The Uranium Mining Debate Just Grew a Tentacle

The debate over uranium mining in Pittsylvania County just got more complicated Tuesday after Virginia Beach City Council was informed that Virginia’s largest city would be at risk of mining operations 200 miles away.

Director of Public Utilities Thomas Leahy laid out a worst-case scenario: A hurricane or tropical storm could destroy the landfill-like containers that contain the radioactive mining waste, contaminating water supplies downstream as far as Lake Gaston, from which water is piped to Virginia Beach. Norfolk, Chesapeake and occasionally Portsmouth and Suffolk also draw water from the lake, reports Aaron Applegate with the Virginian-Pilot.

Walter Coles, owner of the land that contains one of North America’s largest uranium deposits, wants to lift a state mining moratorium. The impact of such a decision would ripple across the state. For one, lifting a moratorium for Pittsylvania County would have implications for the mining of uranium in Orange County, site of another large deposit. And now the residents of the state’s second largest metropolitan area are given reason to fear mining.

On the other hand, uranium mining could create massive wealth for an economically depressed region of the state and add to the growing industry cluster of nuclear industry-related businesses in Virginia. In any fossil fuel-energy constrained scenario of the future, nuclear power will be a growth industry.

You want a vivid illustration of Ed Risse’s concept of “urban support regions”? You couldn’t ask for a better one. Hampton Roads may be surrounded by water, but it lacks sufficient supplies of fresh water within its own boundaries to supply its population. The region must draw upon its rural hinterlands to slake its thirst. Not only do Norfolk and Chesapeake drain the Roanoke River Basin, the city of Newport News wants to tap the Mattaponi River by means of a reservoir in King William County.

For a great overview of the Lake Gaston pipeline to Virginia Beach, check out this article. (Image credit of Lake Gaston water pumping station: Virginian-Pilot.)

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21 responses to “The Uranium Mining Debate Just Grew a Tentacle”

  1. “You want a vivid illustration of Ed Risse’s concept of “urban support regions”? You couldn’t ask for a better one. Hampton Roads may be surrounded by water, but it lacks sufficient supplies of fresh water within its own boundaries to supply its population.”

    oh fiddle faddle.. we’re going to keep pulling this scab off…

    oh well…

    “insufficient supplies”?

    is that …. ohmygod “sustainable”?

    Are Urban Support Regions really just convenient safety valves for settlement patterns in locations that are not sustainable?

    Also.. think about this – how much water should people in ANY New Urban Region be using on a per capita basis (ditto question for electricity).

    The folks who fought against the King William Reservoir – fought against in on the same exact basis that PEC fought against the power lines and that is .. that with respect to both water and electricity -we consume twice as much as other people do in other parts of the world – the industrialized world.

    HR/TW COULD do their OWN water like LA and other towns out west are now considering… either recycle or desalination… and then they would not need said “Urban support Region”….

    so.. it’s about money – right?

    and .. consumption… and maintaining cheap availability verses having to actually pay for what you use… on a sustainable basis…

    just FYI – the average consumption for planning purposes is usually 100 gallons of water per person per day….

  2. As far as uranium is concerned – read this:

    “…Areva Resources Canada (and also of Lynchburg) owns 69,16% of the project, Ourd Canada holds 5,67% and Toronto-based Denison Mines, which also announced plans on Tuesday to shut a mine in the US, owns the balance.

    Denison said regulatory delays, lower uranium prices and a 50% increase in the Midwest project’s cost had prompted the postponement.”

    and this:

    “… The Areva nuclear company said today it will delay construction of a new building on Old Forest Road in Lynchburg.

    The current economic climate is creating uncertainty in all major markets, including energy, said spokeswoman Denise Woernle.”

    think about this in terms of economics….

    if electricity consumption is going up… and Dominion wants to build a new coal plant in Wise and add a 3rd reactor to North Anna – why is Areva pulling back from mining raw material for nukes?

  3. E M Risse Avatar

    Jim Bacon:

    Larry (The Misrepresenter and Non-Reader) Gross disputed your statement:

    “You want a vivid illustration of Ed Risse’s concept of “urban support regions”? You couldn’t ask for a better one. Hampton Roads may be surrounded by water, but it lacks sufficient supplies of fresh water within its own boundaries to supply its population.”

