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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Jane Van Ryan’s April 2 commentary, “A troubling result on uranium,” neglects some pertinent facts.
Van Ryan claims Virginia Uranium has made a compelling case for lifting the ban on uranium mining. Not so. In actuality, a compelling case to keep the ban has resulted from the various reports that have been issued on the subject.
She indicates that the Uranium Working Group was created by the General Assembly. It was not. Gov. Bob McDonnell created the UWG.
Van Ryan neglects the fact that in addition to uranium mining, mills will process the ore and necessitate disposal of radioactive and hazardous wastes that will require hundreds of years of oversight and maintenance at taxpayer expense.
She also neglects mention of the large and growing number of individuals, elected officials and business leaders, who constitute the “keep the ban coalition.” Coalition members may be viewed at keeptheban.org.
Van Ryan appears ignorant of the fact that the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, after looking at reports and interviewing people, decided to support the ban. She appears unaware that more than 50 physicians at Danville Regional Medical Center signed and submitted a petition to legislators in support of keeping the ban and indicated they would relocate if the region opened to uranium mining.
Van Ryan should know, as an energy writer, that the yellow cake from Coles Hill would be sold as a commodity on the global market and would not necessarily find its way to any of the existing reactors in America. As an energy writer, perhaps she will investigate the question of how much fossil fuel will be needed to mine uranium, build and operate the mill and machinery at Coles Hill over its lifetime.
Van Ryan neglects to mention that bills by Sen. John Watkins that may have resulted in lifting the ban were withdrawn by the patron. Watkins’ proposal to single out Southside for the East Coast radioactive waste repository met with fierce opposition from elected officials and residents in both Virginia and North Carolina.
The fact is that peer-reviewed science has outlined challenges and risks to health, water and the economy associated with uranium mining, milling and centuries of radioactive/hazardous waste storage. Virginia is not willing to take that risk.
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