Thursday, January 06, 2011

Virginia is not set up for Uranium Mining.

Think about it....the issue is NOT jobs. That's the camouflage to put everyone at risk so a "Few" can make billions and leave the rest of us with the clean up bills.

If the US government can't control the corporations that are destroying our environment the how can Virginia's state government even hope to regulate the uranium interests?


J. Tyler Ballance said...

Here's how:

1. Conduct a baseline study of the ambient radiation levels in the area where mining and processing will be done.

2. Provide a notice to local citizens as to what the local levels currently are and what are the recognized low-risk" levels of radiation. The typical citizen gets about 380 mRem per year. citizens who live near Uranium mines, also get about 380 mRem per year.

3. Provide data to local citizens with regard to the safety records of other US and international Uranium mining and processing operations.

4. Before mining and processing goes forward, the mining company must fund the full cost of restoration the land and escrow those funds, to ensure site restoration is completed, even should the company go bankrupt.

5. Install a network of radiacs to continuously monitor and report radiation in the air, soil and water.

6. Begin mining and processing, enjoy economic benefits to the community, and should a release of radioactive material occur, implement pre-determined containment and clean-up procedures. According to EPA research, you can find radiation levels in your garden soil similar to the low levels in a Uranium plant's settling ponds, so even if a release occurs, it is so low in radiation as to not pose a threat to anyone.

We have to achieve energy independence for the United States or face a future of endless "energy wars." The sooner we get serious about energy independence, the better. Tree huggers needn't give-up on the idea of good stewardship, but instead we must embrace well thought out plans that will achieve our goal of energy independence.

Star Womanspirit said...

a quick response--Number 4--you must be dreaming or you live in Disney World. Profits are privatized but the costs go to the taxpayer. The waste MUST be safeguarded for 3,000 years yet the Uranium Mining Corporation only has to put up the funds for 300 years leaving the remaining 2700 years to be paid for by the tax payers.
Just a bunch of scoundrels trying to get corporate welfare at the public trough. NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT PROFITABLE....It has to be on a privatized profits with us picking up the costs.
Our taxes should be paying for safe, clean energy that will save us all money.....not rob us blind.

J. Tyler Ballance said...

I am familiar with spent fission pellets, and their safe storage, but I have never heard of any requirement for safeguarding uranium mining tailings for 3,000 years.

For pit type mines, I have seen the mines capped, with any top layer debris plowed back into the mine, followed by several top layers of clay then topsoil. Could you mean, monitoring for 3,000 years?

It is as if you are reading entirely different reference material than the nuclear safety manuals that I am familiar with.

If you don't mind, I would genuinely like to take a look at whatever you are referring to. If you can provide a link, that would be convenient, but otherwise just a document title would suffice.

Star Womanspirit said...


First off that's an impressive list. I'm living in a state that can't even competently manage their road system...I'll put up potholes as simple evidence here. Why in the world would I think that Virginia can competently manage these Uranium corporations? At least they have experience at working with the roads.

They have to ATTEMPT to protect the water and I believe this is the protection they have to fund for 300 of the 3000 years that it will be needed.

Don't forget Virginia is a WET state. Uranium has never been mined safely in the desert and it has NEVER been mined safely in a wet state. Even if they did manage to provide the means to safeguard the underground water they don't have any way to prevent contaminating our water when (and it is when not if) there's a flood. Then our water will definitely be contaminated and don't forget there will be no way to clean up our water once it's radioactive.

(Which is probably why the NAS study is NOT studying "safety" of uranium mining in VA....remember this is the study that they want to use to say it's okay to mine uranium in VA...maybe the "spin" will be that the benefits outweigh the risks. Unfortunately the benefits are greatly exaggerated...stating 3-5oo jobs will be created when the reality is more like 20 percent of what they are predicting...and they haven't told the local citizens that the majority of the good paying jobs will most likely be given to experienced equipment operators who will "relocate" to the area.

We surely don't want Virginia to be the guinea pig just so a few folks can get very very rich while the rest of us risk higher taxes, a big hit to our tourism industry, our home values, a negative impact on the number of future businesses relocating here...the list of negatives goes on and on now doesn't it?

REMEMBER URANIUM IS PLENTIFUL WATER IS NOT. Our nuclear power stations predict no shortage of uranium and they can get as much as they want to run their plants.

Water is blue gold and corporations around the world are trying to buy it up. Why should we risk one of our state's most valuable resources--water--so a few folks can get very very rich at the expense of millions of people? Just doesn't make sense to me. CLEAN water is scarce and becoming more valuable with each passing day.

J. Tyler Ballance said...


Does what you wrote mean that you don't have any reference, regarding what I asked about?

