Monday, October 19, 2009


The Richmond Times-Dispatch published a letter last month entitled “Mined Uranium Is Harmless Mineral” written by William Schmidt, a long-time power company employee.

We at Southside Concerned Citizens (SCC) have found that Schmidt’s half truths and distortions are typical of many paid nuclear power proponents. Schmidt spoke about weeks of exposure, a U. N. study showing no increased risk of lung cancer in uranium miners, and alpha radiation being harmless. Here is what he didn’t tell us:

Alpha radiation lasts forever (millions of years), and it accumulates in the body.

“Uranium in groundwater leads to health hazards.”

“Normal functioning of kidney, brain, liver, heart and other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because, in addition to being weakly radioactive, uranium is a toxic metal. Uranium is also a reproductive toxicant.”

“---absorbed uranium tends to bio-accumulate and stay for many years in bone tissue---”

“Alpha radiation is not dangerous to life unless it is inhaled or ingested---it is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation—and can cause any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning”.

“It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is 100 times greater than that caused by equivalent amounts of other radiation.”

“Not only do alphas themselves cause damage, but approximately equal ionization is caused by the recoiling nucleus after alpha emission, and this energy may in turn be especially damaging to genetic material.”

“Miners who worked in uranium filled mines have a very high incidence of cancer relative to the rest of the United States population. Though the Navajo workers and families noticed this in the 1950s, bureaucrats dragged their feet and companies ignored their warnings.”

(Quotes are from Wikipedia’s research of available worldwide information. Also note that our govt. won’t release much health related information related to uranium for liability reasons.)


Let me repeat the above revelation concerning alpha radiation: Alpha radiation is dangerous to life when it is inhaled or ingested!

Well, duh! Guess what uranium mining does? It blasts and crushes solid bedrock into a fine powdery dust. Then the problems become three-fold:
1. How can the dust be confined to the site during the 40 year mining period?

2. How can a mountain of toxic, radioactive, powdery waste 200ft. tall by 400ft. wide and 14.2 miles long be kept out of our streams?

3. How can millions of cubic feet of deadly radon gas be confined to the site?
The answer to each of the three questions is the same: it cannot be done.

It is also important to remember that aside from being radioactive in all of its configurations, uranium is a toxic heavy metal which has proven to poison and genetically alter humans and animals.

Imagine the devastation to the farming community! Who would buy crops from tainted fields? Who would buy meat products raised on tainted fields or tainted waters?

Imagine the blow to tourism!

Now guess who would be the first candidate for a high level (and low) uranium waste repository? Virginia!


Our Governor has the power to veto any legislation passed by the General Assembly; and that makes this year’s election so very important.

Creigh Deeds is a past member of SCC who has studied the uranium mining issue in depth and has vowed to oppose any uranium mining legislation that threatens the health, safety and welfare of the people.

Bob McDonnell, on the other hand, is a big business Republican who puts corporate profits above the welfare of people. As Attorney General, McDonnell ruled that towns, cities and counties do not have the power to enact legislation to protect their citizens from uranium mining.

Furthermore, he said he will “wait and see what the study says”. Those are buzz words used by the paid supporters of uranium mining! Also, remember the study will be paid for by Virginia Uranium Inc..

VUI is a well funded organization that employs as many as 25 lobbyists to do their dirty work, and they are adept at greasing the palms of pliable politicians. If We, The People, do not stand up for our rights we will have uranium mining with all its problems shoved down our throats.


Jack Dunavant, P.E.
Chariman, Southside Concerned Citizens

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