provide benefits and opportunities to the local region and local communities.
• Regulatory programs are inherently reactive, and as a result, the standards contained in regulatory programs represent only a starting point for establishing a protective and proactive program for protecting worker and public health, environmental resources, and ecosystems. The concept of ALARA (as low as is reasonably achievable) is one way of enhancing regulatory standards.
The committee’s charge requests that the report describe the best practices that would apply to any uranium mining, processing, and reclamation operations in Virginia. In responding to this charge and identifying and briefly describing these best practices, the committee is not implicitly endorsing or proposing that the moratorium should be lifted or that uranium mining or processing in Virginia should be undertaken.
Because the characteristics of any uranium mining or processing facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia would be highly dependent on the circumstances that would apply in any specific case—controlled in large part by the detailed geological character of an ore deposit and the characteristics of the local environment—a detailed compilation of internationally accepted best practices would undoubtedly include many that would not be applicable to a specific situation in Virginia. Accordingly, rather than assemble an encyclopedic compilation, the committee has outlined three overarching best-practice concepts, followed by specific suggestions for best practices that the committee’s analysis has identified as likely to be applicable should the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia be lifted.
The committee recognizes that should Virginia’s uranium mining moratorium be lifted, mining and processing activities are very unlikely to commence for at least 5 to 8 years after the initial decision to permit uranium mining and processing (Box 8.1). Full use of this period will be essential for development of a regulatory culture that promotes environmental and human health protection, for instituting a broad range of human health and environmental baseline monitoring activities, for development of a robust legal and regulatory infrastructure, and to assemble a management team that is responsive both to the regulatory process and to the full range of citizen and stakeholder needs.