The Virginia Coalition

Facebook iconTwitter icon

About Us   |   Home

The Virginia Coalition is a diverse group of current Southside Virginia job creators who are concerned about the health of our employees and workforce, as well as our future ability to recruit new companies and employees into the region given the health implications of uranium mining.  We are CEO's, business owners, entrepreneurs, economic developers and current and former legislators who have a simple request: READ The Reports before voting on a matter with such far reaching ramifications.

More resources are available at CommonHealth Virginia; visit the site.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in watershed contamination

Other site-specific findings in this report include the following:

  • Unlike most U.S. uranium mining sites, which occur in desert or semi-desert, sparsely-populated regions, the Coles Hill site is wet, with annual precipitation equal to about 42 inches. Most importantly, within a radius of 2 to 3 miles, Coles Hill has roughly 250 private wells, at least one dairy and numerous hay / forage fields, which are liable to be impacted.
  • Virginia Uranium has failed to present any sort of detailed project proposal, in writing. The verbally-described plans have changed constantly, depending on the audience. Hence the public has no way of reliably knowing the details of the proposed mining and mineral processing methods, or the related impacts.
  • The project as proposed may generate at least 28 million tons of solid uranium mill tailings and roughly the same amount of liquid waste. The solid wastes would remain on site forever, requiring maintenance forever. Uranium mill tailings would contain radionuclides, heavy metals and other toxic elements.
  • Undiluted tailings liquids may contain 1160 to 1460 times the existing Safe Drinking Water Act standard for uranium. Undiluted tailings liquids may contain 2300 to 2900 times the allowable uranium concentrations when compared to the short-term Canadian aquatic life guidelines.
  • The confirmed presence of sulfides in the Coles Hill rock raises the possibility that long-term, active water treatment may be required, in perpetuity.
  • Numerous factors (i.e., natural permeability of the rock due to fractures and faults; increased fracturing due to mine blasting; open or leaking boreholes and blastholes; high permeability in the nearby sediments; long-term degradation of tailings liners and other mine structures; and seismic activity) combine to provide long-term pathways for the migration of contaminants into local waters.
  • As proposed, the Coles Hill project would require over 5 billion gallons of water. During the start-up period, the project would use at least 525.6 million gallons per year.
  • It has been estimated that at least 136 million gallons of ground water (mostly) would flow into the open pit, per year. This water would become contaminated with numerous radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants. To allow mining, this contaminated water must be pumped out of the pit and discharged to some undefined location.
  • The Coles Hill project may use over 2,030 tons of explosive per year, releasing potentially-toxic concentrations of nitrate, ammonia, and other organic compounds into the environment.
  • Such a project would cause long-term, chronic degradation of water quality and increase water competition in the region.
  • Statistically-adequate baseline data (water quality, quantity, etc.) have never been collected, compiled and interpreted, or released to the public. Thus, the public has no reliable “yardstick” against which to demonstrate that changes have occurred, or not.
  • There is no credible evidence to indicate that either the Federal or State regulatory agencies have sufficient staff, budgets, or political clout to adequately- oversee and enforce the appropriate regulations.
  • All such large-scale uranium projects involve trade-offs, usually some short-term jobs, etc. in exchange for long-term impacts (environmental, socioeconomic, etc.), most of which are paid by future generations. Thus, many of the long-term costs will be subsidized by the public.

(bold Moran's)

p. 2-3, Moran Report

Hits: 1085 0 Comments

Virginia is subject to relatively frequent storms that produce intense rainfall. It is questionable whether currently-engineered tailings repositories could be expected to prevent erosion and surface and groundwater contamination for as long as 1,000 years. Natural events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, intense rainfall, or drought could lead to the release of contaminants if facilities are not designed and constructed to withstand such events, or if they fail to perform as designed.

The failure of a tailings facility could lead to significant human health and environmental effects. Failure of an aboveground tailings dam, for example due to flooding, would allow a significant sudden release of ponded water and solid tailings into rivers and lakes. The precise impacts of any uranium mining and processing operation would depend on a range of specific factors for the particular site. Therefore, a thorough site characterization, supplemented by air quality and hydrological modeling, would be essential for estimating any potential environmental impacts and for designing facilities to mitigate potential impacts. Additionally, until comprehensive site-specific risk assessments are conducted, including accident and failure analyses, the shortterm risks associated with natural disasters, accidents, and spills remain poorly defined. (Bold ours - RTR)

p. 15, National Academies of Science Uranium Mining in Virginia report

Hits: 746 0 Comments

"Chmura is aware that watershed safety issues are potentially the most volatile issues involved in the uranium mining and milling process. Chmura is not in a position to determine the likelihood of the risks associated with potential water contamination, because the type of mining operation to be employed and its tailings management system would first need to be established. However, the probability distribution of these water-related risks deserves additional study and consideration. Chmura has provided some suggestions for the sources of funding that would offset the costs of all items included in this section." (Bold ours - RTR)

p. 17, Chmura report

Hits: 608 0 Comments