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Tag: Virginia Uranium Inc.

U-mining is to VA’s elected officials what sexting is to former...

Cross-posted from that paragon of journalism and reporting Richmond Progressive Examiner.

If former New York Representative, Anthony Weiner has a problem with 'sexting' (pardon the slang!), then Virginia Uranium Inc. and a number of Virginia's elected officials have a problem accepting numerous studies which demonstrate the various risks posed by uranium mining in Southside Virginia.

Unlike Weiner's problem, however, Virginia's inability to heed multiple warnings to slow its role on attempting to lift the three-decades old moratorium on uranium mining has the potential to directly affect thousands of Virginians for generations.

While proponents of uranium mining in Southside Virginia have brushed away concerns regarding the risks involved with uranium mining in Southside Virginia, their inability to compare apples to apples or to control for pertinent variables in their cited research lends to the conclusion that the moratorium on uranium mining should remain in place until greater consensus has been reached about its safety.

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.  

Mining for Virginia’s soul

Cross posted from Article XI

Not far beneath the surface of a relatively small patch of land in Pittsylvania County in southern Virginia lies the front line over a battle for Virginia's future and its sense of identity. Searching Virginia's past, back as far as the first days of the Jamestown settlement, Virginian's found ways to live in relative harmony with their environment. They respected the natural world and in later periods numerous Virginia landowners would become rich from the soils of Virginia. The Founding Fathers, landowners whose wealth was owed primarily to rich tobacco crops, repeatedly stressed "mans" relationship to nature.

But the years, it seems, have swept away any vestiges of that symbiotic relationship that was once an ideal of many Virginians. Today, Virginians face the real threat of uranium mining. If the ban were to be lifted, another blow to the relationship between Virginians and their natural environment would result, a consequence whose value cannot be monetized.

More and more, some Virginian's appear to look at the natural world principally as a place to make a profit and not a symbol of what it means to be a Virginian. Making a profit through nature and revering nature are not, I should emphasize, mutually exclusive. But making a profit through nature by extracting radioactive elements from beneath the soil to be used in a nuclear reactor that produces waste with no foreseeable home for storage is, by any definition, a dispirited and unhealthy relationship.  

Virginia Uranium Mining: The Fix Is In

It's now official. Virginia Uranium Inc., a consortium of Canadian and American investors, evidently is confident in its ability to influence Virginia legislators and end a ban on mining uranium in the state. In February, Walter Coles, Jr., executive vice president of the company, told shareholders, "In January of 2012, we will have a bill in the state legislature that directs the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to develop the regulations for uranium mining."

A study is now in progress by the National Aacdemy of Sciences to assess whether uranium mining can safely be done in Pittsylvania County, which has a huge deposit of uranium ore. The greatest environmental danger lies in the fact that annual rainfall and possible severe storms pose the danger of a catastrophic failure in containment ponds holding toxic uranium mine tailings, or waste. The deck is stacked against the NAS study no matter what it finds because it is not supposed to recommend either for or against possible mining, but simply outline the dangers.