Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nuclear energy is too risky (uranium mining/milling) / Who wants to be 'Saudi Arabia of nuclear fuel (uranium mining and milling)?'

Comment: Great letters and so true. Outsiders are writing about uranium mining and milling is needed in our county to support the nuke plants! Outsiders, keep your untruths about nuke power to yourself! Virginia deserves better than a bunch of open pit uranium mines and uranium milling ruining our water, land and air! Virginia young water and fracture rock is enough facts to stop the idea of uranium mining. Just read the 1999 USGS report and the VA Tech study about VA water problems! No to uranium mining and milling!

Nuclear energy is too risky

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:13 AM EDT

I have to disagree with Mr. Doug Crowther (Star-Tribune July 7, 2010) on many points of his comments of "Why America needs Nuclear,"

He being a resident of Concord, Va., is like those who were appointed on the subcommittee to gather citizens input on Uranium mining in Pittsylvania, County.

None of these people live in or near where the mining will take place if the moratorium is lifted.

How would he feel if it was right in his back yard?

Should Pittsylvania County citizens give up their rights to have mining and milling of uranium for the good of all Virginia and the Country?

Our founding fathers declared war on England and many Pittsylvania County citizens are also in a battle to protect their property, health of their families and their way of life.

I don't believe that Mr. Crowther will move next to where mining and milling will take place with his family and grandchildren.

This issue is bigger than a landfill or federal prison in our back yard.

I believe that nuclear power is clean energy till something happens. Can we afford a disaster like Chernobyl? Look at the results of that accident. Those citizens will never return to their homes and way of life.

What about Three Mile Island?

Man can take all the precautions and analyze all scenarios of what "if" and we still wound up with the largest Gulf oil disaster known to man.

We need to invest in solar and wind energy production. There are millions of rooftops in which to install towers and panels and not utilize any footprint on the land.

Man has taken the easy path in developing available energy mainly fossil fuels and nuclear.

I believe we can develop small power sources to adapt to individual homes and they would be the answer to truly "clean" energy in America and reduce our dependency on fossil and nuclear fuels.

Marshall A. Ecker
Gretna, VA

Who wants to be 'Saudi Arabia of nuclear fuel (uranium mining and milling)?'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:13 AM EDT

Mr. Robert Bodnar, sir: You have presented an argument in favor of lifting the 1982 moratorium against mining and milling uranium in Virginia.

Most of it is true, with the exception of the description of Virginia becoming "the Saudi Arabia of nuclear fuel."

By most estimates, there exists enough uranium in the ground at the farm of Mr. Walter Coles in Pittsylvania County to supply the existing nuclear power industry of the United States for nearly two years.

By their own estimates, this extraction process is projected to take as little as 15 years and as much as 30 years to complete.

This ore is then milled - that means it is pulverized to a "talcum powder" like dust, treated with sulfuric acid and other goodies, in concert with an immense amount of water to produce what is known as "yellowcake" or, uranium 238.

Trouble is, that in order to render one pound of U-238, worth about $42, it requires that 1,000 pounds of ore must be dug out of the ground - and the leftovers are the 999 pounds of highly radioactive tailings.

These tailings are going to be radioactive for as long as a half-life of 4.5 billion years, in the case of uranium 238.

The Santoy Resources website is full of pertinent information, and under the company prospectus for the Coles Hill project, their plan is to declare an area eight miles from the center of each hole a "dead zone."

Within this dead zone they expect to lose all ground water and drilled wells. That water will no longer be potable.

Amid all the hype about employment as a result of lifting the moratorium are the stark facts that the uranium mining industry employs less than 500 people in the entire United States.

As well, there is nearly a 100 percent failure record on the part of the mining industry for being responsible for the cleanup of these sites.

Nearly all have been abandoned by the industry and thus qualify, and gain the distinction of becoming toxic waste site funded by the American taxpayer.

Mr. Bodnar, you have somehow overlooked all of the history of the catastrophic health and environmental results of uranium mining on the local residents and nature itself.

In addition, you have not mentioned that radon gas is called "a daughter of uranium." That is, radon 222 only comes to us as a result of the decaying of uranium.

What that means to scientists is that everywhere there was a "radon scare" in the 1970s and '80s, there exists deposits of uranium -all through Appalachia from north Georgia, western North Carolina, the piedmont foothills and Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, throughout the Shenandoah Valley as well as all along the US-29 corridor.

According to the United States Geological Service, these deposits run up into central Maryland, southwestern Pennsylvania, and into Delaware and the District of Columbia. They even show what appears to be a huge deposit down in Greensboro, N.C.

This is definitely an issue that will affect a much broader area than merely Pittsylvania County.

I live eight miles from the proposed "north hole" of the Coles Hill site. By my best estimate, Roanoke is approximately 50 miles as the crow flies (as dust flies) from the site.

Now, the question: Would I like Pittsylvania County to become the "Saudi Arabia of nuclear fuel?"

No way!

It isn't worth the trade-off so that a Canadian corporation calling itself "Virginia Resources" can take most of the profits back home to the UK.

Virginia won't even get much taxes from the "experiment" since it will all be sold on the open commodity markets, and thus not subject to Virginia state corporate taxes.

There may be, one day, a reason to move to Saudi Arabia because it isn't radioactive there. Other than that - no!

I like it just fine here, where I am. I have good air to breathe and pure water to drink, and I stand opposed to lifting the 1982 moratorium on mining or milling of uranium in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Hunter Austin
Hurt, VA