A pro-energy group started airing TV ads Monday in Central and Southside Virginia highlighting the potential benefits of uranium mining in Virginia.
The Virginia Energy Independence Alliance ads focus on five potential benefits of uranium mining – energy independence, jobs, economic development, tax revenue and the environmental benefits of nuclear energy.
Tests indicate that about 119 million pounds of uranium — worth as much as $10 billion — are in Coles Hill, near Chatham, a small town in Pittsylvania County. That would be enough to supply all the country’s nuclear power plants for about two years or all of Virginia’s demands for 75 years.
“Developing Southside Virginia’s vast uranium resources is the single largest opportunity in our state for helping to reduce America’s reliance on imported energy,” the group’s chairman, Ray Ganthner, said in a news release.
Ganthner said he did not know how long the ads would be airing.
A company hopes to persuade the General Assembly to repeal the nearly three-decade moratorium on mining at its regular session in January.
In recent weeks, Virginia Uranium Inc. has sent out letters to about 30 cities and towns and developed a traveling mobile exhibit to lobby the public on mining.
The state’s Coal and Energy Commission has asked the National Academy of Sciences and the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech to review whether the uranium can be safely mined.
“Uranium is by no means the only opportunity we must pursue,’’ Ganthner said. “No single energy source will achieve energy independence for America, or meet our future energy needs. The VEIA supports the development of all available energy sources in Virginia, the construction of diverse new electric power generation, and the manufacture of more of the components for our reactors, wind turbines and solar panels.”
This post has been updated since it was first published.