I am trying to get people away from the emotional, fear of the unknown, and share real, quantitative data.

For example, the concern for ground water is based on what quantitative measurements from other sites?

Given that radiation is naturally occurring, and we all receive various amounts from the environment, what is the real, (not imagined) impact of Uranium mining and processing to the neighboring community?

If run off from Uranium tailings flow into a river that has a flow rate of X and a pH of Y, will the amount of leachate from the tailings create an unsafe level of radiation in the river or surrounding ground water?

What I have read from the EPA so far, is that settling ponds, have a radiation level comparable to garden soil. Unless their data is wrong, it appears that barring some new information, Uranium mining in Pittsylvania will not present a significant health risk to anyone, now or in the future.

I will keep an open mind to any new research information, and urge our fellow citizens to do the same.

Star Womanspirit said...

Tyler...there is nothing emotional or fear of the unknown about the FACT THAT URANIUM HAS NEVER BEEN SAFELY MINED IN A WET STATE LIKE VA. If you think it has why don't you put up the proof of this?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ballance. Please provide a link or name of the EPA document to which you refer.

J. Tyler Ballance said...

There are multiple sources of this sort of estimate. However, do not lose sight of the issue at hand:

We need real baseline data from the Pittsylvania area that will allow the citizens to make decisions based on acceptable levels of risk. Then we need a continuous monitoring program, as mining and processing proceeds.

Star Womanspirit said...

Don't forget that if the moratorium is lifted it's NOT just for the Pittsylvania area it's for the entire state.

You who wants others to supply information have continued to ignore my request for the proof that you have that uranium mining has been safely mined anywhere in the world. I say it has never been mined in a wet state like Virginia. You have not offered any evidence to the contrary Tyler.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ballance. You state that you "have read from the EPA so far, is that settling ponds, have radiation levels comparable to garden soil." Please provide documentation to support your statement. Until then, your statement is bogus.

You also state, "We need real baseline data from the Pittsylvania area that will allow citizens to make decisions..." Why just Pittsylvania County? Other areas in Virginia have had uranium leases in the past. Your statement assumes that citizens have the power to make decisions regarding mining in their community. If the current ban on uranium is lifted, the entire state is open to uranium mining. The decision will have been made by the General Assembly, with the aid of the uranium mining industry's paid lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

J Tyler--You remind me of Karl've got a lot of talk but it is not based on facts and it does not make the dialogue productive. You muddy up the dialogue, disparage concerned citizens (you say they are emotional and fearful). Concerned citizens are needed in any democracy. Concerned citizens are what makes a healthy community. Without them we will be nothing but a banana republic where multinational corporations can rape and plunder the community resources. Your goal seems to be in assisting the "special interests."

This is how corporate welfare works isn't it? I prefer working for the community's welfare.

Hopefully I'm wrong in my assessment of you and you are some paid lobbyist (or one of their paid minions). IF so, please do the work and research. I believe if you do so you will soon be advocating that Virginia maintain the ban on uranium.

I contend that uranium mining will literally drive away some businesses that are currently located here and will be a decisive factor that will prevet news businesses from locating in VA. So if jobs are important to you you will want to maintain this ban.

Contrary to the spin uranium mining will cost us jobs. I believe more jobs will be lost than gained.

Anonymous said...

oops...above is supposed to read that you are NOT some paid lobbyist......

J. Tyler Ballance said...

I am NOT a lobbyist; just seeking an honest, fact-based discussion.

So far, no facts have been presented here that would persuade anyone to vote against Uranium mining in Virginia, but some questions have been raised that warrant further research, such as: Does it matter that Pittsylvania may have more annual precipitation, than at other U.S. mining sites?

Cargosquid said...

Apparently ANON didn't read the comments. J. Tyler Ballance did list his EPA source.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of an honest fact based discussion. For all their rhetoric Virginia Uranium is not open to Virgiia Beach's scientific water study preferring to call it a fantasy. I believe the Virginia Uranium supporters are living in a fantasy if they believe their will be no flooding situations here in Virginia. They need to go back to the territory they know (the desert) where they continue to contaminate the water supplies there. It's a fantasy to think they can mine Uranium safely in Virginia. Instead of our Virginia Assembly being rushed into a vote next Dec. Jan we eed to slow this down so a sound decision can be made. We definitely need time to study the issues and to make sure that Virginia does not lose more jobs than jobs gained with this endeavor, to make sure that the mining company puts up enough money into a trust fund to take care of the worst case scenario (so Virginia tax payers are not left footing the bill), and most importantly to make sure that our greatest, most valuable, and resource--clean water--is not put at risk.

a said...
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