Uranium Mining in VA: the Domino Effect from the south

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    Cross-posted from Article XI.

    According to the U2011 list of pro-uranium all-stars, our friends at Virginia Uranium Inc. will be giving their two cents on uranium, uranium mining, and uranium’s future in America. One has to therefore ask, does Virginia Uranium consider itself a shoe-in for the lucrative uranium mining contract in southside Virginia if the moratorium is lifted?

    In the case of uranium mining in Pittsylvania County, Virginians are not only fighting for the human and environmental health of communities and ecosystems surrounding the proposed mining sites, Virginians may also be fighting to halt uranium mining around there own communities. According to a few geologists at Virginia Tech (let me know if you want the source document), as the technology advances to find uranium mines throughout the country, it’s well believed that the Piedmont area in particular may be the next uranium hot spot. That is, it’s believed that there are considerable uranium deposits in the Piedmont area of Virginia. But let’s set this point aside for the moment.

    Even if new uranium mines are not blown open in other areas of Virginia, the recent storm events in Virginia and the unceasing precipitation should be a warning to the potential of uranium ore deposits to find its way into local aquifers. The process is safe, VUI says, but what definitive (keyword!) proof have they offered? None. At the very least, researchers have called for further studies into the possible effects of uranium millings leaking into local bodies of water.

    Sure, we may need nuclear power as a matter of practicality. But the issue of lifting the moratorium on uranium mining is about, above all else, money. That’s right, money, the stuff that will make companies lie to stakeholders about the potential safety of a given process (like uranium mining!).

    So, let’s not be fooled by the “energy independence” rhetoric. If Virginia’s business leaders and politicians were truly concerned about energy independence, we would have attempted to decrease our reliance on non-domestic sources of energy many years ago. Why now? And why in a relatively non-affluent area of Virginia are we deciding to find our spirit of energy independence? We all have a voice, let’s use it before they begin digging in our backyards as well.  

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      When the market for uranium is under the cloud of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and now the explosion at a reprocessing plant in France, it would be foolish and totally outside normal economic thought for a uranium mine to be developed in Virginia. I see the possibility of Virginia Uranium developing a cut-rate mine in Pittsylvania County, grabbing quick profits and then, as the market declines, walking away from it without proper cleanup of the mess it will have created. For an example of this, people in the 5th District should take a drive to Piney River in Nelson County and look at the Super Fund site – still active – that was left decades ago by American Cyanamid.

    • No Party

      The issue of lifting the moratorium on uranium mining will have support on both sides of the isle.In other words members of both parties will/can be paid off.This is NOT a Republican or Democratic issue.This is a lets keep Virginia safe issue.If Virginia Uranium can buy enough Republican/Democratic votes the people of Virginia lose.What scares me is what happens when uranium prices tanks ? Will Virginia uranium just walk away leaving Virginia to clean up the mess.Even if that is possible.Don’t make this a Republican/Democratic issue.It should be a keeping Virginia safe issue.If you think only Republicans can be bought you are wrong.Virginia Uranium is working hard to buy any votes they can.

    • Progressive86

      a partisan issue? Agreed, both parties can be bought. It just so happens that given the values of Republican politicians (i.e. “energy independence at all costs) and the sordid nature of politics, they come out as the champions/benefactors of uranium mining more so than the Democratic Party.