Energy Fuels’ (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) Little-Known Recycling Program Supports Clean Energy
- Energy Fuels is the largest uranium miner in the U.S., owns the White Mesa Mill, the only uranium mill operating in the country today
- The White Mesa Mill is the only facility in the U.S. capable of recycling alternate feed materials and recovering uranium that would otherwise be lost to disposal
- Since 1998 the White Mesa Mill has recycled enough uranium to replace the energy contained in a 4,700-mile coal train stretching from LA to NY — and over 90% of the way back again
Energy Fuels (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) is arguably one of the most environmentally responsible companies operating in the United States today. The company’s main business, uranium production, is “green,” as uranium is used to create fuel for zero-carbon, zero-emission, base-load nuclear energy. However, the company’s alternate-feed material recycling program flies much further under the radar — and this is the most sustainable aspect of Energy Fuels’ business.
In the simplest terms, alternate feeds are uranium-bearing materials that don’t come from uranium mines. They are often waste streams generated from nonuranium mines or a variety of other industrial activities. These materials would normally have to be disposed of permanently in low-level, radioactive-waste or similar disposal facilities. Instead, Energy Fuels is able to recycle alternate feeds and produce clean-energy resources.
Indeed, the White Mesa Mill is the only facility in the United States licensed and designed to recycle alternate-feed materials. Since 1998, the White Mesa Mill has recycled and recovered approximately 6 million pounds of uranium from alternate-feed materials and tailings recycling.
To provide some context around 6 million pounds of recycled uranium, consider the following:
- This is enough uranium to fuel more than 13 nuclear reactors for one year.
- This uranium would produce the same amount of electricity as nearly 50 million tons of coal, or enough coal to fill a train that stretches from Los Angeles to New York and almost all the way back again.
- This would fuel the same amount of annual electricity as over 24,500 wind turbines.
- The use of this recycle uranium eliminates over 85 million tons of CO2 emissions compared to coal, or the annual emissions of over 18 million passenger vehicles.
- The use of this material also avoids significant mining and waste containment.
Besides recycling uranium, Energy Fuels also recycles vanadium. In addition to being the only conventional uranium mill in the U.S., the White Mesa Mill is the only conventional vanadium mill in the country. Vanadium is used in steel, titanium and other high-strength alloys. The mineral is also being increasingly used in high-capacity, community-scale batteries that store intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
In 2019, Energy Fuels recycled 1.8 million pounds of vanadium. This is enough vanadium used in steel to build four and a half Golden Gate Bridges from scratch. And now, the company is entering the rare earth elements (REE) space, which also involves the recycling of REE-bearing materials. Indeed, the White Mesa Mill may be able to play an important role in bringing REE production back to the U.S.
Energy Fuels has a phenomenal, but largely unknown, recycling story that no other U.S. uranium producer – or any other company for that matter — can tell. The company might be one of the biggest recyclers of clean energy resources in the country — and potentially even the world.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EnergyFuels.com.
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