Virginia Uranium wants to mine uranium in Southside, Virginia. A state-ordered study , conducted by RTI International for the Danville Regional Foundation, released last week predicted the creation of jobs (up to 1,000) and an economic boost to the beleaguered Southside economy ($70 million to $220 million). But, it also says, that “even if the mine and mill meet or exceed regulatory standards, detectable concentrations of uranium and other constituents would be released from the facility into the surrounding environment.” Another study by the National Academy of Sciences is expected to be released next week. Environmentalist oppose the project.
Virginia Uranium hopes to persuade the General Assembly to repeal the nearly three-decade moratorium on uranium mining at its session in January.
Two uranium deposits were found three decades ago in Coles Hill, near Chatham, a small town in Pittsylvania. They begin at the ground’s surface, under land used to raise cattle, hay and timber, and run about 1,500 feet deep. Virginia Uranium tests indicate 119 million pounds of uranium - worth as much as $10 billion - are below the surface. That would be enough to supply all the country’s nuclear power plants for about two years or all of Virginia’s demands for 75 years. (Wash Post, 12/16/2011)