Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Citizens’ Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
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My Concerns about the Nuclear Cycle

by Shirley Farlinger,
International Institute of Concern for Public Health.

I welcome this opportunity to describe my concerns about the nuclear cycle in Canada.

There are many aspects to the problem: the Mining Act, the Aboriginal land claims, the destruction and contaminating of habitat, the radiation emanating from uranium prospecting and mining, the link between uranium and nuclear weapons, especially DU weapons, the divergence of funds from renewable resources to nuclear reactors, the refusal of the nuclear decision-makers to acknowledge the impossibility of dealing with nuclear waste in spite of many hearings (Seaborne Panel, Nuclear Waste Management Organization) and the exclusion of health and environmental concerns. Tax money has been spent on campaigns to call nuclear “safe, clean and cheap” when it is none of these. Such a campaign is immoral and contrary to the interests of Canadians and their health. A full inquiry into nuclear wastes must consider whether there is an alternative to this waste production in the first place. Nuclear contamination in Ontario is already affecting the health of citizens. Any inquiry must consider the testimony of those who do gain or hope to gain from the expansion of the nuclear cycle as suspect. The testimony of those opposing the uranium mining should be made public as a result of these hearings. Too often this is ignored.

The Mining Act needs to be amended to allow the owners of land to have rights related to what is under the land and to be able to prevent anyone coming onto their property especially when there is from damage.

Aboriginal land claims under negotiation must be considered relevant to mining activities. No mining should be planned until the land claims are settled in a just manner.

The destruction of trees, of waterways and of air quality by mining activities must be stopped by law.

The link between uranium mining for nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs, especially Depleted Uranium weapons must be acknowledged. This is clearly described in “Canada’s Deadly Secret” by Dr. Jim Harding. (Fernwood Publishing, 2007) “There is absolutely no distinction between the DU of Canadian origin and the DU of other origins. (US, Australia, etc.) It all goes into the same large stockpiles of DU. . . .a portion of this large stockpile of DU has always been used freely and without any compunctions by the US military for military purposes. . .Thus there is some Canadian DU in every DU weapon.” Childhood leukemia and other cancer rates are five-fold the rate in Iraq before the Gulf War. DU weapons have been used in several countries and are now in the arsenals of many countries.

v It is now clear that the uranium production in Saskatchewan supplied much of the material for the nuclear weapons build-up in the US during the Cold War even as the Canadian government denied this.

The budget of $40 billion for more nuclear reactors in Ontario indicates a complete indifference to the development of the myriad new technologies able to displace nuclear. Money should be spent on a campaign to reduce energy use similar to the one to reduce smoking.

Only three provinces, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, so far have nuclear reactors and the nuclear energy supply in Quebec is very small.

All operating nuclear power plants emit radiation to air, water and therefore to land and food. No reliable epidemiology study has been undertaken. One is needed now. Radiation affects the health of women and children much more than of grown men.

There could be large health cost savings in Ontario if the cancer rates could be reduced by a phaseout of nuclear power.

For the same capital cost of new plants many more jobs could be created in alternatives. There should be no more uranium mining in Ontario no matter how high the price of uranium goes. This is not a financial matter.

The mandate of these hearings is a broad and inclusive one and must remain so. The Minister of Natural Resources, the Health and the Environment ministries should recognize the rights of people to consider the whole nuclear question and not be limited as has happened in the past. Again and again Canadians have questioned the use of nuclear power only to be ignored in the final analysis.