Thompson & Pugsley, PLLC. speaks at 2011 National Mining Association/Nuclear Regulatory Commission Conference, May 2011.
Thompson & Pugsley, PLLC Assists Hydro Resources, Inc. in Successful Completion of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Administrative Litigation
In a decision culminating in the completion of a seven-year administrative hearing process, Hydro Resources, Inc. (HRI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uranium Resources, Inc. (URI), represented by Thompson & Pugsley, PLLC now possess a fully approved Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to conduct in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery operations at a proposed project site in Church Rock and Crownpoint, New Mexico. The litigation involved attorneys from organizations including NRC, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, and Thompson & Simmons, PLLC. The Thompson & Simmons litigation team in support of HRI was led by Anthony J. Thompson and Christopher S. Pugsley.
This final decision regarding the adequacy of HRI’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was the last in a series of appeals to the NRC’s five Commissioners of four partial initial decisions rendered by NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel. These decisions are of general interest to the uranium recovery industry as they set the stage for the types of issues regulators will be considering and the nature of the opposition that new applicants may face in the coming months when trying to license new ISL uranium recovery projects. The legal memoranda encompassing these decisions are available on NRC’s Electronic Hearing Docket at www.nrc.gov.
Over the course of the litigation, NRC determined that HRI’s proposed approach to conducting ISL uranium recovery operations at each of four separate project sites are adequately protective of public health and safety and the environment. The issues under contention in this litigation included the aforementioned adequacy of HRI’s EIS, groundwater restoration and financial assurance, historic and cultural resource preservation, and radioactive air emissions. Notably, Thompson & Simmons, PLLC also assisted HRI in clarifying several important aspects of NRC regulations, including the methods for calculating financial assurance cost estimates and the types of materials falling within the ambit of “background radiation.”
NRC’s final agency action approving HRI’s license is currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.