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Washington State Regulatory Authority Over Uranium Mills

  • The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), as amended, created the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and provides for the regulation of radioactive materials.
  • The AEA authorized the NRC to enter into agreements with individual states to allow the state to regulate radioactive materials within the state's boundaries.
  • Washington State became an Agreement State in 1966. Over the years, Washington has by statute or regulation developed a regulatory program that is compatible with NRC rules and regulations.
  • In 1978, Congress Passed UMTRCA (Uranium Mill Tailings Reclamation and Conservation Act) to specifically address reclamation and closure of uranium mill facilities. 10 CFR Part 40 is the federal regulation that govern mill closures.
  • Chapter 70.121 RCW provides the statutory authority for Washington State's oversight of uranium mills and Chapter 246-252 WAC is the main implementing regulation.
  • Every uranium mill licensee is required to post acceptable financial assurance in the event it abandons, defaults, or is otherwise unable to meet the requirements of the Department of Health (70.121.100 RCW).
  • If the licensee posts a bond as financial assurance, 70.121.110 RCW requires a review of the financial health of the bonding company by the State Finance Committee.