Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Uranium mining opponents present `yellowcake’ to legislators

Opponents of a plan by Virginia Uranium Inc. to mine the radioactive material in Pittsylvania County are in Richmond today to ask legislators to keep a moratorium on mining–in place since 1982–in effect. A coalition of conservation groups were making the point by presenting lawmakers with “yellowcake” cupcakes with the message: “”These yellow cakes are not harmful–but making uranium yellowcake and leaving behind radioactive waste in Virginia is. Protect our health, our heritage and our future. Keep the Ban on Uranium Mining in Virginia.” Yellowcake is  a mixture of uranium oxides used to make  fuel for nuclear reactors. Gov. Bob McDonnell last week said the General Assembly should do nothing this year to lift a ban on uranium mining, but that he  does want a work ing group to draft regulations to help determine whether uranium could be safely mined in Virginia.  Some Southside business representatives and Republican legislators also said more study is needed. See  Chelyen Davis’ story here.  Among the groups making the pitch today are the Virginia Conservation Network and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club.  Virginia Uranium contends mining and milling can be done safely, while protecting the environment.

VCN director Nathan Lott says the network “works on a broad range of environmental issues all across the state, but never have I seen such an issue galvanize people like the prospect of uranium mining. Black and white, urban and rural, Republican  and Democrat–Virginians agree that mining is just too risky.”