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What’s the Alternative to Nuclear Colonialism in the North?


The Hazards of Uranium

Uranium is a water soluble, toxic heavy metal that emits radiation until it stabilizes into lead in 4.5 billion years. One of its many cancer-causing (carcinogenic) by-products is radon gas, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is the world’s second cause of lung cancer after smoking. No wonder jurisdictions concerned about environmental health want to keep uranium from being spread into watersheds, food chains and human bodies.

Most places “leave it in the ground.” British Columbia’s 1977 uranium moratorium was reaffirmed in 2008. Nova Scotia has had a ban since 1985, which has now been put into legislation by the new NDP government, and Labrador imposed a uranium ban a few years ago. Twenty Ontario municipalities including Ottawa have recently called for a ban on uranium exploration in that region. Virginia has had one since 1983, the state Medical Association is calling for a uranium ban in Colorado, and a U.S. federal authority has proposed one throughout the whole Grand Canyon watershed.

So, why are we so oblivious to the hazards of uranium in Saskatchewan? Is it because the Blakeney NDP government that expanded uranium mining in the 1980s promised “untold wealth” if we mined our high-grade uranium as a public enterprise? Is it because Cameco’s tax-deductible donations to health, education and cultural groups make us feel like we’re all benefiting? Or, is it mostly because uranium mining occurs far away from southern towns and cities, near sparsely populated First Nations and Métis communities?

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the findings of Nova Scotia’s 1982 Inquiry. In its Final Report Judge McCleave said “One could live near uranium, or one of the elements in its cycle, and not immediately recognize the hazards…the radiation from such sources has no taste, no sound, no form by which it can be seen, and no odour. Its damages can be devastating. This lack of taste, noise, sight and smell make it a formidable enemy indeed.” Later in the report he wrote, “The most common argument against the development of uranium holdings was the long-term management of the waste or tailings…since the problem raised (of uranium wastes) is less than fifty years and the decay in the tailings is to last for tens of thousands of years, there is no absolute answer”.[i]

The public outcry that led to Nova Scotia’s moratorium was triggered by uranium exploration. The “free entry” of mining companies staking uranium claims on Aboriginal, cottage and farm land during the uranium bull market in 2008 also sparked a coalition to ban uranium exploration in the Ottawa Valley. New Brunswick protests led to changes to the Clean Water Act to protect drinking water sources from uranium contamination.

In expressing support for the Ardoch Algonquin, the Union of B.C. Chiefs noted former Chief Robert Lovelace “was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $25,000 for his participation in an ongoing peaceful protest over uranium exploration on Algonquin traditional land.”[ii]

Here in Saskatchewan it’s still “out of sight-out of mind.” The 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples require “prior, informed consent” for exploration to occur where Aboriginal rights are involved. But uranium mining was initiated In Northern Saskatchewan in the 1950s under the secrecy of the nuclear arms race. Aboriginal Rights were then summarily ruled out of the 1978 Cluff Lake Inquiry. This made Northern Saskatchewan more appealing to uranium multinationals than uranium-rich Australia, where Aboriginal Rights were considered in public inquiries. And so the uranium boom that would make Saskatchewan the largest uranium-exporting region on the planet began.

It might have been different here. A uranium moratorium was recommended at the NDP’s 1976 convention, but proponents were out-maneuvered by government ministers who were already negotiating joint-venture uranium exports. With loyal pronuclear Commissioners running the Cluff Lake or Bayda Board of Inquiry, the Inquiry was a safe “compromise” that ruled out the forthright investigation that led to Nova Scotia’s moratorium.[iii]

The Legacy of Uranium Mining

The Saskatchewan Party government-appointed Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) advertised its public meetings in 2009 as being about “The Future of Uranium in Saskatchewan.” This created the false impression that they were talking strictly about uranium mining, whereas the UDP recommended that we enrich uranium, build nuclear plants, create a nuclear waste dump and research plutonium fuel reprocessing.[iv] For decades the nuclear industry’s business plan has been to expand the nuclear industry on the coat tails of ill-informed, “soft” support for uranium mining.[v] The UDP was a central part of this strategy. Cameco, the world’s largest uranium multinational, owns Bruce Power, the private Ontario corporation that proposed building nuclear plants along the North Saskatchewan River, a proposal overwhelmingly opposed during the UDP consultation process.[vi] Both corporations were members of the UDP, as was the French nuclear corporation, Areva, also mining uranium in the North.

