practices for uranium mining, processing, and reclamation that might be applicable within the Commonwealth of Virginia; and the potential impact of uranium mining, processing, and reclamation operations on occupational and public health, safety, and the environment. A review of the state and federal regulatory framework for uranium mining, processing, and reclamation was also identified as part of the committee’s charge. The task statement required scientific and technical analysis, and although the social context is included as a required component, consideration of the potential socioeconomic impacts of uranium mining and processing was outside the committee’s purview. The task statement for the committee specifically noted that the study should not make recommendations about whether or not uranium mining should be permitted, and would not include site-specific assessments.
The committee met seven times over 11 months, and all but one of the meetings included time set aside for public comment. This included two evening sessions organized as “town hall”-style meetings, to receive community input and commentary. In addition, the committee traveled to northeastern Saskatchewan, Canada, for site visits to two uranium mines and associated processing facilities. This challenging schedule was designed to allow the committee to receive briefings regarding the scientific and technical aspects of its charge; to receive input from individuals and community organizations; to deliberate on its findings; and to write its report. The committee’s deliberations resulted in a series of findings and key concepts covering the broad range of its task statement, together with some overarching as well as specific best practices related to uranium mining, processing, reclamation, and long-term stewardship. These findings and key concepts are summarized as bullet points under a series of specific topic headings below. Note that the description of potential impacts of uranium mining, processing, and reclamation operations on occupational and public health, safety, and the environment are presented separately from the section on the range of best practices that could be applied to mitigate some of these adverse impacts.
VIRGINIA PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT
• Virginia has a diverse natural and cultural heritage, and a detailed assessment of both the potential site and its surrounding area (including natural, historical, and social characteristics) would be needed if uranium mining and processing were to be undertaken. Virginia’s natural resources include a wide range of plants, animals, and ecosystems, a large number of which are currently under significant stress.
• The demographic makeup of the state varies greatly, both among and within its physiographic provinces.
• Virginia is subject to extreme natural events, including relatively large precipitation events and earthquakes. Although very difficult to accurately forecast, the risks and hazards associated with extreme natural events would need to