Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
from Richard Delaney
Thank you for providing this opportunity to participate in this citizensí inquiry.|
In my view any discussion that involves energy must be sufficiently broad to consider the full range of supply and demand issues. Talking about nuclear energy in isolation of other sources or our increasing demands does not give the full picture so can not render sustainable solutions.
Some of the issues:
a. By having access to this source of energy we get side-tracked onto the discussion about whether or not to generate nuclear power and do not spend sufficient time discussing how to reduce our overall demand for power and how to decrease that demand.
b. To a certain extent the discussion about energy sources is a relative discussion. Putting emotions aside, what are the social, economic and environmental impacts of the various sources and how should we proceed?
c. The debate should not focus on the pros and cons of uranium exploration, as promising exploration leads to uranium mine development, therefore we need to start the discussion there.
d. We need to look very carefully at uranium mining and development as it is quite different than other mined substances, such as copper or gold. It requires health and safety measures that must go above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of the environment, workers and the community.
e. We need to consider also that a mine does not operate in isolation. With a mine comes roads, additional infrastructure, tailings facilities, and access to areas that are often considered pristine. Despite a small mine footprint it is important to consider the wider regional impacts.
f. Finally companies and governments are not very good at evaluating the cumulative impacts of exploration on the wider regional area. How many companies are exploring, what are they releasing into the environment as far as drill cuttings, what is the impact of increased noise on wildlife and people? How will new uranium mines interact and contribute to the cumulative effects of other mines and extractive operations.
Good luck with your inquiry and please keep me posted on your activities.