RDN conducted a socioeconomic and cost benefit analysis for the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency for three proposed in-situ uranium recovery (ISR) projects in eastern Wyoming. ISR technology differs from open-pit mining in that ISR uses a lixiviant to extract the mineralized uranium from the earth. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act these proposed projects required specific impact assessments which RDN conducted.
RDN prepared a Supplemental Environmental Impact Assessment for the Ross ISR project in Crook County, and two Environmental Assessments were needed for the two other ISR projects in nearby Converse County. The Environmental Assessments supported further decisions regarding the need for full-scale Environmental Impact Assessments.
The work addressed how the proposed projects would impact the local economies and socioeconomic concerns. These impacts included: increased employment opportunities in historically rural areas, the consequent effects on populations and their demand for community services, as well as the fiscal impacts to local jurisdictions (increased local tax revenues and additional public service costs). RDN also addressed cumulative impacts from other recent energy related development projects (coal and oil). The thorough cost-benefit analyses focused on external costs of project development, including even the opportunity costs of light pollution for existing residents in these rural areas.