We should look carefully at the history of uranium mining and not get steamrolled into nuclear power and nuclear wastes. We should ask whether uranium mining has been the great success story the Wall government, several previous NDP governments and the corporate media, constantly assert it has been.

After three decades of study several things stand out.[vii]

  • All uranium mined in northern Saskatchewan in the 1950s and 1960’s went into nuclear weapons. We don’t like to talk about it, but there is strong evidence that depleted uranium (DU), left after enriching Saskatchewan uranium in the U.S. and France, is then available for military uses (e.g. both nuclear and DU weapons).

  • Both uranium miners and communities near radioactive uranium tailings face greater health risks, including cancer; scientific evidence that there is no safe level of radiation continues to challenge the legally permissible levels of exposure.

  • Once uranium is mined and milled, by-products in the tailings which will be radioactive for thousands of years become more bio-available to contaminate watersheds and ecosystems. There have already been major radioactive spills – for example at Key Lake in 1984 and Wollaston Lake in 1989. Ongoing containment problems such as at the Deilmann tailings pit at Key Lake, will undoubtedly increase with time. This burden will be passed on to future generations.

  • The public benefits promised when the Blakeney NDP created its uranium crown corporation, the Saskatchewan Mining and Development Corporation (SMDC), have never materialized. Public investments far outstripped the revenue generated. Blakeney’s government predicted revenues (i.e. royalties plus taxes) of between $83 and $127 million in 1982; the actual amount was $29 million. (Oil, gas and potash provided over $700 million that year.) Prior to Blakeney’s 1982 defeat, the now defunct Heritage Fund expended 17% of all resource revenues to expand the uranium industry, while less than 2% of its revenues came from uranium.[viii]

  • Since the SMDC was privatized into Cameco in 1988 by the Mulroney and Devine Conservative governments and the value of uranium sales have skyrocketed, provincial revenues have remained flat. When uranium sales reached $650 million in 1996, taxes and royalties were only $67 million. This trend continues: in 2006, when uranium sales were $600 million, taxes and royalties came to only $43 million.

  • Very few people are benefiting greatly from this mining. The April 18th Star Phoenix reports that Cameco’s CEO had total compensation in 2008 of “just over $4.5 million, up from 3.7 million in 2007”. This was one-third of the $14 million uranium revenue going to the province in 2003. It was even bigger earnings than British Petroleum’s (BP’s) CEO was getting prior to the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

  • Uranium mining is strategically promoted as providing Indigenous communities with economic opportunities. Yet these communities never gave “prior, informed consent”, very few benefits trickle down yet they face the greatest environmental health burdens from the industry. Sustainable, renewable resources would provide many times more job opportunities without creating long-term risks.

There are several uranium mines in Hatchet Lake Denesuline territory. Past Chief and twenty-two year band councillor, now heading the community development portfolio, Ed Benoanie, says “almost all workers come from the south.” Fifty years of uranium mining “hasn’t created any economic opportunities for our community. A few people from the community work there, but we have 80 percent unemployment.” He continued: “We do approach them every now and then. And they come back with little handouts every now and then – to keep you quiet.”[ix]

Hard Lessons from the Gunnar Mine

One of the earliest uranium mines in Northern Saskatchewan was the Gunnar mine on the north shore of Lake Athabasca near Uranium City. It operated from 1955 to 1964 to provide uranium for U.S. nuclear weapons. When the mine closed, it not only left a thousand workers unemployed but a legacy of toxic radioactive wastes.

The federal crown corporation, Eldorado Nuclear, operated the mine. (In 1988 Eldorado, along with the SMDC, was privatized to become Cameco.) When Gunnar was closed, its water-front warehouse was converted into a fish processing plant run by the federal Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. The fish plant operated until 1981, when it mysteriously closed. Speculation is that this was to avoid liability from marketing contaminated fish products and exposing workers and families to toxic nuclear wastes.

