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  • $10 Billion Worth of Safe Power Just Waiting To Be Tapped

    The Chinese, Russians, and Indians are planning to build a combined 159 new nuclear power plants. They are going to need uranium. Fortunately for us, there is an estimated $10 billion worth of uranium, the seventh largest in the world, sitting in Virginia. Unfortunately, like every other front on energy, there are environmental regulations standing between us and energy. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Max Schultz writes in the Wall Street Journal:

    James Kelly, who directed the nuclear engineering program at the University of Virginia for many years, says that fears about uranium mining are wildly overblown. “It’s an aesthetic nightmare, but otherwise safe in terms of releasing any significant radioactivity or pollution,” he told me. “It would be ugly to look at, but from the perspective of any hazard I wouldn’t mind if they mined across the street from me.”

    The situation is rich with irony as well as uranium. While you can’t mine yellowcake, it is perfectly legal in Virginia to process enriched uranium into usable nuclear fuel, which is somewhat dangerous to handle. A subsidiary of the French nuclear giant Areva operates a fuel fabrication facility in Lynchburg 50 miles from Chatham. It has been praised by Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, as a good corporate citizen. The state is also home to four commercial nuclear reactors, which provide Virginians with 35% of their electricity. And, of course, the U.S. Navy operates nuclear ships out of Norfolk, Va.

    Heritage research fellow Jack Spencer wrote earlier this year:

    Nuclear energy is becoming globally recognized as a safe, affordable, clean source of energy. Uranium is an important and necessary component of nuclear energy, and firms choosing to pursue uranium mining should not be unnecessarily burdened by fear and government overreach. Uranium mining occurs all over the world, and the United States should realize its potential to increase America’s share of the uranium mining sector. It has proven to be safe for workers, the public, and the environment and is critical to the ability of the U.S. to enjoy all of the advantages that accrue from expansion of nuclear power.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to $10 Billion Worth of Safe Power Just Waiting To Be Tapped

    1. Concerned citizen, V says:

      (Interesting post on rightrunner's blog…)

      Virginia native said…

      Clean? Uranium mining and milling has never been clean, and the effects are well documented. It's the neighbors with private water wells in the rural but populated area who are extremely concerned about Virginia Uranium's plans to likely conduct open pit mining (rather than the more "benign" ISL method) in a climate prone to severe weather such as flash flooding, tornadoes, high wind warnings, etc. Wyoming's own DEQ released a Nov. 2007 investigation into how environmentally-friendly the Smith-Highland Ranch mine has become, which everyone should read. Oh yeah, and Goliad County, Texas, announced earlier this year its intent to sue a uranium co. in federal court on claims of contaminating drinking water. Then there's Cameco alerting officials that, oops, they may have contaminated Lake Ontario. How many more examples do you want from legitimate resources that uranium mining and milling is not "clean" or "green"? Want to talk about the carbon footprint? How much CO2 do you think is emitted with all the trucking, digging, etc., for a huge open pit mine(s)? It's the dirtiest end of the nuclear cycle, except for that nasty toxic waste that has to be kept from anything living for thousands of years. It's real easy for anyone not living in Virginia to cry "dig it up" when they won't have to live beside a wasteland or watch their property values plummet when big industry announces their plans to harvest radioactive ore in their countryside neighborhood. Oh, and I don't see anyone screaming about why the US helped broker a deal for a Canadian company to get all of Saddam's yellowcake?? Virginia residents have every God-given right to want to protect their natural resources — and their pristine acreage — for future generations. Check out http://www.wise-uranium.org for a worldly perspective on uranium news. (And this was submitted by someone who is NOT a card-carrying member of any environmental group.)

    2. Donald Pay, Wisconsi says:

      The Western U.S. is still dotted with abandoned uranium mines, and most of the abandoned mills have been cleaned up with tax money. I suggest you, Spencer and Loris take some time to view the results of a lax regulatory environment.

    3. Pingback: Why Won’t Virginia Allow Uranium Mining?

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