Quantcast

Australia's Great Barrier Reef at Risk from Uranium Exports

Energy

Kevin Grandia

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Ever scuba dived? Or even just put a mask to your face in knee-deep water and looked under the surface at all the brilliant fish and creatures that make a tropical reef their home?

It is brilliant, and one of those moments you never forget.

Now the largest and most well-known of these reefs, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of the province of Queensland, is under threat of becoming a shipping route for uranium—the radioactive substance used for nuclear power and high-powered military weaponry.

Queensland is a a place of competing interests.

On one hand, you have the Barrier Reef contributes more than $5 billion a year in tourism and employs 54,000 people. On the other hand, you have a series of industrial ports that line the coast of Queensland that are keen to expand and export uranium to overseas markets.

For 28 years there has been a ban on uranium mining in Queensland, but that was lifted late last year by Queenland's Premier Campbell Newman. Now that the ban has been lifted, two mining companies are pushing to ship mined uranium from the coast of Queensland, over the Great Barrier Reef.

"The State Government is not opposed in principle to uranium being shipped from a Queensland port through the Great Barrier Reef," Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says.

The price tag of the uranium deposits in Queensland, if all extracted and sold is about $10 billion. A pretty big chunk of cash, but worth only a paltry two years of tourism dollars that the Great Barrier Reef brings in.

Professor Callum Roberts, a marine expert, told the Australian International Business Times,

"With something as sensitive as the Great Barrier Reef, you have to ask yourself what is it you want in the long term? Do you want those ports or do you want the Great Barrier Reef to continue being great, because you can't have both."

I am not an economist, but shipping tons of radioactive material over the Great Barrier Reef seems like a very financially risky idea. As a person concerned about all the degradation we are seeing to natural wonders of the world like the Great Barrier Reef, it is borderline criminal.

To anyone who has looked in wonderment at the fish on a reef, this is not an "Australian issue" this is an issue that speaks to how we want to leave the world to future generations. Our kids will remember visiting a reef teeming with tropical fish, turtles and fluorescent coral, but what will they remember if it isn't there to be seen? They sure as heck won't remember the quick buck made by uranium mining companies a few decades previous.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

——–

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less