Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why hasn’t this issue gone away?

Why hasn’t this issue gone away?

The Editorial Board | Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013 6:15 am
To the editor:

I would like to make a couple of common sense observations about the uranium mining issue.
But first let me make it clear that I do know about what I’m talking. I have been trained in the preparation and handling of radioactive and bio hazardous materials. I have a degree in nuclear medicine and have worked in this field for over 20 years.

The first observation I would like to make is that nuclear power plants are designed by people with Ph.D.'s and operated by people with master’s degrees and still accidents happen. I’m not speaking of accidents like Three Mile Island, but the more common spills and venting of radioactive gasses. These accidents happen far more often than you might think. The public is not informed because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not require it.

I am sure the mining operation at Coles Hill will follow the "ALARA" (as low as reasonably attainable) guidelines set forth by the NRC but, a mining operation is much less controllable than operating a reactor. There will be accidents. A spill can be not split and the venting of radioactive gas or dust cannot be unvented. The radiation will be allowed to dissipate and disperse or perhaps scraped up. If the owner of the mine lived next door to it and his family drank the water and breathed the air I might be moved, but a corporation in Canada wants to do the mining.

I say, no way.

Second, it is said that the mine would boost the area’s economic situation, but let’s think about it. Look at the other places where mining is the way of life. Do they look healthy and prosperous?
The top-paying jobs will not go to local people, they will go to people brought in with the proper education. And there is nothing saying where these people will live and pay taxes.

That only leaves 10-20 heavy equipment operators plus the taxes the mine will pay while it is in operation. And once the mine has played out, there goes your economic impact but your environmental problems will remain. I have lived here for 14 years, but I don’t know if I would move here knowing uranium mining was going on.

And finally, if this issue is so unpopular, I wonder why it hasn’t gone away? Why do our representatives in government keep it alive? Is it because big business and big money talk? Virginia Uranium, the mining company, has opened an office across the street from the courthouse in Chatham.