Amid fierce political opposition, US uranium miner suspends mine plans

A uranium miner has given up on mining one of the world's largest known uranium deposits in Virginia – for now.

Virginia Uranium has plans to develop the Coles Hill deposit in Pittsylvania County. According to the Associated Press, the site contains an estimated 119-million-pounds of uranium.

But Virginia has a decades-long ban on uranium mining and the Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe has fiercely opposed attempts to change this legislation and said he would veto any pro-uranium bills.

Faced with this major political hurdle, Virginia Uranium told the Associated Press on Saturday that it would "not back the introduction of uranium mining legislation in the 2014 session of the General Assembly."

The company cited the Governor-Elect's opposition as a "significant challenge" to the project.

But Virginia Uranium hasn't given up completely and the suspension is temporary.

"We are in this for the long haul and are committed to developing the Coles Hill project," Project Manager Patrick Wales told the AP. "We will continue evaluating all options to move the project forward."

Environmental group Sierra Club has applauded McAuliffe for his opposition, publishing an article this week thanking the Governor.

Earlier this year McAuliffe stated that he was "not comfortable" enough with the science to say that he believed his community would be safe.

"I’m afraid it would get into the drinking water,” he said.

Not all environmentalists agree that nuclear power should be opposed.

Earlier this year, a group of renowned climate scientists issued a public letter calling on environmnetal groups to embrace nuclear power. They claim that "continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change" caused by greenhouse gas emissions.