23 April 2009
I AM DISAPPOINTED at the lack of progress toward the study of safely mining uranium in Pittsylvania County and The Virginian-Pilot's openly negative stance on the pursuit of safe mining.
Surely, all citizens should want a fully objective study, but I disagree with the implication in your editorial 'In uranium study, ensure independence' (April 1) that those who are 'sitting on a pile of uranium ore' have concocted a 'cynical ploy to discredit organizations with legitimate interests in the process.' You seem to have convicted Virginia Uranium Inc. of placing financial gain ahead of safety and principle; yet the company first requested the unbiased study, funded by the state.
A bigger issue is your failure to acknowledge the potential benefit. We currently import the vast majority of our nuclear fuel. Doesn't it make sense to at least try to find a way to mine this resource safely? Your contention that Virginia Uranium 'should be required to turn over the full amount for the study up front, rather than parsing it out over the course of the research' is laughable. If the first phase of the study conclusively determined the project unsafe, why continue it? The rest of the cost of the study could be diverted to another project that might bear economic fruit.
Perhaps the biggest issue is that the loudest objections to a study seem to be predicated upon the impact of decisions made decades before advances in technology and safety regulations.
Become informed, encourage the study. Let facts, not fear and ignorance, determine the future of nuclear energy for the production of electric power.