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Va. Study Group Releases Uranium Mining Report

One of the more contentious issues involves the milling of the ore, which involves the separation of radioactive-laced rock that is stored in containment units for generations. While the company has said it will store the waste in below-grade containment units to minimize the risk of uranium-laced waste entering public water supplies and farm fields, opponents are not convinced the waste called tailings would be secure during an intense storm or torrential rains.

Several Hampton Roads cities that draw their water supplies from Lake Gaston in Southside Virginia oppose mining, fearing the contamination of drinking water.

The working group outlines the regulatory options on that aspect of mining: the state or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"Virginia can regulate the mill by developing and fully staffing a program that is compatible with the NRC's regulatory requirements, which would require a significant dedication of resources... "the working group states in the typical how-to approach if the report.

The report is among many that have examined uranium mining, from the scientific to the economic. A study by the National Academy of Science completed one year ago did not specifically assess the Virginia Uranium property, but concluded the state would face formidable challenges to ensure the safe mining and milling of uranium.

___

Steve Szkotak can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sszkotakap .

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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