    If Larry would just learn to read…

    Yes on many levels the water for Hampton Roads NUR is coming from an Urban Support Region.

    In THE USE AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND which is PART FOUR of FOUNDATIONS, the first volume of TRILO-G we take a further look at issues like this and after TRILO-G is out we will explore further the whole Urban Support Region concept.

    Urban Support Regions exist today, but will they in the future? Just like “city” as classicly defined existed at one time, now the word only is relevant as part of the title of some municipalities.

    In the meantime there is a much larger issue vis a vis uranium mining.

    The water supply could be protected with much higher cost mining technology. The water supply must be protected by cutting off InterRegional Economic Externalities.

    And what does that do? It raises the cost of the feedstock for nuclear generation.

    Read our lips: The cost of energy in all forms is going up. Buring thru easy-to-access Natural Capital and barrowing from Inter-nation-state suppliers has kept the cost artificially low.

    Already the cost of energy has ended:

    The Age of Accessible Air Travel (Terrorism has ended convenient Air Travel at any cost.)

    The end of The Age of Autonomobiles, and

    The Age of Big, Scattered Dwellings is insight.

    So is the end of a lot of other things.

    The only question is can citizens come to understand the need for Fundamental Transformations fast enough to implement them before there are not enough resources left to make the Transformation.

    A question worthy of a Thanksgiving Day Summation.


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    So, about this radioactive mining waste, am I to understand that the act of mining causes the mountain to become radioactive? Or is it vaguely possible that the mountain is already radioactive? The purpose, of course, of the mining activity is to extract the radioactive part, leaving behind less radioactive tailings.

  5. the question is …..what do you do with the radioactive tailings – even if they are “less”.

  6. with regard to urban support regions and why they exist…

    I would ask a more fundamental question and that is what determines where the clear edge is drawn for NURs.

    Is the NUR supposed to be sustainable… on some level.. and that is what determines where the clear edge should be?

    In other words.. can a NUR be too small and if so.. what are some of the problems with the NUR being too small?

    and then.. is a NUR supposed to be sustainable ..more or less or some level .. and USRs are temporary support mechanisms until NURs are able to exist on their own without support from USRs?

    I do not think .. it fair to say that I am not learning here.. as the questions I ask ..are fair questions ..and deserving of answers ..not only for me…but for anyone who might have the same questions or similar ones…

    I’m not one..never was one to accord anyone unquestioned acceptance of what they claim – no matter their credentials or knowledge…

    for me.. all have to provide answers to questions.

    If they know their stuff.. they have the answers.. or they WANT to develop them.. when it becomes obvious that the questions do deserve answers.

    anyone who takes the time to try to understand a concept.. and has questions -deserves answers…

    and certainly some answers for some theories could be – ” that part of the theory is still being worked on”….

    I think there are some fairly significant questions about the concept of NURs and USRs.

    If a NUR is not going to be a stand-alone, self-sustaining entity then does it not call into question as to what the purpose of a NUR is to start with?

    If the idea of a NUR to minimize externalities and for each resident to fully pay for his locational costs – … well there ARE such costs associated with people who live within NURs as folks who live outside of NURs.

    I mean … is the definition of EVERY region outside of a NUR – a USR?.. if not.. what is the difference between a USR and land that is not USR nor NUR?

    People who live on land that is not USR and NUR… but are self sustaining… what does that mean?

    I think.. I have fair questions deserving of answers..

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Page 6 of VUI’s permit application to DMME for exploratory drilling asks the company to list the “rivers, streams, tributaries or water impoundments on or adjacent to permitted property.” It states Mill Creek and Georges Creek flow into Whitehorn Creek, which flows into the Banister River, which flows into the Dan River. (The Dan River originates in Patrick County, Va., and ultimately flows into the Kerr Reservoir on the Roanoke River.)

    Does anyone remember the story earlier this year of how a leak of uranium into two rivers in France prompted a ban on all water use for a period of time. There were, of course, completely opposite statements as to the true impact of the leak.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    There are some statements so outragious — like “FIRE” in a crowed theater — that they are not protected as “free speech.”

