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Study On Virginia Uranium Mining To Start Soon

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By Matt McCleskey

A scientific study on proposed uranium mining in Virginia could begin this winter and be wrapped up within two years.

Virginia has prohibited uranium mining since 1982. But a deposit of uranium ore beneath Pittsylvania County is estimated to be worth between $8 billion and $10 billion and a company called Virginia Uranium Inc. wants to mine it. For that to happen, the general assembly would have to lift the ban.

Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore serves as chairman of the Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy. He detailed the timeline for a study of the proposal this week, saying it should get underway this winter once details are finalized with the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Governor-elect Bob McDonnell says the proposal's economic benefits would have to be balanced against its environmental effects. He says he wants to see the results of the study before taking a position.

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