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Linda_Owl's avatar

Are any of you aware that the state of Virginia may give permission to mine Uranium ?

Asked by Linda_Owl (7690 points ) December 8th, 2012

There has been a discovery of a large deposit of Uranium found at Coles Hill in Virginia & the owner of this area (Walter Coles) is petitioning the state of Virginia to by-pass its moratorium against mining for Uranium. This is a Link to the story about this situation

http://www.alternet.org/environment/catastrophe-making-mining-uranium-could-begin-east-coast?page=0%2C0&akid=9767.30928.EMsqsk&rd=1&src=newsletter756803&t=3

This area is between the Roanoke River & the Bannister River & it is a water-shed for quite a few rural towns & large cities. Mining for Uranium has to dig the ore out of the ground, then it has to be crushed & have chemicals & water mixed into it until you reach the “Yellow-Cake” stage. Unfortunately, the ‘tailings’ impoundment are not capped until they are filled & they can be up to 40 acres in size – which could take years. These ‘tailings’ of crushed rock, water, & chemicals still contain 85% of their Radioactivity. So in Virginia where you have much more rainfall than in our more arid lands, the possibility of a flood could contaminate water for any number of rural towns & cities that are downstream from this mine (including Virginia Beach). American taxpayers have already had to pay for the clean up of abandoned Uranium mines to the tune of $144 Billion Dollars (there are 520 abandoned Uranium mines on the Navajo Lands alone & one of these is a ‘Super Fund’ site that is still being worked on). Virginia has been devastated by Hurricanes, it has tornadoes on a regular basis, & in August of 2011 they had 5.8 Earthquake that was only 125 miles away from Coles Hill. Walter Coles, VUI company is backed by a Canadian owned company ‘Anthem Resources’ (which also includes the last Canadian company that tried to get permission to mine in the area of Coles Hill). I hope that the governor of Virginia decides AGAINST this mine, but right now he only seems to be seeing the JOBS that will be created. Right now this whole region is becoming recognized for its Organically Grown crops. If a disaster should happen, it will destroy the farm lands, the water, & the people of this region.

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6 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

What is wrong with that? If you want cheap nuclear power, the resource that creates the power must come from somewhere. It might as well come from the state that uses the power.

Or are you willing to accept the benefits of nuclear power only if someone else assumes any risks associated with creating that power?

Linda_Owl's avatar

@WestRiverrat , I am NOT willing for Nuclear Power to be used to generate electricity at all ! There is no safe way to store the spent fuel rods & these spent fuel rods remain Radioactive for 5,000 to 10,000 years. Using Nuclear Power to generate electricity is a total mistake for any country & many countries in Europe have already figured this out & are now in the process of phasing out their Nuclear Powered generating facilities.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sounds reasonable to me. Mining goes on in a lot of places; if they are mitigation the environmental factors it’s OK with me.

What the use it for nuclear power is perfectly fine. Nuclear power is a whole lot cleaner than fossil fuels.

You obviously have an agenda and are promoting it. I do not share your point of view. Forgetting about jobs, mining – if done well – is a good thing.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Did either of you bother to read the Linked material that explained the dangers?

WestRiverrat's avatar

I read the article, I think Alternet has an agenda and have cherry picked what they chose to comment on in the article.
I have read the articles and the EPA reports on the uranium mine they want to open in this county. My state does not have any nuclear power plants, any uranium mined would be sent to facilities like those in VA.
I don’t really want a uranium mine here, but I am not going to stand in the way of the landowner’s use of his own property. Especially when he has met all EPA and NRC recommendations regarding the mine.

syz's avatar

Did you read the results of the National Research Council study?

Uranium mining and processing carries with it a range of potential health risks to the people who work in or live near uranium mining and processing facilities. Some of these health risks apply to any type of hard rock mining or other large-scale industrial activity, but others are linked to exposure to radioactive materials. In addition, uranium mining has the potential to impact water, soil, and air quality, with the degree of impact depending on site-specific conditions, how early a contaminant release is detected by monitoring systems, and the effectiveness of mitigation steps.[68]

Some of the worker and public health risks could be mitigated or better controlled through modern internationally accepted best practices, the report says. In addition, if uranium mining, processing, and reclamation were designed, constructed, operated, and monitored according to best practices, near-to-moderate-term environmental effects should be substantially reduced, the report found. [69]

However, the report noted that Virginia’s high water table and heavy rainfall differed from other parts of the United States — typically dry, Western states — where uranium mining has taken place. Consequently, federal agencies have little experience developing and applying laws and regulations in locations with abundant rainfall and groundwater, such as Virginia. Because of Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining, it has not been necessary for the Commonwealth’s agencies to develop a regulatory program that is applicable to uranium mining, processing, and reclamation.

The report also noted the long-term environmental risks of uranium tailings, the solid waste left after processing. Tailings disposal sites represent potential sources of contamination for thousands of years. 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.

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