Monday, December 9, 2019
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“Containment Vessel, We Don’t Need No Stinking Containment Vessel!”

Cross-posted from www.articlexi.com

Question:  What's worse than lifting the ban on a radioactive industry in Virginia?

Answer:  Lifting the ban on the radioactive industry if they have no plan to contain the radioactive waste their industry produces.

I know it may seem crazy but, that's the scenario that could play out if Virginia were to lift a near 30-year ban on uranium mining during the 2012 legislative session.  According to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests which uncovered emails between Walter Coles, Sr of Virginia Uranium, Inc. and Peter Pommerenk, Ph.D who works for the city of Virginia Beach.

Virginia Uranium, Inc. is pushing to have Virginia's existing ban on uranium mining lifted and has a 2012 legislative session target date for achieving this goal.  In the meantime, the National Academies of Sciences, Danville Regional Foundation, Chmura Analytics and the city of Virginia Beach are studying the effects uranium mining would have on portions of the state.

The key word here is "portions." The Virginia Beach study is looking at downstream impacts of uranium mining on the water supply while the other studies are all studying the impacts on Southside Virginia.  It's from Virginia Beach's efforts to study the safety of uranium mining that these emails originated.

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.