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Uranium mine tailings leave an enduring toxic legacy
- Categorized in: Uranium Mining
In the history of Australian uranian mining there has been no successful remediation. The only way to to stop environmental and human health damage is to prevent the mine from being constructed. This is true of uranium mining around the world. It is time for Australia to learn this lesson.
Dr Gavin Mudd, Monash University: Preventing tailings contamination even after a uranium mine has closed has proved impossible in every uranium mine in Australia to date... Dr Mudd’s research shows that there is no former Australian uranium mine that has been rehabilitated successfully — all are still radioactive no-go zones because of radionuclide dispersal from waste stockpiles and water seepage.
Australia must take responsibility for the harm it has done to its land its people and put an end to uranium mining at home. As elsewhere, it is the Australian taxpayer who bears the burden of monitoring and clean-up of uranium mines, while regional communities and the environment suffer irreparable losses [Alison Xamon].
It is time to say NO to uranium mining and its legacy of damage.
TheWest.com.au l Alison Xamon 8 June, 2012
The Environmental Protection Authority’s approval of a uranium mine in Wiluna should concern all West Australians. This is no longer a theoretical discussion. Research shows a serious risk that uranium mining will cause long-term harm to WA communities.
Uranium mining has caused a string of accidents across Australia and has proved impossible to regulate appropriately. Yet the highly radioactive waste produced by uranium mines — known as uranium mine tailings — remain radioactive for thousands of years.
The State Government has given a commitment to seek to regulate uranium mining through “world’s best practice”, including isolating uranium tailings for at least 10,000 years. This is a worthy commitment but it is unclear how it will be achieved, especially when it is apparent that no uranium site in Australia has successfully accomplished this for even 10 years. The best regulations will not stop chronic radioactive waste seepage.