    Here is one by that well informed commentator Anon:

    “So, about this radioactive mining waste, am I to understand that the act of mining causes the mountain to become radioactive? Or is it vaguely possible that the mountain is already radioactive? The purpose, of course, of the mining activity is to extract the radioactive part, leaving behind less radioactive tailings.”

    Check out the downstream impact of copper mining on the Clarks Fork of the Columbia.

    Closer to Virginia, in fact in Virginia, look what happens when one mines the coal and just lives the mine open — acid mine drainage.

    The environmental impact is so obvious that to ask the question about downstream impact is anti-cililized.

    Here are other some other equally foolish statements:

    “Kepone, DDT and all other POPs cannot be bad, afterall the components have been around since before Noah…”

    “Dysfunctional human settlement patterns are just the cumulative results of billions of decisions by millions of individuals who believe they are making the right decision so what is the problem?”

    The core issue is COST there are ways to get nuclear feedstock without environmental damage — and copper and gold and — but the issue is cost.

    The result of environmental safety is rising the cost of energy, just as obvious as dead fish downstream from an acid leaching mine.

  9. re: “which flows into the Dan River. (The Dan River originates in Patrick County, Va., and ultimately flows into the Kerr Reservoir on the Roanoke River.)

    Does anyone remember the story earlier this year of how a leak of uranium into two rivers in France”


    re: “existing mountains of toxic stuff”

    First thing… all creeks.. no matter how small… eventually end up in a river and then the Bay ….and … if there is a contaminated outflow… it WILL pollute from that point downstream….

    sometimes I don’t think people understand that all creeks.. become rivers…

    there are no creeks..or rivers that you can dump stuff in that will not eventually end up downstream…

    second – there are LOTs of toxic material and substances …covered by earth and soil that are effectively sequestered in left along and not disturbed.

    Some of the cleanest water in the mountains of West Virginia flows pure and clean without acid until someone digs up the earth… in such a way that rainwater can and does leech the mine itself and the tailings – and .. very important – essentially forever.. unless very expensive, almost impossible fiscally remediation is done.

    to this day… there are rivers in West Virgina that contain so much acid that they do not have fish.. and whatever critters manage to survive.. lived truly wretched lives until the acid does them in also…

    The only way to deal with mine waste tailings of any kind – whether they are radioactive or [merely] acid …is that these tailings (just like with Nuclear Waste) have to be sequestered .. for thousands of years… so that they cannot get loose in the environment.

    And that’s the rub with mining… because in the process of applying for the permit – the applicant does not want to sequester..the tailings…because of the expense … of doing so..

    Usually the argument is along the lines of “this is how I plan to keep this stuff from getting into the environment” and the other side is saying: “this is not sufficient and your plan is risky”.

    Who might be right?

    Well.. how many years will acid from coal mines flow in some of the rivers of West Va?

    A 100 years, a 1000 years or longer?

    What if that mine acid was radioactive?

    In my view… if mining for uranium is going to be considered then the applicant should be made responsible for a total “zero discharge tolerance” for a period of 1000 years and a bond sufficient to pay for remediation and cleanup if the material does get loose.

    I further think .. it is virtually criminal to do something like this for electricity when we already have cleaner …but costlier technologies.

    Essentially.. we’re talking about mining for uranium to save energy costs… at the risk of such tremendous damage that if you took that potential into account on a cost/benefit basis that wind/solar/tide/etc would be far, far cheaper.. in the longer run.

    And with respect to NURs and USRs –

    THIS IS a MAJOR ISSUE that cannot be ignored…

    if the “cost” of having NURs is USRs that generate uranium mine tailings that have the potential to ruin a river for such a long period of time – generations… should we not be asking once again.. the reasons behind “fundamental transformation” and the longer-term sustainability of NURs?

    I asked before, and I’ll ask again.

    How much electricity, per capita for the folks that live in a NUR – is sustainable?

  10. Anonymous Avatar


    Mr. Gross:

    You are unlikely to get any response by badgering Professor Risse (EMR).

    Most of your questions concerning the New Urban Region Conceptual Framework are meaningless because you have failed to bother to read the material that was cited in response to your past questions.

    You “deserve” nothing.

    There are, however, extenuating circumstances. When Jim Bacon made what EMR would call a ‘Fundamental Transformation’ in his life, there were several changes that impacted EMR’s work .

