Editor's note (May 18): The headline on this story was amended to make it clear that the traces of uranium found in Antarctica may have been from Australia, rather than presenting it as a fact.
ABC, however embarrass themselves by not spending any further time conducting simple inquiries that quickly demonstrate the baseless nature of the claims. The facts are that Australia's Uranium mining industry in among the most highly regulated in the world with strict environmental controls that monitor mines for any pollution. In their original story ABC report that the minuscule amounts of the radioactive element "correspond to a year (1995) when Australia increased its uranium production," Ricardo Jana, who participates in an international research effort in the frozen continent, told El Mercurio daily." ABC's report states "An ice core from the Antarctic bears traces of uranium that may have been carried by the wind from Australian mines in 1995, a glacier expert has told a Chilean newspaper."
Here's a graph of Australia's production of yellowcake from the Australian Parliamentary Library
Production in 1995 at about 5000t is less than 1983 (about 6000t). Why were no "uranium particles" detected in 1983, wind not blowing the right way perhaps? The other problem is that Australia does not produce Uranium. It produces Uranium Oxide, a compound of uranium.
This story even corrected remains a load of nonsense!
ABC's reply is posted below and our request for further action on this woeful piece of reporting is posted below that.
From ABC Audience and consumer affairs received 6 June 2010.