No attempt was made to protect local people from radioactive wastes. In 2006 Fond du Lac Chief, Victor Fern, recalled, “The buildings were wide open and there were no warning signs. The mine shaft was probably about 50 yards from the processing plant and that was wide open, too. We used to climb that every day. There was no fencing or anything. Even the uranium processing mill was wide open, so we used to go in all these buildings, not knowing the dangers about radiation. Also the tailings pond where all the waste went, it was fine sand that we didn’t know was toxic waste, and we would go and play in there, not knowing.”[x]

A 2001 report, ToxiCanada by Minewatch and Sierra Canada noted: “Unlike most developed countries Canada has no national program to deal with contaminated sites. Abandoned mines and tailings ponds create toxic nightmares, contaminated rivers, lakes and surrounding lands. Local communities are left with the toxic legacy…” The Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society added “…the impacts of waste rock, tailings and waste water are enormous.” Tailings in water-borne chemical slurry “are more susceptible to leaching or heavy metal poisons and acidification of the water. In the case of uranium mining, there is the added hazard of the radioactivity…”

It took decades for the federal and provincial governments to finally agree on cost-sharing for a clean-up of long abandoned mines such as Gunnar. (You can’t really “clean up” toxic waste that will be radioactive for thousands of years!) Based on past experience, the estimated $25 million cost to the Canadian taxpayer for belatedly decommissioning the main mine and 40 satellite sites will be insufficient. According to the Fond du Lac Denesuline Nation, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Saskatchewan Environment even posted signs at old mines and tailings piles saying “Danger – Do Not Enter – Radiation”.

When uranium mining was expanded in the 1980s the NDP government claimed it would be state-of-the- art and environmentally safe. Since then there have been major radioactive spills at Key Lake (1984) and Rabbit Lake (1989), and massive mine flooding at McArthur River (2003) and Cigar Lake (2006, 2008). As regularly happens at tailings ponds in Alberta’s tar sands, there are ongoing spills at uranium tailing ponds and dumps that never get reported. Heavy metals like arsenic and lead and carcinogens like benzene are spilled from the tar sands into adjacent waterways. In addition to toxic heavy metals like arsenic and nickel, uranium mines leach or spill thorium and radium that will be radioactive for thousands of years. When the uranium in the tailings finally stabilizes it turns into lead, still a toxic metal.

In its research on the Gunnar mine the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) found “elevated radionuclide levels” in sediments and “higher uranium levels in the fish tissues”. It found that the “waste rock pile continues to be a source of contamination of Zeemel Bay”, in the St. Mary’s Channel, a large strait south of the Gunnar mine. It found “environmental impacts in Langley Bay (2 KM north of Gunnar) related to the historic tailings deposition”. And it found that Black Bay “contains high contaminant levels”.[xi] Now the SRC, which is responsible for remediation work at the Gunnar site, is warning people to stay away due to “safety hazards” including “chemical and radiation hazards.”

Previous mine workers and residents have complained for years about increased illnesses, including congenital birth defects and cancers, though both levels of government deny any connection to uranium.[xii] No baseline or systematic epidemiological research has been done in the region. Cancer deaths are sometimes attributed to symptoms, such as “pneumonia”.

When northern NDP MLA and past Cabinet Minister, Keith Goulet, spoke at the industry-sponsored Uranium Institute in 1997 he remarked “Completion of the struggle of northern people to regain independence, by concluding the colonial chapter of our northern history, is now within our reach.” Saskatchewan government officials of all political stripes continue to promote uranium mining as a way to combat northern underdevelopment and poverty, yet the outcomes, such as at Gunnar, look like more government-sanctioned resource colonization. Some don’t like the term, but when you look at who gets the short-term benefits and who suffers the long-term burdens from uranium mining, it looks like “nuclear colonialism.”

Because of this legacy of contamination and illness many Denesuline elders, women and youth are re-committing to protecting and restoring the traditional economy. And governments and the southern Saskatchewan population should support them. The broader public should be asking why there is so much emphasis on adding value to uranium with its toxic legacy, while governments foot-drag on adding value to fishing, with viable, safely-situated fish processing plants in the north. Protecting lakes, forests, fishing and other renewable resources is the path to sustainability, not the toxic, radioactive legacy of uranium mining.

The fishers and seafood industry in the Gulf of Mexico have tragically discovered that you can’t continue to extract toxic “resources” which inevitably contaminate Mother Earth and expect to harvest safe healthy food into the future. That oil spill will contaminate the Gulf and wetlands for decades; uranium mining will contaminate eco-systems literally forever.

The “Duty to Consult”

The Athabasca Sandstone, the geological formation which spreads into northern Alberta and Manitoba, contains the highest grade uranium in the world; and the Athabasca region has seen the most intense uranium exploration and mining activity anywhere. This is traditional Denesuline territory and yet communities like Fond du Lac, Black Lake and Hatchet Lake have never been consulted about the expansion of uranium mining, with its toxic, radioactive legacy. Thankfully, the “Duty to Consult” is starting to get attention. This is about the right to “free, prior and informed consent”, which rules out monetary or other inducements and requires sufficient time to consider all relevant information before consenting to, or rejecting, any proposed resource extraction project.