    First, Bacon’s Rebellion stopped publication. More recently – apparently inadvertently – Bacon’s Rebellion Blogspot was “updated” and several years of history were lost as well as the direct link to GLOSSARY.

    You can access the GLOSSARY by going to and search for “GLOSSARY.” Due to the press of other priorities – Bacon’s and EMR’s, – that version of the Glossary has not been updated to include the latest definitions such as “MegaRegion” noted below.

    To try to get you on the right track here are some notes from past lectures and more recent posts by EMR:


    Humans have created an Urban civilization on Planet Earth. “The world is flat” is just the tip of that iceberg.

    Over 95 percent of the citizens of First World nation-states are Urban citizens – derive their livelihood from Urban activities.

    Over 50 percent of the citizens of the entire planet live in “Urban Areas” as defined by the UN.

    Professor Risse has shown that every square foot of the land surface of the planet can be divided into two organic components:

    New Urban Regions (NURs) and,

    Urban Support Regions (USRs).

    The boundaries of NURs are determined by economic, social and physical parameters. In the US of A, NURs are most closely related to CMSAs and largest MSAs although political pressures have limited the extent and configuration of both CMSAs MSAs.

    I recall EMR referring you to a graphic in a 2003 PowerPoint that I have printed out and hangs on my library wall. This map depicts the 68 largest CMSAs and MSAs along with their direct influence area – this is the only nation-state-wide map of NURs of which I am aware.

    NURs are NOT delimited by nation-state, state or municipal borders. NURs are not “EcoRegions” as the problems of invasive species in the Chicago NUR demonstrate.

    NURs and USRs are both made up of Urbanside and Countryside. Between 90 and 95 percent of most NURs are Countryside.

    Some USRs have very little Urbanside – Northern Alaska / Northwestern Canada USR for example.

    The smallest USR with the most Urbanside may be DelMarVa.

    The Urbanside is that area inside Clear Edges in both NURs and USRs.

    The logical location of the Clear Edge can be identified around the Centroid of NURs and around every Urban agglomeration in both NURs and USRs.

    Because of the Abandonment and Scatteration, there is a great amount of vacant and underutilized land inside most Clear Edges in both NURs and USRs.

    The Core of a NUR is that area inside the Clear Edge that includes the Centroid.

    USRs generally do not have a Core but rather several Urban agglomerations of Community scale, e.g. Greater Lynchburg.

    An USR can become a NUR if one or more of these Urban agglomerations obtains Critical Mass.

    While we have not discussed it, the thought that USRs may disappear is new thinking and opens up a whole new way of considering sustainability.

    The best way to visualize the scale and Critical Mass issues is to think of NURs and USRs as celestial systems controlled by economic, social and physical forces that are not unlike interplanetary, solar and interstellar gravity and/or electromagnetic fields. That is why the New Urban Region Conceptual Framework has been called a unified field theory of human settlement.

    The New Urban Region Conceptual Framework is based on EMR’s work, inspired by work of Wright, Doxiadis and others as well as explorations of Urban systems in the EU where the New Urban Region (by other names) is also referred to as the basic building block of contemporary civilization.

    Any other questions you may have can be answered by looking up Capitalized words in Glossary.

    One issue not found in the Glossary is “MegaRegions.” EMR recently asked us to review a draft supplement for Chapter 13 in PART FOUR of FOUNDATIONS. He has granted permission to append the rough draft here:


    Rutherford H. Platt offers a useful synopsis of some of these books in “After Sprawl, The Humane Metropolis” in Land Lines, July 2008. Platt examines the period between the mid ‘50s and the late oughts but his survey lacks an understanding of the earlier explorations of rational land resource allocation. As was the case with his earlier book Land Use in Society Geography, Law and Public Policy published in 1996, Pratt lacks an overarching conceptual framework with which one might rationally allocate land resources. This leads Platt to advocate for “The Humane Metropolis” which is a collage of laudable Cluster-, Neighborhood- and Village-scale projects.

    Ever since Gottman’s Megalopolis, there has been fascination with large agglomerations with urban activity. Platt opens his discussion of “The Humane Metropolis” with a spectacular graphic from the America 2050 Program which illustrates the emergence of 10 MegaRegions by the year 2050.

