The Supreme Court said Monday it will examine the legality of a ban on exploiting the largest known deposit of uranium in the United States.
The court was responding to calls by the Trump administration, and by the companies that own the land in Virginia, which are seeking to overturn a ban on mining the estimated 119 million pounds of radioactive material, valued at some six billion dollars.   
Virginia banned uranium mining in 1982, citing concerns about radioactive pollution in the state’s waterways. The huge deposit had been discovered shortly before that, close to the borders with North Carolina.
But the mining companies that own the land have waged a long legal battle to overturn the ban, arguing that this one deposit could fuel all the country’s nuclear power stations.
They argue that, according to the Atomic Energy Act, decisions concerning the exploitation of nuclear materials should be in the hands of federal regulators, and not states.
The Trump administration, which has pledged to revitalize bankrupt mines, has backed the mining companies in the case.