This right is affirmed in international law. The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls for such consent, “particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of minerals, water or other resources.”[xiii] Article 29, which emphasizes consent before hazardous wastes are stored or disposed on Indigenous lands, is particularly pertinent to the toxic, radioactive operations of the uranium industry. Support for such consent also comes from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169.

Those promoting the nuclear industry in Saskatchewan dance around the Duty to Consult. The Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) Report says, “The process to fulfill the duty to consult with First Nations and Métis communities is not sufficiently defined.” But its concern is not about respecting Indigenous rights, but with how, as it says, “The lack of a clear process may create an impediment to further exploration and/or development in the Province”. Rather than coming out in support of the Duty to Consult, the UDP recommends that Saskatchewan should simply “work with the Federal government to establish clear parameters and accountability …”[xiv]

Don’t hold your breath. While Canada played a vital role in the drafting of the 50-year old United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and our Supreme Court has recently affirmed the Duty to Consult, Canada’s Harper government has stood almost alone globally in refusing to endorse the 2007 UN Declaration. While this doesn’t diminish the international standing of the Declaration, it does show that under Harper’s Conservatives, Canada has become a rogue state regarding Indigenous and other human rights.

Given past performance of the nuclear industry, Indigenous communities will understandably be wary of any pretense to consult. Indigenous communities were consistently sidelined from decision-making when uranium mines started near Uranium City in the 1950s. Aboriginal Rights were excluded from the Cluff Lake Board of Inquiry (CLBI) in 1978. And then the recommendation in 1993 by the Joint Federal Provincial Panel (JFPP) on Uranium Mining, that Cogema’s (Areva’s) Midwest uranium mine not go ahead because “the benefits that could be obtained are insufficient to balance the potential risks”, was simply ignored by the Romano NDP government of the day.

In its “consultations” with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and Métis Society, the industry-based, Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) now talks of finding a “willing community” in the north to take nuclear wastes. Yet the NWMO never mentions that after seven years of hearings (1991-1998) the Seaborne Inquiry, a Federal Environmental Review of AECL’s nuclear waste proposal, concluded that “…the concept for deep geological disposal has not been demonstrated to have public support…it does not have the required level of acceptability to be adopted as Canada’s approach for managing nuclear fuel waste”.[xv] When these consultations with the wider public backfired, the nuclear industry just moved on with the same agenda and “consulted” with economically impoverished Indigenous communities. This manipulative, monetarily-induced “consultation” totally fails to meet the criteria of Duty to Consult.

Compare this approach with what occurred in British Columbia or Nova Scotia, where environmental health concerns led to long-standing uranium moratoria. Or in New Brunswick, where such concerns led to banning all uranium exploration that could contaminate community aquifers or rural wells! Or in the Ottawa Valley, where a broad coalition won support for a uranium moratorium from 20 municipalities, including the capital city itself! If we look honestly at what has happened in Northern Saskatchewan compared to elsewhere, we find a huge double standard.

Ontario’s cottagers, farmers, along with Algonquin communities with outstanding land claims, have united against the antiquated policy that allows “free entry” to explore for uranium without owner consent. Cottagers returning to their small lake-side retreats to find trees cut, holes bored and claims stakes have developed more sympathy for Indigenous communities which have faced such arbitrary and destructive actions “in their back yards” for over a century.

Governments and corporations wanting to continue the colonial practice of “free entry” are coming up against the international law affirming Duty to Consult. They will try to make it as ritualistic and non-consequential as possible. The rest of us need to work to make it a norm and process that governments respect and uphold. An alliance of Indigenous and Settler groups committed to self-determination and democratization will help us all move towards a sustainable society.

A Uranium Tailings Dump

The uranium mining going on in the north since the 1950s, first to fuel U.S. nuclear weapons and then nuclear power plants, has made northern Saskatchewan one of the world’s largest uranium tailings dumps. Before uranium mining mushroomed in Northern Saskatchewan in the 1980s, there were already 200 million tonnes of uranium tailings dumped across Canada’s north. Much of this detrimentally affects Denesuline territory around Uranium City and the territory of the Serpent River First Nations near Elliot Lake, Ontario.[xvi]

Meanwhile, Cameco is now preparing its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to get approval for yet another huge mine, which it calls the Millennium Project.[xvii] This mine would be 150 km from Wollaston Lake, an area already inundated with radioactive tailings from past mines. The 1993 federal-provincial environment review was so concerned about the cumulative impact of these mines that they recommended that Areva’s proposed Midwest mine not go ahead and that its McClean Lake mine be postponed.