    Understanding the “big picture” is important. However, the most important citizen objective is to maximize the functionality and efficiency at a Cluster-, Neighborhood-, Village-, Community- and New Urban Region-scale and to optimize the environment for the 95% of the population that is urban so they can best utilize the 5% of the land – the maximum that they can effectively use for their daily activities as documented in The Shape of the Future.

    Exploration of large agglomerations of urban activity is compelling as documented by:

    • The popularity of The Megalopolis envision by Gottman
    • The number and scale of Urban Agglomerations envisioned by Doxiadis
    • The recent spate of interest in places such as “Megapolitan Areas” and MegaRegions

    The America 2050 Program makes a strong case for the emergence for 10 MegaRegions in the US of A. Understanding the location of these 10 MegaRegions makes eminent good sense in designing high speed rail systems and other InterRegional infrastructure. See End Note N1.

    N1: See “Back on Track an Examination of Current Transportation Network and Potential High Speed Rail Systems in Three US Mega Regions” by Yoav Hagler.

    However, a single minded focus on MegaRegions is a distraction for most of the economic, social and physical parameters of human activities. As pointed out in “Building Blocks” Chapter 27 of PART EIGHT and in “Toward a Sustainable Trajectory”, See PART FOURTEEN – RESOURCES, the focus needs to be on the Fundamental Building Blocks of Contemporary Civilization – the New Urban Region.

    It is clear that there are strong arguments for the “existence” of the 10 MegaRegions. Among them are the fact that of the 68 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) only 12 are not within 1 of the 10 MegaRegions – Albuquerque, Salt Lake, Denver, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Omaha, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Richmond and Hampton Roads.

    In addition, the America 2050 graphic has some anomalies that shrink this number. If the radii used for scaling the New Urban Regions (or Metropolitan Statistical Areas) were related to the distance commuted to the jobs in the Core of the Region, then both Richmond and Hampton Roads would clearly fall within the “Northeast” MegaRegion. See End Note N2

    N2 It is not clear why the Northeast MegaRegion does not reach Richmond and Hampton Roads because the New Urban Regions are clearly coterminous. Other anomalies include the fact that “So Cal” stretches all the way to Las Vegas. “Great Lakes” stretches from Pittsburgh to Chicago and then leaps a gap to get to Minneapolis, St. Paul. Houston falls within both the “Texas triangle” MegaRegion and the “Gulf Coast” MegaRegion.
    Recently, one of the members of the America 2050 “team” participated in the articulation of four additional MegaRegions. “The Wasatch Front” (Salt Lake New Urban Region); “The Front Range” (Denver New Urban Region); “Northern New Mexico” (Albuquerque New Urban Region) and the “Greater Las Vegas” MegaRegion.

    This same scholar has utilized Interstate 35 as the armature for an expanded “Texas triangle” MegaRegion to include Kansas City, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

    When all is said and done there are perhaps only 4 of the largest 68 metropolitan areas that do not fall within someone’s view of MegaRegions – Omaha, Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville.

    It is good to have information on these agglomerations of New Urban Regions. As noted earlier, it is very helpful for strategies related to InterRegional transportation – in particular high speed ground transportation. However, what is far more important is the smaller scale New Urban Regions – the basic building blocks of contemporary civilization. A vast amount of vacant and underutilized land within New Urban Regions and vast areas of Countryside in Urban Support Regions is swept into these MegaRegions making the true urban footprint very hard to understand.

    The issue is one of scale. For instance, just two MegaRegions, “Northeast” and “Great Lakes”, have dimensions similar to those of all of the European Union which has a larger population than the US of A. From Hampton Roads to Minneapolis, St. Paul (1,150 miles) and Portland, Main to St. Louis (1,120 miles) is similar to the dimensions of the Urban Agglomerations that make up the European Union. Barcelona to Warsaw is 1,250 miles and London to Rome is 1,000 miles.

    As noted earlier, there is vast amount of land in each of the metropolitan areas as documented by Stark Contrast. See PART FOURTEEN – RESOURCES. There are even more vast land nonurban areas within the MegaRegions.

    The second important issue that is overlooked by focusing on multi-New Urban Region agglomerations is that the driving force for considering these MegaRegions is the assumption of continuing population growth primarily driven by immigration. This recent wave of immigration is driven by get-rich- quick, commitment-less, gold rush prosperity fantasies that are already fading.

