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A UTAH HITCH BLOCKS WORK AT URANIUM MINE

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Ferret Exploration Co. of Nebraska will not be allowed to store radioactive waste at its uranium mine near Crawford and cannot start mining until it has a waste-disposal contract, an official said Wednesday.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has turned down Ferret's request to start commercial mining and store wastes on the site before a waste-disposal contract is signed, said Gary Konwinski, project manager in the NRC's uranium recovery field office in Denver.Ferret seeks to ship the radioactive waste to Utah for treatment by a company named Envirocare, Konwinski said. But Envirocare does not have a license to take Ferret's wastes.

Konwinski said he did not know how long it would take for Envirocare to get approval to accept the waste. Approval will depend partly on whether the governor of Utah agrees to accept waste from Nebraska, he said.