Uranium Mining and Nuclear Energy

Posted on March 27, 2011


Tonight I attended a function with a lot of people who vote for the Liberal party. Many of them spent all day handing out fliers about how to vote for their local candidate. It was a fun party with intelligent people and I enjoyed myself. There was a celebratory atmosphere as the Liberal Party won the NSW election.

I believe in being open-minded. I believe we should elect people whose characters and integrity we respect, whichever party they represent.

The most interesting discussion I had was with a man who’s worked in investment banking. He was once an engineer. We discussed the carbon tax and renewable energy. He is a smart man.

It turns out he’s spent a lot of time working in uranium mines, including ERA Energy Resources Australia http://www.energyres.com.au/2321.asp

In 1990 I lived in Kakadu National Park with rangers who were concerned that the ‘tailings ponds’ from the Ranger Uranium mine would overflow during the wet season into the ecosystem in the East Alligator River, a World Heritage Area.


Then he came out with the same excuses that I heard from the South Australian Minister for Mining recently: “How many people have been killed by uranium?”

I mean how many people need to be told to leave Japan and not to drink the water or import Japanese food, before these people admit the truth, that radioactivity is extremely dangerous to humans and the environment.

Australia is the 3rd largest supplier of uranium to the world. He says that nuclear power plants developed in recent years are much more safe than the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

We discussed recent events with earthquakes in ‘The Pacific Ring of Fire’ – first Christchurch then Japan, and with volcanoes becoming active in various countries in the region.

We discussed alternative energy, and he’s invested in a large windmill to create energy. He said solar energy from solar panels is inefficient because they create heat and would contribute to global warming.

Sometimes I annoy myself. At high school I told my friend that I wouldn’t buy a car unless it was solar powered. I’ve always been environmentally conscious. I still want to buy a car powered by clean energy. I could buy one powered by gas or electricity, but the industry isn’t developed. Petrol is too polluting and the Middle East is politically unstable to say the least.

In Australia, a country where there is an abundance of sunshine and space, we need to develop solar power. In countries where there’s a lot of rain falling like in Norway, they can generate hydro electricity.

I’m really pleased that I had this discussion tonight, because it’s going to take people like me and this man to find common ground, before the mining industry takes renewable energy and climate change seriously.

I’m sure bright minds can think laterally to invent new energy technology, the way we never knew what would become of the internet just 10 years ago.

With open minds, we can bridge that gap between “greenies” and “miners.”

What makes me write my thoughts down tonight, is that I’m a mother. Just like in any democracy, where each person has one vote, each person on this planet has a right to clean water and uncontaminated food. I have thought that uranium minining and nuclear energy are unsafe for over 20 years, yet I haven’t done much about it. To make this planet the way I think it should be for everyone in the world, I have a right to voice my opinion about how we need to be ethically responsible for the health of the planet for our children in the future.

Twenty years ago it wasn’t popular to be “green.” I met Bob Brown in 1990 in Tasmania and he’s come a long way since then. I was the president of Green Action at university where fellow university students interviewed me to practice news stories about recycling and Wildlifestival on campus. At least one of them now reads the news on a commercial TV channel. The world has changed in the past few years in regard to conservation and environmental awareness.

Surely the tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones and floods in the past few months are enough to wake people up to the need to seriously develop alternative energy. We are all inter-connected after all.

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