By Fred Echols, Virginia Public Radio
Uranium mining is potentially big business in Virginia. There's so much uranium underneath the state's Piedmont region that 30 years ago mining leases were granted in four counties -- Orange, Madison, Culpeper and Fauquier -- and exploration was underway all along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge.
That got enough people upset that the Virginia General Assembly was persuaded to put a moratorium on uranium mining in 1982, a ban that's never been lifted.
A company called Virginia Uranium wants to change that so it can recover billions of dollars worth of the mineral in Pittsylvania County. Environmentalists say lifting the ban would open the door to mining operations across the Commonwealth.