What a sad day this is! Virginia has been sold down the river by a handful of greedy bastards. I hope someone will involve the Union of Concerned Scientists to provide oversight and report on any irregularity, no matter how small, to the people as proof positive of the folly of letting the foxes mingle with they call the chickens but which have no feathers.
By John Crane
Published: September 2, 2009
The chairman of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission says Virginia Uranium Inc. will pay for the state study to determine whether uranium can be mined and milled safely in the commonwealth.
Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-1st District and chairman of the VCEC, said he will send a letter to the National Academy of Sciences to let officials there know VUI will fund the study.
Kilgore said he understands concerns about VUI financially backing the study, but the NAS’s research abilities are “great.”
“I think they will come out with a good study, a thorough study,” Kilgore said Wednes-day.
So far, the sole entity that has expressed willingness to pay for the study is VUI.
“It looks like that’s our only option,” Kilgore said.
The study’s first portion, which will examine the technical and public-safety aspects of mining and milling, will cost between $1.2-$1.4 million, Kilgore said. Virginia Tech’s Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research will implement funding and will contract with the NAS for the study. The study’s first phase should begin by the end of the year, Kilgore said.
VUI seeks to mine and mill a 119-million pound uranium ore deposit at Coles Hill, about six miles northeast of Chatham. Walter Coles Sr., VUI chairman, said he has expressed willingness to provide funding for the study since the beginning, but has not spoken to Kilgore.
“We’ve had this offer on the table since day one,” Coles said, adding that he hopes the VCEC will continue to look for other funding sources.
Mining opponents say a study paid for with VUI money will not be objective.
“It certainly reduces the credibility of the study in a hurry,” said Eloise Nenon, a founding member of Southside Concerned Citizens. Nenon said the NAS is known to be pro-nuclear.
“The study is going to be tainted by the money,” said Jack Dunavant, SCC chairman. “We know [sic] this would happen all along.”
The study’s second part would focus on mining’s socio-economic impact, including effects on real-estate values and businesses, Kilgore said. The VCEC will seek another institution, such as George Mason University or James Madison University, to perform the second portion of the study. Kilgore said the second phase would probably begin in early 2010.
The scope of the study’s first phase includes, among additional items, examination of public-safety and health impact of uranium mining and milling; review of the geologic, environmental, geographic, climatic and cultural settings and exploration status of uranium resources in Virginia; identification and description of the main types of uranium deposits worldwide, including, for example, geologic characteristics, mining opera-tions and best practices; a review of global and national uranium market trends; a review of the state and federal regulatory framework for uranium mining, milling, processing and reclamation; identification of the issues that may need to be considered regarding the quality and quantity of groundwater and surface water and the quality of soil and air from uranium mining, milling, processing and reclamation; as relevant, water and waste management and severe weather effects or other stochastic events may also be considered.