Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle
from Tom Lawson
Port Hope, ON
My name is Tom Lawson. My wife Pat and I, as lifelong residents of Port Hope, have been deeply involved in nuclear issues. I became actively involved in 1995, long after Pat, who is one of Canada's most experienced nuclear critics.|
My aim tonight is to establish beyond a shadow of doubt the key problem we have in dealing with the nuclear industry. It has never learned that we have one mouth and two ears. It has several mouths and no ears. We might as well be talking to the wall. Pat will clarify this for you in a few minutes.
Let me tell you what I learned in 1995, when Port Hope was faced with the other end of the uranium process. These Pirates of Port Hope, as we called them, were planning what came to be called the Crazy Caverns. The scheme was to bury a million tons of radioactive and toxic waste in 19 caverns, each the size of a 12 story apartment building, right under our Port Hope waterfront.
I initiated a citizens' coalition to oppose it, and, after an agonizing struggle against seemingly overwhelming odds, we won. Why? Because they had made the mistake of including a referendum (which they would never repeat unless certain of victory). I wrote a book listing and illustrating the 18 techniques they used to misrepresent and marginalize us, and a dozen we used to defeat them.(]) By the time they collapsed, the Crazy Caverns were seen by everyone for what they were: an insane concept.
What did they learn from this defeat? Believe it or not, the very same people who planned the Crazy Caverns in Port Hope are now planning, not 19, but 38 similar caverns on the Bruce Peninsula. The unmistakable conclusion?: They never listen. They never learn.
Now here we are at the other end of the uranium process, the issue of these hearings: their mining schemes, which are just as crazy as the caverns.
Here is just one proof: They tell us that the POLONIUM in mine tailings is extraordinarily minute. It is. What they don't tell you is that it is 250 billion times as toxic as the cyanide in these tailings (2). Let me explain. One ton of uranium processing leaves behind a small amount of polonium. But that polonium has the same toxicity as 18 tons of cyanide. Moreover this persists for hundreds of thousands of years
To say the tailings are deadly is an understatement. Jim Harding's book Canada's Deadly Secret tells in irrefutable terms the deadly impact they have had on uranium miners and adjacent First Nations communities in Saskatchewan. Read his book and see what is in store for the people around Sharbot Lake if this proposed mining scheme is implemented.