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STRATEGY for Today

PAT LAWSON

First and above all a heartfelt thanks to Donna Dillman for getting this ball rolling.

The citizens uprising is timely for a number of reasons:

i) Cameco, the industry that dominates my town, Port Hope, Ontario, has declared that it plans to stay where it is on our Lake Ontario waterfront, with Canada’s main railway lines all that separates it from residential dwellings, with no buffer zone, and with continuing emissions from stacks and pipes.

ii) The Candu reactor is going down the tubes in terms of both dollars and technology. There is evidence that it may be more dangerous than the lightwater reactor.

iii) The issue of NUCLEAR WASTE. Fifteen years of trying to deal with Port Hope’s wastes, and, to date, not a shovel in the ground for long term “disposal”(as they are again calling it). So far this has cost the Canadian taxpayer $75 million. The Nuclear Waste Management Office dealing with high level wastes has been at it for six years, and has spent $16 million.

iv) HEALTH: The Physicians for Global Survival, along with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, are speaking out (Press conference April 21) on the increasing health risks of radiation pollution. They say that water, air, and food contamination are at greater risk than ever before. The recent Newfoundland Health debacle bears a resemblance to the nuclear industry’s attempts to protect itself. The Canadian Nuclear Health Standards are the worst in the the world. ; ie The risk factor, in comparison with the Chemical Industry’s allowable risk is 50 times more lenient; that is, if one accepts their way of calculating risk. In Port Hope we are in the midst of three formal government-run Environmental Assessments. In many cases the Proponent hires consultants to advise them (ie the Municipality of Port Hope and Cameco Corporation). Consultants know which side their bread is buttered on.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: Their strategy is to wear us out with public meetings, the obvious aim of which is to go through the motions of fulfilling their requirements. The format encourages public apathy, and virtually all are, predictably, very poorly attended.(9 staff and 13 of the public the other night). We must have gone to twenty in the past years. We present our concerns. It comes to nothing but window dressing.

We have to deal with:
i) pro-nuclear governments at all three levels:
ii) a mass of townspeople trained to see themselves essentially as consumers rather than citizens, and just too busy to get involved in such a technically difficult subject. It’s a many headed monster.

We need to aim for:
i) a public referendum before the building of any new generating station;
ii) Liability Insurance: The taxpayer should not be shouldered with a financial responsibility which the hugely profitable Cameco Corporation can afford to pay
iii) the protection of Lake Ontario, the source of our drinking water and recreation.

This is the time