easily implemented; “sufficient” means that the enforcement tools are effective in producing deterrence; “available” means that regulatory agencies should have available adequate funding and other resources to function in an environment of continuous improvement to enable them to take full advantage of international uranium mining and processing innovations; “independent” means that the regulatory agency would provide independent verification of compliance and not be overly influenced by the industry that it is regulating, even if the funding for the regulatory agency is derived from a fee placed on the industry; and “sustainable” requires that enforcement actions be supported by strong scientific and other evidence that will meet legal standards.

• In the event that the uranium mining moratorium is lifted, Virginia will be required to establish a regulatory program for uranium mining. It might also establish a regulatory program for uranium processing and reclamation. Development of this new regulatory structure could theoretically be based on existing laws, but the optimum approach would be for an entirely new uranium mining, processing, and reclamation law or laws to be enacted. In addition, a new regulatory program would be required to implement this law or laws.

• In the event that Virginia decides to lift its uranium mining moratorium, it is possible that regulatory authority could be distributed among several agencies. If this is the case, effective interagency integration and coordination will be imperative. Interagency integration and coordination will require more than co-location in the same facility; it will require commitment and leadership by the legislative and executive branches of the government, and it will also require that sufficient resources be available for developing and fine-tuning a regulatory program.

• The committee recognizes that the federal regulations governing uranium processing are currently under consideration for revision by the USNRC. Additionally, the USEPA is reviewing and potentially revising its health and environmental standards for uranium processing facilities. Virginia should be actively involved in the regulatory processes of these federal agencies to ensure good federal-state coordination. The international community has considerable knowledge of regulating uranium mines and mills and can offer additional insight into regulatory best practices.

• At present, the laws applicable in Virginia do not require that an environmental impact assessment be undertaken before hard-rock mining operations commence. Modern best international practice requires an environmental impact assessment prior to the commencement of any mining activities.


The committee’s charge was to provide information and advice to the Virginia legislature as it weighs the factors involved in deciding whether to allow uranium mining. This report describes a range of potential issues that could arise if the

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