    One is reminded of a similar demographic anomaly that followed the 1950 census. It took 4 decades to overcome the carnage of land speculation and mass over expectation built on extrapolations of the 1950 census data. In the ‘90s, a new wave of population growth expectations was catalyzed by massive legal and illegal immigration. By 1990, the first world nation-state population projections were leveling off but the immigration inducing policies to import cheap labor.

    The boom of the ‘90s, and the early oughts resulted in the 2000 census driving similar wild expectations.

    As documented in The Shape of the Future, the New Urban Region is the primary building block of civilization and while it is useful to consider strategies for MegaRegions, the current Global economic and energy driven reality is that citizens need to think first and foremost about places closer to home and at a smaller scale.

    Have a Happy Holiday

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Anon 2:49:

    I find it surprising that EMR asked us to stop posting and then gave you permission to post a draft.

    You did a good job of summarizing EMR position.

    Perhaps you should write a book for those who need to be told something more than once.

    Anon Zeus

  12. I find it surprising that institutional archiving of the concepts associated with NURs and USRs and the infamous “vocabulary” is BR…

    I thought this whole issue was much bigger and broader than BR and that BR was but one of a number of locations where one could “learn more”… at their leisure…

    the ” you should have remembered what you were told” is totally bogus… and condescending of folks who are actually engaged in exploring a concept and asking questions.

    Have you never heard someone say “can you tell me again what you meant by….. “…???

    Apparently.. asking questions is verboten… forget the fact that others might be wandering by in the middle of the conversation and could benefit from a simple ” as you may remember.. .yadda yadda”…

    and apparently .. the concept of an FAQ… a living document FAQ.. an archive.. where persistent questions are answered… and those answered retained in that archive.. which is the place you refer folks if they want to learn more and/or need some “refreshing”.

    I have asked MANY questions which are ignored, dissed, or delt with in an arrogant and condescending way. and that “message” comes across loud and clear to many folks who lurk and who actually may want to know more but are not about to step into the breech.. and receive similar treatment.

    and How do we know that USR’s are being “re-thunk” in the first place .. and exactly what are the issues under further review that may affect changing the USR theory?

    As I’ve said more than once, I do not expect the NUR and USR theories to be “perfect” and not in need of further work…but some of us …like to know about the issues that are still under review .. and the pros and cons associated with them.

    I’ve asked repeatedly for instance.. whether or not there is a thought with respect to where electricity should be generated.. and how.. and how much is the “correct” amount for NURs …..(or not)…

    all .. honest questions… and all deserving of some response.. about the concept of electricity and NURs in general.. since it’s pretty clear that NURs are “toast” without electricity.. or clean water or sewage treatment… and all 3 of these things are of direct consequence when considering longer-term sustainability….

    ESPECIALLY when we get the hellfire and damnation sermons about our wanton and profligate consumption of ….energy…

    and how it will eventually lead to great change… fundamental change… actually will FORCE change…

    okay… let me have it…

    if we are going to ultimately have change forced on us – then what kinds of consumption will be finally be driven to.. that WILL BE sustainable?

    in closing… EMR and anon ought to seriously consider a FAQ… were you put the questions already asked and answered so that others can see them.. and so that the guy who asked the original can go back and refresh his understanding.

    but… lose the condescending snooty attitude.. PLEASE

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    To anon 2:49

    Thank you for your post.

    I came in late and did not know about the Glossary.

    I spent the afternoon reading up and it clears up a lot of questions;

    On this blog and more importantly,

    on transportation and housing and sustainability and the econmy that I have not been able to understand.

    Larry needs to do his homework.

    In The Clear

  14.’s funny.. I’ve read the glossary.. and it causes more questions than it answers for me…

    AND.. I’ve asked the questions .. about things that are NOT in the glossary… like electricity in NURs.. and what I get is more “read the glossary”.

    which.. as far as I can tell.. is basically mute on the issue

    and in my mind.. if you want to talk “sustainability”.. and “balance”.. you can’t do it without at least some basic philosophy with regard to electricity .. water… and in general.. the things that are _supposed_ to be supplied by USRs..

    and I keep asking.. why should USRs generate electricity instead of it being generate from within the NURs…using wind/solar and other “greener” type energy.

    telling Larry to “do his homework” when he asks these questions.. is non-responsive IMHO.. and non-responsive.. translates into folks who are not really serious about the things they say they believe in…because if they were.. they’d have a philosophy – good, bad or indifferent.. they’d have a stated philosophy…and wiling to say it.. and willing to discuss it ..from a sustainability point of view.

