Virginia Uranium – Costs and Dangers
The state of Virginia has no laws or regulatory infrastructure specifically related to uranium mining. However, there are other concerns surrounding uranium mining in Virginia, including the costs and dangers. Continue reading to learn about these concerns and the dangers of uranium mining in Virginia. Also, find out what Virginia residents are saying about uranium mining. We are committed to preventing the spread of uranium and reducing the risks associated with it.
No laws specifically regulate uranium mining
There are no laws that specifically regulate uranium mining in Virginia. However, there are environmental associations that support regulations of uranium mining in the state. Environmental groups point to potential risks that uranium mining poses for local residents and the environment. The Roanoke River Basin Association and the Virginia Department of Mines and Minerals support regulations of uranium mining in Virginia.
There is no federal law regulating uranium mining in Virginia, and state regulations for worker protection and environmental protection apply. The Commonwealth of Virginia has had limited experience regulating uranium mining, although it has programs for other types of mining, including coal and hard-rock. This state-sponsored regulation of uranium mining in Virginia is the first of its kind. However, it may be too late to halt uranium mining in Virginia.
No regulatory infrastructure specifically for uranium mining
No regulatory infrastructure specifically for uranium mines in Virginia has prevented a coal-fueled uranium mine from opening in the state. In fact, the ban was extended in 1983. During this time, Virginia commissioned a study on the impact of uranium mining, but the preliminary study found that mining operations would limit land use. The University of Virginia’s Environmental and Regulatory Law Clinic, led by Cale Jaffe, wrote a brief supporting the ban. In response to the ban, Walter Coles formed Virginia Uranium to lobby for loosening the rules. However, as prices of uranium fell after the Chernobyl disaster, the mining ban was extended.
No regulatory infrastructure specifically for uranium mines in Virginia has been established, and the state has no experience with uranium mining. Additionally, the Virginians who are considering the moratorium did not request the state to approve it, and the authoring committee did not ask them to compare the risks of uranium mining to those of other fuels. Therefore, no uranium mines in Virginia have been approved.
Dangerous nature of uranium mining in Virginia
A recent report has found that uranium mining is one of the most dangerous industries on the planet. While the federal government has no authority over the mining process, the states have the authority to regulate it. A recent study from the Fairfax County Water Authority examined the effects of uranium mining on local watersheds. It was prepared by Fairfax firms Tetra Tech, Inc. and Hazen and Sawyer. It calls for a precautionary approach to mining uranium.
The company is disputing a study that finds uranium mine tailings could be a disaster if the uranium mining continues. During a recent earthquake, representatives of Virginia Uranium Inc. appeared before the Virginia Beach City Council. As Beach officials prepare for a potential hurricane this weekend, the company is making its case more difficult. Its argument is based on flawed science.
Cost of uranium mining in Virginia
The debate over the costs and benefits of uranium mining in Virginia has polarized the state’s southern residents. Proponents point to national best practices and hundreds of jobs for local residents. Opponents point to health, environmental and commercial risks. Some argue that uranium mining would actually benefit the state’s economy by creating hundreds of new jobs. Others question the benefits of uranium mining in a region with a wet climate.
A recent report by the National Research Council (NRC) on the cost of uranium mining and processing in Virginia provides useful information for policymakers and environmentalists. The committee’s report details issues that may arise if the state decides to lift its moratorium on uranium mining. It also provides best practices for uranium extraction and processing, from the initial stages of exploration to the final product.
Regulatory costs of uranium mining in Virginia
In addition to the costs of uranium extraction, the state faces other high-cost regulatory concerns. The uranium industry has a history of long periods of idling operations, especially when prices are low. This practice creates a significant regulatory burden. Virginia Energy Resources, Inc., a British Columbia-based exploratory mining company, has raised concerns about the lifting of its moratorium.
While many people support uranium mining in Virginia, the state has faced legal challenges. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and Jim Inhofe argued in a recent filing that Virginia must be regulated under the Atomic Energy Act, which prohibits uranium mining. However, these arguments were not successful. The owner of the development rights filed a petition to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the AEA preempts state regulation.