After listening to the talk shows and long discussions on the issue of uranium mining in Eeyou Istchee, I wondered if anyone really did any background check on the uses of uranium. What I discovered is rather interesting. Named after the planet Uranus, which was discovered barely eight years earlier in 1781, the metal became somewhat useful for colouring glass. Imagine all the cups that were used with uranium dust in the clay mixture, no wonder just about everyone got more than they bargained for while drinking out of fancy yellow teacups. Yep, no wonder the world changed ever so slightly and humankind must have had some sort of biological mutation that made us smarter in a technological way.
Soon after poking and prodding some use out of the slightly magnetic material, it was soon used for its vast energy potential. Imagine, nuclear generators which would turn one kilo of uranium into the equivalent of a 100,000 kilos of coal. Now, if that isn’t a bargain material to use for energy, what is?
Another use, which is entirely medical in nature, is the use of isotopes liquidate enough to inject into the human blood system, so that when scanned using the latest equipment known to doctors, every facet of your blood shows up, allowing for a detailed picture of your vascular network. This enables doctors to detect that nasty haemorrhoid cluster or that clot in your system that’s daring your body to go into cardiac arrest. It will also help with your brain, as when you happen to get a good idea, your head lights up like a light bulb.
Of course, everyone likes to point out the potential for military use, from making heavy bullets that can penetrate through any armoured vehicle, like a tank, or right up to everyone’s favourite weapon, the nuclear warhead. Even terrorists, who need massive weapons of destruction, would like to have at least one nuclear weapon in their armoury. But, you need to be a real egghead to be able to make one actually work, so they resort to just blowing up the warhead and spreading radioactive waste around instead. This leads to a long life (as compared to the split second of a hydrogen bomb going off and incinerating everything and everyone in its blast path). But after a while, when your teeth and hair fall out, you realize that you are indeed a victim of radioactive warfare.
Now, why do we need to be so concerned about uranium mining? Does the medical usage outweigh the military use? Does it save more than it kills? You be the judge of that. But one thing is certain, if war was waged using nuclear weapons at the same rate as the medical profession uses it, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be around to argue this one point.
As far as energy goes, the trade-offs are probably not as bad as everyone seems to think. Maybe one day, uranium will be used by everyone who doesn’t have a vast underground oil patch to tap into. Using oil to pollute the world with more emissions than an old V8 truck without a muffler maybe safer for the human, but it seems to throw the world into disarray and tips the economic benefits to those wearing either a turban or cowboy hat.
Perhaps, the world will be a better place if uranium could be used for peaceful purposes. Just think of dynamite, which was actually created to stop wars by making all other weapons useless and world peace a reality. But some dreams just turn into nightmares when in the hands of the wrong people.