Chapter 3 outlines the global distribution of uranium deposits, describes the existing understanding of potential deposits in Virginia, and outlines the prospectivity status of such deposits. This chapter also provides a general overview of uranium reserves, markets, and prices.

Chapter 4 describes technical aspects of uranium mining, processing, and reclamation as they might be applied in Virginia, covering the full range from initiation of mining through to decommissioning and legacy management. Although many of the techniques described in this chapter apply to hard-rock mining in general, there is specific focus on aspects that are uranium-specific. Note that surface and underground mining techniques are primarily dealt with in this chapter—and in the report in general—with ISL/ISR mining of uranium only briefly described for completeness, because it is unlikely to be applicable in Virginia as a consequence of the particular geological characteristics of the Commonwealth.

Chapter 5 outlines adverse human health effects that can potentially arise from uranium mining and processing—encompassing both occupational health and safety and broader public health perspectives—as well as brief descriptions of potential human health effects that are not specific to uranium mining. Best practices that might be applied to address and mitigate some of the potential health effects are discussed in Chapter 8.

Chapter 6 outlines adverse environmental effects that can arise from uranium mining and processing—potential air, water, soil, and ecosystem impacts beyond the immediate borders of a uranium mining and processing facility.

Chapter 7 describes the existing federal and Virginia legal environment, encompassing laws, regulations, and oversight through the full range from mining and processing, through site reclamation, to long-term stewardship.

Chapter 8 addresses the charge to describe “best practices” that might apply to a uranium mining and processing facility in Virginia, bringing together aspects touched upon in Chapters 4 to 7.

This task statement requires that the committee consider the entire Commonwealth of Virginia in its assessment and analysis. However, as outlined in Chapter 3, the uranium deposit at Coles Hill is the only known potentially economically viable uranium resource in Virginia. Consequently, although the characteristics of all of Virginia are examined in the descriptive elements of this report, there is slightly greater focus on the southern part of Virginia in the vicinity of Coles Hill. In addition, the committee recognized that some of the potential effects of uranium mining and processing—both negative and positive—would inevitably extend across state borders; however, the statement of task clearly restricts the committee’s focus to Virginia alone and therefore such potential effects were not explicitly considered, nor was input from citizens and interest groups in adjacent states sought.



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