for the areas evaluated. Socioeconomic impacts are evaluated in terms of jobs and income generated, which are considered positive impacts. Long-term storage as oxide was estimated to result in about 200 to 500 direct jobs and the generation of about $9 to $25 million in direct income per operational year.
(For more details on the environmental risks from storage, see also Section 2.4 and Appendix G of the PEIS.)
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