The largest untapped uranium deposit in the United States is known as the Coles Hill deposit which is located in Pittsylvania County (Southside Virginia). The deposit contains an estimated 119-million pounds of uranium, enough uranium to fuel Virginia's entire nuclear energy demand at current levels for more than 65 years, and America's for more than two years. Yet, a 25 year old moratorium on uranium mining in the commonwealth prohibits its development.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been studying the issue of uranium mining in Virginia for 18 months and has held numerous public fact-finding meetings across the state. The EPA has harsh standards for water quality to protect public water sources from contamination, and the regulations of mining tailings, the waste rock left over after mining is complete, and the NRC prevents the infiltration of radiation into the air, water and agriculture surrounding mining operations.
The Virginia General Assembly is waiting for the results of an independent study by the NAS on the public health and environmental impact before determining whether to lift the moratorium and draft legislation during the upcoming session to allow the development to proceed.
Seventy other groups including the NAACP and the Sierra Club have voiced opinions not to allow the mining to commence. See why they oppose the mining in the following article on Bloomberg Businessweek at NAACP: Keep Virginia ban on uranium mining.
The next meeting is scheduled for
Legislative Interim Meeting Notice:
Coal and Energy Commission Uranium Mining Subcommittee
Meeting Date: December 6, 2011
Place: Pittsylvania County Educational and Cultural Center