Uranium producers continue to push for state regulation

Oct 4, 2013

If Wyoming wants to take over regulation of uranium, thorium and other radioactive materials from the federal government, it’s going to be a lot of work. That was the message the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality delivered to a legislative committee last week.

The agency won’t release a final feasibility report until December, but deputy director Nancy Nuttbrock said legislators should brace themselves for a complicated, and expensive, process.

“The staffing requirements are significant, and the skill sets required with those staffing positions are not easily sought, retained or paid for,” she said.

Mining companies would like the state to take over regulation because of the costs associated with the federal government’s process.

During the Minerals Committee meeting, Ur-Energy CEO Wayne Heili reminded legislators that while Wyoming is the largest uranium-producing state in the country, it’s one of a just a dozen that doesn’t regulate its own industry.

“Ur-Energy invested over $3 million in fees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the permitting of the Lost Creek project,” Heili said. “All of that money left the state.”

Once legislators receive the DEQ’s report, they’ll have to decide if it’s worth moving forward with the process of assuming authority.