Mining the Potential for Disaster


    The benefits of uranium mining in Virginia, sure, there are some. There are also benefits to undergoing chemotherapy, but you don’t want to reach the point where you have to harm your body with radiation to sustain yourself! That is, there are viable alternatives to uranium mining in Virginia like wind energy, solar power, geothermal, and biomass that don’t pack the harmful punch that uranium mining does.

    If extracting radioactive materials out of the ground for energy use sounds like a frightening idea, that’s because it is. But let’s look beyond the “scary” factor of uranium mining. Even if uranium mining were relatively safe, there is no guarantee that Virginia and its residents will reap many of the benefits stemming from its extraction, refinement, and sale.

    Indeed, the most certain aspect of uranium mining, judging from case studies of uranium mines across the country, is that they will leave a harmful environmental impact long after their final use. And given the sobering fact that Virginia is inexperienced in the process of uranium mining regulation, permit granting, and the like, it’s most logical to conclude that this consequence may stand all the more chance of occurring.

    Virginia Uranium Inc. has made a lot of claims about how “safe” their own operations will be as well as the benefits that their enterprise will bring to Virginia and in particular the economically stagnant areas of southern Virginia. But what if their operations don’t turn out to be so safe if they are able to mine for uranium in VA? What will become of Pittsylvania County’s residents or the public drinking water of Virginia Beach? Who actually knows that under EPA regulations, Virginia Uranium Inc. would be able to discharge wastewater consummate with the difference in average rainfall versus evaporation?

    All of these questions, and many more, remain unanswered. The numbing silence is reflective of VUI’s own blindness to anything but the benefits of mining for uranium in VA. Ultimately, once all of the facts have been laid out for the public, it should be those individuals who will be most directly affected by uranium mining who should be able to decide what course of action to pursue.  

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      That deposit of uranium has been in Pittsylvania County for eons, and if undisturbed it will be there for eons more. The people who own that land saw the renewed interest in nuclear energy as a way to help climate change and decided to rush to get approval to mine. Even though the name of the group is now “Virginia Uranium,” a Canadian mineral extraction corporation now owns a controlling interest.

      All of this was before Fukushima in Japan and the resultant backing off from nuclear by many countries in the world. Consequently, there is no reason to immediately mine that ore. Market conditions do not warrant that. Indeed, until market conditions improve, the possibility of Virginia Uranium cutting and running in the future and leaving a dangerous environmental mess is increased.

    • Va Breeze

      to face some charges but was unsuccessful. I think it would be much harder to collect damages from a company based there.

      Also, would an impact on the drinking supply in Virginia Beach impact the readiness of the military based there? How about the hospitality industry-would you want to hold your convention in Virginia Beach after a spill- the fear factor alone would hurt attendance. It seems Virginia Uranium is willing for so many people to take risks without any guarantees-are they putting up bonds to cover damages?