Jeff Green | Jul 05, 2007
Feature Article - March 8, 2007
Back toHomeLetters - July 5, 2007
Letters to the editor
Contradictions, hypocrisy over Uranium
I’ve learned a bit about uranium mining in the last week, and it’s more horrendous than I’d assumed - tailings ponds, radioactive dust, radon gas, creeping rates of cancer; not to mention new power lines, noise, enormous increases in truck traffic.It seems that we literally live on top of many minerals, among them uranium ore, here on the Canadian Shield.How could anyone want to allow this stuff to be excavated out of the rock right here in our back yard?
Before I can answer that question for myself, I have to deal with the contradictions and hypocrisy in our lives that all this exposes.We are right now depending on CANDUnuclear reactors for over half our electricity generated in Ontario. We’ve been depending on it for the last 30 years.We simply do not have an alternative available now to generate the power we all use every day.Conservation will not fill the gap.Wind power isn’t reliable, and we can’t store electricity.Our provincial government is promising to close coal burning plants over the next seven years, and plans to fill the gap with.... gas fired, and nuclear power. Do we who protest uranium mining have a workable alternative?This is the contradiction I can’t figure out.
The world’s richest deposits of uranium are apparently in northern Saskatchewan, a fact I was only vaguely aware of before now. None of us in Frontenac County has been raising an outcry over the sickness in native communities in northern Saskatchewan, nor about the continued mining practices of Cameco Ltd.We are certainly alarmed now that it might all happen right here.This is the hypocrisy I’m having trouble with.It is sometimes called the NIMBY syndrome.
I see absolutely no value in us as a local community labelling various groups or individuals as being “for” or “against” uranium mining.We are all users of nuclear-generated electricity, whether we are on or off the grid at home.As such, we are all dependent on the continued extraction and processing of uranium ore.I do see value in opposing the development of a mine in this area, but only if at the same time we honestly and openly talk about getting rid of nuclear power altogether.Denmark and Germany are two examples to study.I personally doubt, however, that we yet have the political will to phase out nuclear power.
- John Inglis