Black Hills, get ready to get nuked. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission yesterday issued a license to Powertech to operate a uranium recovery facility in Fall River and Custer counties in western South Dakota.

Powertech, or Azarga, or whoever this Canadian-Chinese company is now, crows:

Richard Clement, Powertech's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The issuance of the NRC's final license is the culmination of eight years of planning and evaluation and confirms again that our plan for in situ recovery mining at Dewey-Burdock is safe and will have minimal environmental impact. The robust nature of NRC's licensing process also greatly facilitates finalization of Powertech's other Dewey-Burdock permits."

"I am very pleased with NRC's decision to issue the final license for the Dewey-Burdock Project," said John Mays, Powertech's Chief Operating Officer. "The NRC and numerous other agencies that participated in the review and analysis necessary to complete licensing components are to be commended for their professionalism. Similarly, we congratulate the Dewey-Burdock team for its success in achieving the Company's foremost permitting objective, the NRC Source and Byproduct Materials License."

Mark Hollenbeck, Powertech's Dewey-Burdock Project Manager, concurred and added, "This license is a significant milestone for the project -- one made possible by not only Powertech's staff, contractors and consultants, but also local residents who have provided their vital support and perseverance throughout the NRC's licensing action. The community anxiously awaits the employment opportunities the project will bring. We thank everyone for their contributions and look forward to completing the remaining permits so construction can begin" [Powertech press release, 2014.04.08].

Powertech still needs approval from the EPA, as well as mining and water permits from the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The NRC ruling is a battle lost, but folks who respect the Black Hills still have a chance to stop this predation upon our land and water.

Update 12:55 MDT: Rapid City water drinker and tourism promoter John Tsitrian snorts at Powertech/Azarga's financials and questions their assurances to investors that the permitting process will be done by the end of May.