transparency and public participation. Regular updates to the monitoring plan, along with independent reviews, would allow the incorporation of new knowledge and insights gained from analysis of monitoring data. In addition, best practice is to undertake an assessment of the appropriate mitigation and remediation options that would be required to minimize any potential environmental impacts.
Regulatory programs are inherently reactive. As a result, the standards contained in regulatory programs represent a starting point for establishing a protective and proactive program for protecting worker and public health, environmental resources, and ecosystems. The concept of ALARA, an acronym for “as low as is reasonably achievable,” is one way of enhancing regulatory standards.
If the Commonwealth of Virginia removes the moratorium on uranium mining, there are steep hurdles to be surmounted before mining and processing could be established in a way that is appropriately protective of the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment. There is only limited experience with modern underground and open-pit uranium mining and processing in the United States, and no such experience in Virginia. At the same time, there exist internationally accepted best practices that could provide a starting point for the Commonwealth if it decides to lift its moratorium. After extensive scientific and technical briefings, substantial public input, the review of numerous documents and extensive deliberations, the committee is convinced that the adoption and rigorous implementation of such practices would be necessary if uranium mining, processing, and reclamation were to be undertaken.