Some people, wait, some naive people think that after mining for ore, when the company leaves, and the pits are abandoned, the government steps right in and clean-up efforts start. Wake Up! This is not the case; there are many abandoned uranium mines which have not been cleaned up, after many years. Clean-up efforts have started after more than 20+ years have passed, as with mines in the 40s and 50s, recently being targeted. Clean-up is expensive in every sense and I guess prioritized as well, and you know how that goes.
Here is an article as an example of these “waiting to be cleaned up” abandoned uranium mines, which are leaking radioactive material in high amounts.
Uranium mining in North Dakota. South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming (there are many other sites) began in the 60s, and there are still sites oozing of radioactivity, waiting to be cleaned up. In the mean time, people close to the sites are getting sick and dying. The issue is not that the government refuses to clean it up, EPA wants to clean but reality says that it comes down to money/funds/budgets and clean-up is very expensive.
Virginians should start thinking not only about the potential hazards of mining uranium in a state that has propensity to heavy rains and storms, floods … but also, about the time that it would take for clean up efforts to arrive after the company leaves the site, and this is assuming that everything would go according to plan, regulatory laws, and well, peachy keen. I am not an expert, but in my eyes, I don’t see a win situation here for Virginia, give or take the economic gain; however, at what cost? I only see one winner, and they will be long gone before “someone” starts to clean-up the mess.
This is no brain surgery, common sense and other states (dry climate) experiences suggests an outcome. I pity the governor’s position – a sandwich between the people’s welfare and the state’s potential to become the energy capital of the East Coast (largest uranium deposit in the USA and one of the 7 largest worldwide) – not an easy decision. People or Money? But then, what is a state without healthy happy citizens? Yeap, I can smell the situation, all the way from here at the Jersey shore.
Please, if you care don’t forget to sign the petition to keep the ban on uranium mining permanent. Here is the link. http://keeptheban.org/?page_id=38
Remember, today it is Chatham, VA backyard, tomorrow it might be your own backyard. Yellow Cake is being offered, but this is no birthday party!