Uranium Recovery Regulations, Guidance, and Communications

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Regulations issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are found in Chapter I of Title 10, "Energy," of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Chapter I is divided into Parts 1 through 199. Of these, the following are most relevant to the licensing and operation of uranium recovery facilities:

  • 10 CFR Part 20, "Standards for Protection Against Radiation"
  • 10 CFR Part 40, "Domestic Licensing of Source Material"
  • Appendix A to 10 CFR Part 40, "Criteria Relating to the Operation of Uranium Mills and the Disposition of Tailings or Wastes Produced by the Extraction or Concentration of Source Material from Ores Processed Primarily for Their Source Material Content"

In addition, the following resources provide valuable information related to the regulation of uranium recovery facilities:

See also, information on all NRC Rules and Petitions.

The NRC welcomes Public Involvement in Rulemaking, and invites the public to comment on proposed rules and policies, licensing actions, and draft technical documents.  We announce public comment opportunities in the Federal Register and on our Documents for Comment page.

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Regulatory guides (RGs), which the NRC issues in 10 broad divisions, provide guidance to licensees and applicants on implementing specific parts of the NRC's regulations, techniques used by the NRC staff in evaluating specific problems or postulated accidents, and data needed by the staff in its review of applications for permits or licenses. Of these guides, the following are most relevant to uranium recovery:

Division RG Number Title
3   Fuels and Materials Facilities
  RG 3.5 Standard Format and Content of License Applications for Uranium Mills
RG 3.8 Preparation of Environmental Reports for Uranium Mills
RG 3.11 Design, Construction, and Inspection of Embankment Retention Systems at Uranium Recovery Facilities
RG 3.46 Standard Format and Content of License Applications, Including Environmental Reports, for In Situ Uranium Solution Mining
RG 3.51 Calculational Models for Estimating Radiation Doses to Man from Airborne Radioactive Materials Resulting from Uranium Milling Operations
RG 3.56 General Guidance for Designing, Testing, Operating, and Maintaining Emission Control Devices at Uranium Mills
RG 3.59 Methods for Estimating Radioactive and Toxic Airborne Source Terms for Uranium Milling Operations
RG 3.63 Onsite Meteorological Measurement Program for Uranium Recovery Facilities – Data Acquisition and Reporting
RG 3.64 Calculation of Radon Flux Attenuation by Earthen Uranium Mill Tailings Covers
4   Environmental and Siting
  RG 4.14 Radiological Effluent and Environmental Monitoring at Uranium Mills
RG 4.15 Quality Assurance for Radiological Monitoring Programs (Inception through Normal Operations to License Termination) -- Effluent Streams and the Environment
8   Occupational Health
  RG 8.11 Applications of Bioassay for Uranium
RG 8.22 Bioassay at Uranium Mills
RG 8.30 Health Physics Surveys in Uranium Recovery Facilities
RG 8.31 Information Relevant to Ensuring that Occupational Radiation Exposures at Uranium Recovery Facilities Will Be as Low as Is Reasonably Achievable
RG 8.37 ALARA Levels for Effluents from Materials Facilities

Web (PDF) versions of some regulatory guides are available for viewing or downloading. Those available are highlighted in the index to our Regulatory Guide Document Collection. All active final and draft guides are also available in the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS).

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Other guidance documents that may be useful to licensees and other stakeholders include the following NUREG-series publications:

Report Number Title
NUREG-1569 Standard Review Plan for In Situ Leach Uranium Extraction License Applications
NUREG-1620 Standard Review Plan for the Review of a Reclamation Plan for Mill Tailings Sites Under Title II of the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978
NUREG-1623 Design of Erosion Protection for Long-Term Stabilization
NUREG-1748 Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs
NUREG 2126 Standard Review Plan for Conventional Uranium Mill and Heap Leach Facilities
NUREG/CR-6733 A Baseline Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Approach for In Situ Leach Uranium Extraction Licensees

Web (HTML) versions of some guidance documents are available in our NUREG-Series Document Collection. Some are also available in ADAMS (see our table listing their availability). Also available in this collection are guidance and information on many types of materials licenses in Volumes 1–20 of NUREG-1556.

Regulatory Issue Summaries

Information Notices
IN-99-03 (original and 2014 update)

Generic Letter


Generic communications are the NRC's primary method of sending information to specific classes of licensees. These communications may take the following forms:

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