Free for educational use
Mining Uranium in Australia
Year of production - 2007
Duration - 2min 25sec
Tags - Australian landscape, energy, environment, land, Learning Journey Energy, mining, resources, see all tags
How to Download the Video Clip
About the Video Cliptop
Talkback Classroom is a forum program run by the Education section of the National Museum of Australia. Each year a series of forums are held. At each forum a panel of three secondary students, selected from schools Australia-wide, interview a leading decision-maker on an important current issue. The panel participate in a ‘learning journey’ to explore the issues and prepare for the forum. This involves researching the issue the forum is exploring and interviewing relevant people in the community. Panellists also develop interview techniques in workshops at Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia. The interviews are then recorded in the Museum’s Studio in front of a live student audience.
This clip comes from a 2007 forum on the topic of Energy. The student panellists were Alexander Meekin (Yr 12 Narrabundah College ACT), Tina Pahlman (Yr 12 Dickson College ACT), Han Dong Jin and Park Ga-hyun (Yr 12 and 11 respectively, Hankook Academy of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea). The interview guest was the Hon. Alexander Downer MP, then Minister for Foreign Affairs. The forum was held on Wednesday, 8 August 2007. Prior to the forum the panellists undertook an extensive learning journey. Their itinerary took them to Great Keppel Island, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Brisbane, Darwin and Kakadu National Park. Topics investigated included coral bleaching due to climate change, ‘clean’ coal-fired power generation, alternative energy technologies, climate change and the environment, uranium mining and indigenous rights in relation to that mining.
Energy production has been an important part of modern human society, particularly since the industrial revolution and the invention of electricity. Most energy is created through the combustion of non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels like coal and oil.
The reserves of these fuel sources are finite; not only are these forms of energy production unsustainable, they also have a substantial impact on the environment through the production of greenhouse gases. These emissions contribute to climate change as the gases produced trap infra red radiation produced by the sun in the planet’s atmosphere, heating the earth.
Effective international co-operation is essential to preventing dangerous climate change. The current international effort to develop a unified response to this issue is the Kyoto Protocol, which Australia has recently ratified. It provides targets for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Australia needs to investigate ways of reducing its emissions. We are one of the countries most likely to be affected by climate change, with decreasing and variable rainfall patterns and ozone depletion. We are the second highest producer of greenhouse gases in the world per capita. We use and export millions of tonnes of coal; generating electricity through burning coal is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas pollution from stationary energy. Reducing our emissions could occur through setting emission reduction targets, using low-emission energy sources such as natural gas, attempting to use ‘clean coal’ and capturing and storing the CO2 produced by coal and gas power plants. It could involve placing a price on greenhouse gas pollution, often referred to as an emission trading scheme or carbon taxing. Other measures could include stopping deforestation or using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, wave, ocean, tide and geothermal power, as well as various forms of bio-energy. Improving the efficiency of our energy use also plays a large role in this process.
Before you watch
- On a map of Australia, locate Jabiluka and Kakadu. Mark the mine site. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this site for a uranium mine.
- As a class brainstorm or research the different uses uranium has.
While you watch
As you watch the clip, take notes so you can answer the following questions:
- Where is the second largest uranium mine in the world?
- What proposal is being developed for this mine?
After you watch
Research and have a class debate ‘That uranium is a safe and efficient power source’.