The committee has organized its report in terms of broad topics (e.g., health impacts, environmental impacts) rather than attempting to align the report structure with the numerous elements of the statement of task shown in Box 1.1. The report structure is as follows:
• Chapter 2 briefly describes the physical and social context in which uranium mining and processing might occur—the geological and geographic setting, the environmental and climatic characteristics, and the overarching social setting. This chapter does not, however, address the socioeconomic effects that uranium mining and processing might have on affected communities, because such considerations are beyond the committee’s purview.
(6) Review the primary technical options and best practices approaches for uranium mining, milling, processing, and reclamation that might be applicable within the Commonwealth of Virginia, including discussion of improvements made since 1980 in the design, construction, and monitoring of tailings impoundments (“cells”).
(7) Review the state and federal regulatory framework for uranium mining, milling, processing, and reclamation.
(8) Review federal requirements for secure handling of uranium materials, including personnel, transportation, site security, and material control and accountability.
(9) Identify the issues that may need to be considered regarding the quality and quantity of groundwater and surface water, and the quality of soil and air from uranium mining, milling, processing, and reclamation. As relevant, water and waste management and severe weather effects or other stochastic events may also be considered.
(10) Assess the potential ecosystem issues for uranium mining, milling, processing, and reclamation.
(11) Identify baseline data and approaches necessary to monitor environmental and human impacts associated with uranium mining, milling, processing, and reclamation.
(12) Provide a nontechnical summary of the report for public education purposes (for example, health and safety issues, inspection and enforcement, community right-to-know, emergency planning).
By addressing these questions, the study will provide independent, expert advice that can be used to inform decisions about the future of uranium mining in the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, the study will not make recommendations about whether or not uranium mining should be permitted nor will the study include site-specific assessments.