Here's a letter from Virginia Senator Steve Martin. Apparently, those opposed to uranium mining have a "shallow" understanding of the safety issues involved. I feel much more enlightened now.
From: "senate district11"
Thank you for sharing your concern about paid travel and uranium mining in Virginia. I see these as two different issues, though it may be that the particular company you referenced is funding some travel.
I was not aware of this scheduled trip and was not offered an opportunity to go. But, I will check into it. Any such trips will need to be reported on the individual legislators' statements of economic interest. Such "fact finding trips" sometimes do not accrue to the funder's benefit due to the integrity and exercise of independent judgment by the respective legislators. But, you are right: accepting such travel opportunities does not look good.
As for the issue of uranium mining itself, I have researched it thoroughly and am fully aware of the site design and water flow issues. I am knowledgeable of the precautions that ensure there is no contamination. I understand why the mere thought of radiation risk would raise fear but, that is really born out of a fairly shallow understanding of the issue.
As this issue comes before me, I will be supporting the opportunity for uranium mining in Virginia. It will be done safely and put many people to work in an area that needs the job opportunities.
Again, thank you for sharing your concern. I will check into the travel issue you have raised. Feel free to continue to share your concern on any topic of interest to you, and please do not hesitate to call or write to my office at any time.
Over a dozen of Virginia's legislators were coddled by Virginia Uranium Inc. during a three day paid vacation in France (See here)
In between site-seeing missions in Paris, our elected representatives found time to survey AREVA's facilities, home to what is supposedly a successful example of a uranium mining operation.
What you probably won't hear about AREVA and its facilities are the less-than-stellar details that are usually withheld from the public eye.
According to a report by CRIIRAD in France (a nonprofit research commission on radioactivity in France), what was once COGEMA (now AREVA) used no radiation limit for scrap metal recycling prior to 1999. This appears to be one of many lapses in safety procedures by AREVA.
The report, called the "Radiological Hazards of Uranium Mining," also found that "all the French uranium mines where it made radiological surveys, the CRIIRAD laboratory discovered situations of environmental contamination and a lack of proper protection of the inhabitants against health risks due to ionizing radiation."
If this makes you think twice about uranium mining in southern Virginia, you're not alone.
Virtually every claim made by Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI) about the safety of uranium mining has been debunked and until VUI can produce objective and verifiable evidence to prove their claims, it would be no less than an absolutely immoral endeavor to move forward with uranium mining in southern Virginia.
Besides the effects to human and environmental health, the issue is also one of political power. If uranium mining succeeds in Virginia it will be the Republican Party of Virginia that ultimately comes out with a new powerful political ally and campaign contributor, a political ally and campaign contributor whose interests are not in line with those of the rest of Virginia.
Virginians of every political persuasion, therefore, must be on the side of "Keep the Ban." The consequences of lifting the ban on uranium mining could quite possibly lead to one of the biggest disasters in Virginia's storied history.