RDN is currently providing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) socioeconomic and cost benefit analysis support to the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRC) for three proposed in-situ uranium recovery (ISR) projects in eastern Wyoming. ISR technology is an alternative process to extract uranium from ore-bearing strata other than through historically-utilized open-pit mining techniques. ISR involves injecting the ore-bearing strata with a lixiviant that dissolves the mineralized uranium which is then drawn to processing facilities that processes the uranium into yellowcake for shipment to off-site uranium conversion facilities.
A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is being prepared for the Ross ISR project in Crook County, in the far northeast corner of Wyoming. This SEIS is being tiered off a Generic EIS prepared by the NRC covering potential ISR projects throughout the western U.S. in the Wyoming West Uranium Milling Region, the Wyoming East Milling Region, the Nebraska-South Dakota-Wyoming Milling Region, and the Northwestern New Mexico Uranium Milling Region. Environmental Assessments (EAs) in support of further decisions regarding the need for full-scale EISs are being prepared for two other ISR projects in nearby Converse County, Wyoming.
Impacts of increased employment levels in what have been historically rural areas and the consequent effects on population levels and the demand for community services are addressed, as well as are the fiscal impacts to local jurisdictions (increased local tax revenues and additional public service costs). Cumulative impacts from other recent energy related development projects (coal and oil development projects) also are addressed. The cost-benefit analyses focus on the external costs of project development including the opportunity costs of light pollution to existing residents in these rural areas.