Date published: 1/24/2012
As the 2012 General Assembly session approaches, the fate of Fredericksburg's access to safe, clean drinking water is in the hands of legislators as they face a decision on whether to lift the 30-year ban on uranium mining in Virginia.
The discussion of lifting the ban, while focused on Southside Virginia, could affect the water supplies of Fredericksburg and of Spotsylvania, Orange, and Fairfax counties.
According to the newly released National Academy of Sciences report, there are more than 50 occurrences of uranium across Virginia. Uranium exploratory leases along the Rapidan River in the 1980s show that if the ban is lifted, renewed interest in these areas could make this farmland a viable mining target.
However, no matter where uranium is mined, it's clear that uranium mining in Virginia is a risky experiment. Uranium mining and proc-essing produces millions of tons of radioactive waste containing numerous heavy metals and radioactive substances.
Virginia's extreme weather can overwhelm waste storage facilities, rendering downstream water supplies useless.
I look to state Sen. Bryce Reeves to protect the health of the economy and of the community by supporting the current ban on uranium mining.