There are continued questions about the viability of uranium mining in Virginia, where the practice is currently banned.
According to the online newspaper godanriver.com, in December 2016 lawyers representing the Virginia Attorney General’s office responded to a lawsuit filed by Virginia Uranium, Inc., that demands permission to dig for a 119-million-pound uranium deposit just outside of Chatham, Va.
The state’s lawyers claim it is uncertain whether the 119-million-pound estimate is accurate and point out that the current market price for uranium is just over half the break-even point for the project.
They also denied that uranium mining is safe, citing an example of a mining operation in Germany that exposed people to the waste and cost $3.6 billion to clean up.
Uranium exposure is associated with cancer, birth defects and liver and kidney damage. A study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the state’s humid climate and frequent powerful storms make its water supplies especially susceptible to contamination from uranium mining.
In 2013, a bill to lift the ban on uranium mining in the commonwealth was withdrawn before it made its way to the floor of the Virginia Senate. — Carl Blankenship