Jeff Green | Oct 18, 2007
Letters - October 18, 2007
Back toHomeLetters - October 18, 2007
LettersOctober 11 Why There Shouldn't be a Uranium Mine, Devin Kohl Why There Shouldn't be a Uranium Mine
When Frontenac Ventures staked a claim on the land for a uranium mine near Sharbot Lake, it started a major protest on the site. This made me think about the impacts it would have on the community. I believe there shouldn’t be a uranium mine in our community or in any community because: it creates conflict in the community; it harms people’s health; it contaminates the environment and there are alternative energy sources that we need to develop that are not harmful.
If anyone has read a newspaper in the last few weeks, they would have realized that the uranium mine has caused a lot of conflict in local communities. Two months ago the mining company called Frontenac Ventures staked a claim on crown land. The conflict is that the Algonquin people claim it’s their land and the company has no right to be there. It’s become a huge battle because many people are helping the Algonquin to protest the mine. The Algonquin don’t want the mine there because they are worried that it will harm people’s health and contaminate the land and water.
It’s good to know a bit about uranium mining in order to understand why people are concerned. Uranium ore is dug from the ground in open pit mines, and then shipped to where it is going to be processed and used in nuclear reactors to make energy and in nuclear weapons. Uranium mining is one of the most dangerous kinds of mining there is. It’s dangerous because the uranium is radioactive and can escape into the air, water and soil and it takes millions of years to break down and become non harmful.
Atomic radiation can cause serious health issues such as severe burns, anemia, cataracts, cancer, leukemia, damage to unborn babies, and damage to the human reproductive system. From the mining of the uranium to the manufacturing of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, workers are at great risk of being exposed to radiation.
One of the most dangerous parts of the uranium mining process is the leftover waste called tailings. The tailings are the large amounts of excess pulverized rock that are separated from the uranium ore. It takes about one ton of ore to get two pounds of uranium. The tailings contain 85% of the original radioactivity of the ore. In Canada we have over 150 000 000 tons of tailings, most of it exposed to the wind and rain. Radioactive tailings can leach into the water and get released into the air. When it’s airborne, it can travel 1 000 miles in a few days with a light breeze.
There are other ways to get energy instead of using uranium or nuclear power that harms the environment and people’s health. The other ways you can get energy without harming the environment are by conserving energy, energy efficiency and using hydro, wind and solar power.
Now remember, uranium mining and nuclear energy can create conflict in communities, can harm people’s health, and can contaminate the environment. There are alternative energy sources that don’t cause these problems. We should use these instead!
- Devin Kohl, Grade 8, Perth