The National Research Council's governing board wants more time to set up a proposed statewide scientific study on uranium mining.
The council's executive committee met Tuesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., but delayed approving a contract for the study.
"Given the complexity with several institutions involved, our staff is continuing to work on how we will go about doing the study," said Jennifer Walsh, a spokesman for the National Research Council. "So, our standard statement of task and approval process is not yet complete."
The National Research Council, which includes the National Academy of Sciences, presented its recommendations for a study in May to the Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy's Uranium Mining Subcommittee.
Commission Chairman Del. Terry Kilgore of Scott County still expects a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to be signed soon.
The study, which is expected to take about 18 months and cost an estimated $1.2 million, will be funded through Virginia Tech, with Virginia Uranium Inc. picking up the tab.
Discovered in the early 1980s, the uranium deposit is one of the largest in the United States and is worth an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion.
Kilgore said the state also plans to conduct a study of the socioeconomic impact of uranium mining.
The second study, which will address the effects of uranium mining on businesses, schools and the community, will be conducted by another organization and funded separately, the chairman said.
In October, Danville Regional Foundation announced that it is considering funding a regional socioeconomic study of the impact of uranium mining and milling.
The foundation, formed in 2005 following the sale of Danville Regional Medical Center, has issued a request for qualifications for a proposed study from interested firms, non-profit organizations and academic programs.
According to president and chief executive officer Karl Stauber, the foundation hopes to sponsor an "independent and rigorous socioeconomic examination" of the effects of the proposed uranium mine, mill, and long-term waste management on the people and institutions, including the economy, of its service region.
The foundation, which has $165 million in assets, serves Danville, Pittsylvania County and Caswell County, N.C.
"We're not taking a pro-mining position and we're not taking an anti-mining position," said Stauber. "We're taking a position that the people of this region need to understand the implications of uranium mining."
According to Stauber, the foundation's regional study will not take the place of a broader state study on the socioeconomic impact of uranium mining.
Virginia has had a moratorium on uranium mining since 1982.