Uranium mining and milling

The Uranium Mill Tailings and Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA), which amended the AEA, directed the EPA to establish standards for active and inactive uranium and thorium mill sites. The standards for active sites, issued in 1983 as 40 CFR Part 192 (and amended in 1995), establish limits on radon emanations from tailings as well as contamination limits for build­ings, soil, and groundwater. A key aspect of UMTRCA is that it required EPA standards to address nonradiological contaminants in a manner con­sistent with EPA requirements for managing chemically hazardous waste.

The AEA does not identify uranium-mining overburden as radioactive material to be controlled, and neither the NRC nor the DOE regulate the disposition of conventional mining wastes as part of the nuclear fuel cycle. Once uranium mining product is processed or is brought into the milling circuit, including production from in-situ recovery operations, the NRC and Agreement States regulate its possession, use, transport, etc.

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