Uranium mining in Virginia

Uranium mining has been a controversial topic in Virginia since 1982.

Some Virginians believe mining uranium could be detrimental to the health of the people in Virginia and to the environment.

The other side of the debate says that uranium mining would be very beneficial to Virginians by providing an enormous amount of money to city and county funds.

Both sides contribute several valid points as to why uranium mining should or should not occur.

Phillip Bowen, a local 38-year-old man who works at Sartomer, a nearby chemical plant. He has long been interested in uranium mining and has kept up with it on the news. “Uranium mining would be a great way to boost the economy. The conditions of local schools and public places would be improved immensely.” It should be noted that he would benefit because his family are part owners of the land where the uranium deposit is located.

Uranium mining could contribute to the improvement of Chatham High School in multiple aspects: such as more job openings, more money for funds to contribute to different areas of the school, and to better the education system. With the money that will become available after uranium mining, the school can invest in higher quality technology, more textbooks, and repairs and improvements of the physical plant of the school.

The detrimental effects of uranium mining include possible negative effects on the environment and on the health of local residents.

Living near uranium while it’s being mined has been known to lead to birth defects, cancer, and a weakened immune system. People who live near these sites are extremely against mining because they fear for their well-being.

Locally, they want to mine the uranium on the Coles’ farm. This mining in that location could endanger the waters of the  Roanoke River, the Banister River, Kerr Lake, and Lake Gaston (many of which provide drinking water for millions of Virginians) and is the biggest concern for the people who are against uranium mining.

Several students have negative views of uranium mining in our area.

Kaden Lilly, a junior at CHS who enjoys watching the news and keeping up with current events, said, “It can help the economy, but it causes more harm than good. I would rather have clean water instead of economic power.” He has stood strongly by this opinion since he was old enough to understand the topic.

Kiana Wright, a senior at Chatham High School who is a strongly opinionated person. She was recently introduced to the topic of uranium mining, and said “I don’t know much about it, but anything radioactive sounds wrong. I think they should leave it alone, obviously.”

Caleb Ford, a senior , said, “It is very dangerous for the environment and not a good idea.”

Danielle Snead, senior,  said “It is highly dangerous because it is radioactive.”