Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Uranium Mining in Virginia

Banister River in Halifax, VA

Comment:  Great letter!  No to uranium mining and milling!

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to the two letters touting uranium mining that appeared in many local newspapers.

The first letter from Mr. Cecil Cardwell attempted to throw uranium mining in the same pot with nuclear power. That should never be done as there is a world of difference between the two. The biggest perhaps being that uranium mining leaves behind millions of tons of radioactive waste and other toxic and leachable heavy metals. Mining is the dirty end of the whole nuclear power business.

If uranium is mined at Coles Hill the millions of tons of tailings left behind will forever release deadly radon gas into the air, and floods will forever breach dams to contaminate land and water. There is no way to prevent this from happening and no way to clean it up when it does. The surrounding area will then become uninhabitable.

Today, uranium is mined in sparsely populated and arid regions mostly in third world countries. Civilized and intelligent human beings would never mine uranium in an area like Virginia that is blessed with abundant rainfall and lush vegetation.

The second letter from Mr. Robert Bodnar, Ph. D., and professor of geochemistry at Virginia Tech points out our “great” need for uranium. That is simply not the case. Experts in the field contend that we have well over 1000 years supply of uranium sitting around in stockpiles and scrapped military war-heads, and uranium is plentiful on the open market. Mr. Bodnar also touts the supposedly, pie-in-the-sky predictions of economic boom from uranium mining. He fails to mention that the perception and stigma of uranium mining will drive many businesses away and will effectively kill future economic development in the region.

Over the years I have found that the only people who support uranium mining are those who are ignorant of the consequences and those who hope to make money from it. Both of these gentlemen seem to fit both of these categories as each is on the payroll of an institution that seeks to benefit from uranium mining at Coles Hill and neither seems to have knowledge of the many, deadly, documented health risks associated with uranium mining. Then again, maybe they just don’t care.

Water is worth more than uranium.

Jack Dunavant
Halifax, VA