    NURs are simply artificial constructs without electricity.

    You cannot have an urban agglomeration without electricity.. and yet virtually all of them are not sustainable with regard to their energy needs.

    How can we claim that NURs are the path to balance and sustainability if they are .. not sustainable without USRs?

    I don’t pretend to know the answers. but I do know what it means when folks are unwilling to address issues of this nature…

    if you want to talk about sustainability.. let’s do talk about it.. let’s do talk about how NURs can be sustainable… (or not).. or .. why even if they are not sustainable.. that they are still the correct settlement pattern…

  15. It’s a simple question.

    With respect to Fundamental Change – Should electricity be generated inside of the NURs and their clear edge or should electricity be generated in the USRs.

  16. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “The core issue is COST there are ways to get nuclear feedstock without environmental damage — and copper and gold and — but the issue is cost.”


    There is NO WAY to get uranium, coal, copper or any other material out of the ground without causing SOME environmental damage.

    The question is how much cost in the form or environmental damage vs how much cost in the form of environmental protection.


  17. there is no environmental damage if you don’t mine.

    One could make the claim as you often do that there is a potential economic loss that would exceed the potential environmental damage…

    .. but you cannot determine that with great certainty BEFORE you actually do the drilling and see the damage that results.

    We’ve proven our ability to mess up the environment in this manner over and over.. and to date.. I have yet to see a single example of great economic harm caused by something that had no environmental harm.

    We’ve used this failed approach over and over.

    and so.. we have Kepone in the Appomattox and James River that has contaminated and harmed the aquatic wildlife and has made the fish unsafe to eat.

    We stopped the Kepone only AFTER the fact…

    So.. a question to you is this.

    Were we wrong to stop the Kepone?

    And if you agree that we were not wrong – that we were right – then what process should we have used at the beginning to prevent the harm from occurring in the first place?

    Now.. go to the proposal for uranium mining.. and tell me what process we should use to ensure that we don’t repeat the kepone mistake.

  18. re: “There is NO WAY to get uranium, coal, copper or any other material out of the ground without causing SOME environmental damage.”

    there are two problems:

    1. – knowing how much environmental damage will be done – not only now – but into the future.

    2. – agreeing on what the word “some” means.

    For instance, anyone with a well takes water from the water table… and in the East – what would be the “some” damage?

    For uranium mining..

    the main problem is not the mine itself ..which is deep underground….and .. ALREADY radioactive but in a place where it does not cause harm – effectively sequestered…

    the problem is.. what do you do with the tailings after you have brought them to the surface.

    so this is NOT a situation where it is IMPOSSIBLE not to have SOME harm.

    The question is – HOW MUCH HARM and you need to know this so that your decision does not eventually result in much more harm than you originally thought it would.

    So… we could REQUIRE that ALL Tailings be returned to where they came from to begin with

    or we could require that they be permanently sequestered in some other but equally effective way.

    What we won’t do is allow radiation into a surface stream – at least not intentionally.

    It ought to be a zero level permit.

    In other words –

    the property owners are free to do whatever they want to do on their property – as long as they don not harm resources (like rivers) that do not belong to them…

    UNLESS and UNTIL – they can prove to everyone’s satisfaction that some particular level of radiation that they can guarantee …will not cause any harm..

    In other words, the burden of proof is on them – not the public.

    They can claim all sorts of things in terms of their opinion about the potential harm but their opinion does not count because they have an obvious conflict of interest in that most folks who stand to make money from such a venture are more than likely to believe that harm to others is minimal.

    But we don’t make decisions based on what the folks who are seeking the profit think.

    We make decisions based on the likelihood that…at some point… surface-stored tailings will leech into surface waters…

    and we know.. that if the stuff is just piled up on the surface without being covered..that it will eventually leech…

    this is not rocket science.

