A state-ordered study of uranium in Southside Virginia concludes the region would receive substantial benefits. Opponents say the study is inconclusive — especially on health and environmental impacts — and concerns over those possible impacts extend as far as Roanoke. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.
[audio:http://wfirnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/12-01-Uranium-Wrap2-WEB.mp3|titles=12-01 Uranium Wrap2-WEB]The 179-page study released yesterday says mining uranium near Chatham in Pittsylvania County would generate more than 1,000 jobs for a region suffering some of the state’s highest unemployment. The report also predicts millions of dollars in new tax revenues a year.
Opponents say the study does not adequately address environmental concerns, and that’s where Roanoke comes in. Councilman Sherman Lea grew up in Southside. He says Roanoke is close enough to face adverse health consequences if high winds picked up radioactive uranium dust and blew it our way.
There is an estimated $10 billion worth of uranium at the site 50 miles from Roanoke. Virginia currently bans uranium mining. Roanoke City Council passed a resolution last month urging that ban to remain in place for one more year.