National Academy of Sciences Report: “Steep Hurdles” to Uranium Mining in Virginia


    The authoritative, respected (except by anti-science fanatics like Ken Kookinelli) National Academy of Sciences has weighed in on uranium mining in Virginia, and it’s basically a bright yellow (or red) CAUTION/DANGER/WARNING sign flashed in front of our eyes. A few key points:

    *”[I]f Virginia lifts its moratorium, there are ‘steep hurdles to be surmounted’ before mining and processing could take place within a regulatory setting that appropriately protects workers, the public, and the environment, especially given that the state has no experience regulating mining and processing of the radioactive element.”

    *”Should the ban be lifted, uranium mining and processing are unlikely to begin for at least five to eight years after the initial granting of a license, the report says.  This period of time should be used to build a robust regulatory and management culture focused on safety and citizen involvement.”

    *”[S]uch activities in Virginia would have the potential to impact water, soil, and air quality.  The degree of impact would depend on site-specific conditions, how early a contaminant release is detected by monitoring systems, and the effectiveness of mitigation steps.”

    *”While it is likely that tailings impoundment sites would be safe for at least 200 years if designed and built according to modern best practices, the long-term risks of radioactive contaminant release are unknown.”

    In sum, uranium mining in Virginia is highly questionable at best, would require a large number of steps to be taken over 5-8 years, and would still leave long-term risks that are “unknown.” In other words: Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

    P.S. If Virginia Uranium would just send me to France for a week or two, all expenses paid, I might just reconsider my opposition to this. (wink wink, just kidding — obviously I’d never do that, but I’d sure love a free trip to France like they offered to all our legislators! LOL)