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UEC makes Hobson site hub

July 14, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.

Greg Kroll, site manager at the Hobson Processing Facility, originally worked at the plant when he was a teenager. Kroll took advantage of the UEC start up, which also brought him back home to Karnes County  after a number of years.

HOBSON - Greg Kroll, the site manager for the Hobson Processing Facility, stood at the edge of the facility and grinned.

"It's great to see it running again," Kroll said.

The Hobson Processing Facility was built and licensed to turn uranium-filled resin into lemon-colored yellowcake used to create nuclear power plant fuel rods in 1978.

Kroll, who was born and raised in Karnes County, started working at the plant while he was still in high school, helping out and learning wherever he could after school and over the summers. After graduating, he went to work at the production facility.

The facility started shutting down and Kroll left to take a job at another uranium processing site in 1996. He came back to the facility in 2006 and works as the site manager.

The site changed hands over the years. Uranium Energy Corp., a company that specializes in in-situ uranium mining, bought the facility in 2009.

The company plans to make the Hobson site the hub of uranium processing, UEC representative Matt Welch said.

The site is being used to process uranium from the Palangana mine in Duval County.

Welch said the site will be the hub in uranium processing, taking shipments of uranium mined from Goliad, Beeville and other areas as they develop over the years.

Welch said they decided to make the Hobson site the processing hub because of it's location and the fact that Hobson and Karnes County have been at the center of Texas uranium mining since the 1950s.

UEC and Goliad County have grappled over whether the company would conduct in-situ uranium mining in Goliad for the past four years. If their application is approved, the uranium mined in Goliad will be processed at the Hobson facility, along with the uranium from other UEC mining locations in the area, Welch said.

Workers at the site received the first batches of uranium from the Palangana mine in November. They shipped their first batch of processed yellowcake - about 40,000 pounds of dusty, brightly colored powder - on Monday.

Kroll was thrilled to see the first shipments go out.

He said it's exciting to see the place he worked at as a youth come back to life.

"It's a great feeling," he said.



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