On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is considering a request from Wyoming Governor Matthew Mead to assume part of the NRC’s regulatory authority over certain radioactive materials in the state.
If the request is accepted, Wyoming will become the 38th state to sign such an agreement with the NRC.
Under the proposed agreement, the NRC would transfer to Wyoming the responsibility for licensing, rulemaking, inspection and enforcement activities related to the extraction and concentration of uranium and thorium milling and the management and disposal of milling waste, or mill tailings.
If the proposed Agreement were approved, the NRC would transfer 14 specific licenses for radioactive material to Wyoming’s jurisdiction. By law, NRC would retain jurisdiction over commercial nuclear power plants (of which there are none in Wyoming), federal agencies using certain nuclear material in the state and uses of nuclear material currently regulated by the NRC other than uranium and thorium milling activities.
Before entering into the agreement, the NRC must determine that Wyoming’s radiation control program is adequate to protect public health and safety, and is compatible with the NRC’s regulations.
Thirty-seven other states have signed similar agreements with the NRC. They include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Copies of the proposed agreement, the Governor’s request/supporting documents and the NRC draft staff assessment are available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov. For additional information, please contact David McIntyre at (301) 415-8200.