Uranium mining focus of Southside Va. forum

CHATHAM, Va. -- A multi-agency working group examining various aspects of uranium mining is heading to Southside Virginia for a public meeting.

The Uranium Working Group is scheduled to meet Wednesday night in Chatham for its fifth public forum. Created by Gov. Bob McDonnell, the working group is looking at public safety, environmental issues and a regulatory framework that would be needed if Virginia ended a 30-year ban on uranium mining.

The examination is being driven by a mining company's desire to tap a 119-million pound deposit of the radioactive ore within 10 miles of Chatham. Virginia Uranium Inc. says mining can be conducted safely and create jobs.

Critics say the economic boost is not worth the environmental risks.

Among the issues to be discussed Wednesday are public health and safety.