Americans for Prosperity endorses uranium mining in Southside Va.

Americans for Prosperity, a group that supports limited government and free trade, announced its support Tuesday for uranium mining in Southside Virginia.

“The Coles Hill project has the potential to turn around Pittsylvania County, one of the most economically-distressed parts of the commonwealth,” said Audrey Jackson, the group’s state director. “It is time for Virginia to embrace safe, clean energy and the job-creating benefits it provides.”

Two uranium deposits were found three decades ago in Coles Hill, near Chatham, a small town in Pittsylvania. They begin at the ground’s surface, under land used for cattle, and run about 1,500 feet deep.

Virginia Uranium said tests indicate that about 119 million pounds of uranium — worth as much as $10 billion — are below the surface. It is the world’s seventh-largest known deposit — enough to supply all U.S. nuclear power plants for about two years or Virginia’s demands for 75 years.

On Monday, a highly anticipated report by the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering said that “steep hurdles” need to be surmounted before Virginia’s longtime ban on uranium mining could be lifted.

“Uranium mining is a win-win opportunity for Virginia and in particular, the residents of Pittsylvania County.” Jackson said. “Given the findings of the recent reports, how could Virginia pass up this enormous opportunity for jobs and clean energy?”

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