Uranium mining shelved in Virginia—for now
Facing political realities, the company that has been pushing to develop a uranium mine in southern Virginia has put its plans on hold. That should bring a sigh of relief to the 1.1 million people in Virginia and North Carolina whose water supplies would be downstream from the mining operation and its waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years. After Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe took a bold stance on this issue and pledged to veto any pro-uranium legislation that reached his desk, the parent company of Virginia Uranium, Inc., disclosed that it is suspending its campaign to repeal the state’s longstanding ban on uranium mining. Working with a broad coalition of local governments, business leaders, health advocates, and conservation groups, SELC has been a leading defender of the ban and will continue to educate decision-makers about the health and environmental risks of lifting the freeze. We will also continue to highlight a National Academy of Sciences study that confirmed many of our concerns about uranium mining in Virginia, where hurricanes, heavy rains, and other severe weather events can overwhelm waste systems.