    It’s not like we have not already had a lot of experience in leeching of surface-stored tailings…

    I predict.. that the study .. to be conducted by the NSF will conclude just this – that there is too much risk in trying to safely store the tailings in the open …. without being sequestered…

    ..and that they will probably recommend that any permit REQUIRE permanent sequestation on the part of the applicant.

    the long and short of this is that you just don’t know what the long term consequences are but you do know that a worst case potential is totally unacceptable.

  19. and one more:

    “You want a vivid illustration of Ed Risse’s concept of “urban support regions”? You couldn’t ask for a better one. Hampton Roads may be surrounded by water, but it lacks sufficient supplies of fresh water within its own boundaries to supply its population.”

    well.. how about a vivid concept of HR/TW not wanting to be sustainable with regard to it’s own need and use of water?

    I’ve asked the question several times.. what is the purpose of a USR?

    What if a NUR does not practice sustainable use of resources when they could?

    Does that.. then justify.. the use of a USR to supply them externally with more than they really needed in the first place?

    This is the same question with respect to electricity.

    Should HR/TW (or any NUR) use the available resources within the NUR boundaries to produce electricity – and is the natural “sustainable” limiting factor – the middle ground between use and availability within the NUR – that does not require it to go outside of it’s clear edge for resources?

    In HR/TW, case, they have a choice between wind/tide power and coal-power …or even nuke power.. that requires uranium that threatens “their” water supply .. which is not even water within their own region.

    There IS water within their own region… by the way…

    the James River runs right through their region and a pipeline far enough up the James River would get them water without salt in it.

    You have to ask yourself.. why would they NOT use James River water.. instead of Kerr Lake water AND Newport News.. using Pamunkey River Water.

    So.. here we have two separate USR’s supplying water to a region that has been accused by at least some folks of not needing the water if they instituted simple conservation measures and charged customers the real price of supplying them the water.

    So. I ask EMR.. and those in his camp…

    what about the USR concept with regard to water for Hampton Roads/Newport News/HR/TW?

  20. MaxTheDog Avatar


    I live in SouthSide, the side the State of Virginia never pays attention to, we do not have an interstate, or High Tech jobs but the State of Virginia are willing to make us a bunch of Miners!!!


    Water will be scarce one day and we need to stop polluting it with Strip Mining and Uranium Mining.

    Nuclear Power Plants uses lots of water and the plants are polluting the water too!!

    Nuclear Power Plants are too expensive to build and have accidents every other day!!! Just go to the NRC page and see the violations!!

    Uranium Mining will be all over Virginia just not SouthSide, uranium is located up the Rt. 29 and from Richmond up to DC!!!

    Our radiation particles blown by the wind will be VA Beach Wind!! (Remember the Fires in NC)

    VUI flooded tail pond will be VA Beach drinking water – Oh by the Way, it floods here without Hurricanes, the rain systems sometimes get caught in our hills and just stay there and the favorite area for rain is White Oak Mt and Coles Hill (where the open pit mining will take place)!

    Therefore, Thanks to Virginia Beach, y get it@@!!

  21. Here’s an example of what happens when there are tailings from mining:

    “The U.S. Titanium site located in Nelson County, Virginia (5th Congressional District) is a 50-acre site formerly occupied by an American Cyanamid Company plant which refined titanium ore and manufactured titanium dioxide for paint pigments from 1931 until 1971. Following plant closure, the processing plant, settling ponds, tailings ponds, wastewater lagoons and a waste disposal area remained on site. Ferrous sulfate, a highly acidic by-product of titanium dioxide manufacturing, and heavy metals (aluminum, iron, copper, nickel and zinc) are the primary site contaminants. Acidic storm water runoff from the waste piles and ponds and acidic ground water seeps/springs contributed to six major fish kills in the Piney and Tye Rivers from 1977 to 1981. As a result of these releases, more than 200,000 fish died.”

    This is not rocket science.

    You put mine tailings on the ground .. it rains.. and bad stuff happens….

    So.. what I want to know is what they will do with the tailings… that’s the key question.

    If their answer is essentially to pile them up somewhere and cover it with a tarp or some such, .. I say.. run them out of town on a rail….after they have been tarred and feathered…

    We don’t want, nor need no stinkin radioactive waste in our rivers… we already have enough trouble with the non-radioactive kind…

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