The proposed Millennium mine would be half way between Cameco’s operating McArthur River mine, now the largest in the world, and the uranium-depleted Key Lake mine north on the Pinehouse road which still operates a processing mill and tailings dump. The proposed new mine site is 500 km north of Saskatoon. If it were close to Saskatoon where Cameco has its head office, or to Regina where the pro-uranium industry government resides[xviii], or to southern cities like Swift Current or Yorkton, it would not receive approval.

Some are calling this huge double standard “environmental racism.” But unless northerners and southerners organize together to oppose this mine, Cameco likely hasn’t much to worry about. Even when an environmental review has recommended against a uranium mine proceeding, such as in 1993, the mining lobby got its way. And so the Midwest and McClean Lake mines opened regardless of concerns about cumulative effects.

The Saskatchewan Party’s move towards environmental de-regulation and corporate self-regulation will favour fast-tracking this new profitable mining project. And the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is already so compromised by its mishandling of radioactive contamination at Port Hope and Chalk River, Ontario that it can’t be relied upon as a neutral and objective regulator. Neither Saskatchewan’s Ministry of the Environment or the CNSC would dare say “no” to Cameco’s new mine, even though it is not in any sense, about creating a sustainable economy in the north. A broad coalition of Saskatchewan groups, such as that which opposed nuclear power plants along the North Saskatchewan River in 2009, will have to take the lead in stopping uranium mine expansion.

The Millennium ore body contains 47 million pounds of U308 or “yellowcake” which would be shipped to Cameco’s Blind River refinery and the Port Hope conversion plants in Ontario. The 4.5 percent uranium in the ore body makes this a very lucrative, cost-effective find. Uranium is a non-renewable toxic resource and the economically-recoverable supplies are steadily dwindling. Cameco is therefore interested in getting this high-grade ore mined as quickly as possible, while the shrinking nuclear power industry is still profitable.[xix] This project will also help compensate for Cameco’s failure to get another, even higher-grade underground mine at Cigar Lake on-steam on time, due to continual costly flooding.

Cameco wants to start road construction to the Millennium mine by 2012 and then immediately start sinking the 600-700 meter shafts to extract the ore. Their plan is to transport the ore in giant mining trucks, such as those used in Alberta’s tar sands, the 57 km to Key Lake for uranium milling and tailings dumping. They estimate they will mine and transport up to 200,000 tonnes of ore a year. The carbon footprint of this proposed project would be mammoth.

The nuclear industry has gotten away with fallacious claims that it is a no-carbon energy source by ignoring the full nuclear fuel system, including uranium mining. A proposal to truck uranium-bearing ore from the McArthur River mine to McClean Lake, keeping the McClean Lake mill open until the Cigar Lake mine comes on stream, shows how energy-wasting uranium mining can be. If this plan is approved, the 17-hour truck trips with the thousands of tonnes of ore will have to go south to La Ronge and then back north to McClean Lake. The uranium industry now considers the whole North its back yard.

Cameco plans to mine out this ore body within 6 or 7 years. Uranium mining is extremely capital-intensive and provides very few jobs per million invested, compared to renewable energy resources. The trickling down of meagre benefits to a few individuals and businesses in the north simply can’t provide any long-term foundation for a healthy, sustainable economy. And industry rhetoric aside, only a pittance of the value of the uranium comes back to the province as revenue.

Protecting the Renewable Economy

Cameco says that when it decommissions this proposed mine it will restore the area to its previous, pristine state. This is pure public relations nonsense. The proposed mine is in the Wheeler River area of the Athabasca Plains, an undisturbed area of boreal forest presently used by First Nations and Métis for hunting, trapping and fishing. This mine would be yet another assault on the renewable economy in the north, which must be protected for there to be any long-term plan for sustainability. The warning was given in 1993, when the federal-provincial review said “It is not a question whether or not there will be cumulative environmental impacts, but of their magnitude.” Referring to the area west of Wollaston Lake and south of Hatchet Lake, it said the overall effect of mining operations “…with the possibility of interconnected roads and power lines, would be widespread…the entire area might become unproductive for traditional hunting, fishing and gathering activities.”[xx]

If the Millennium mine gets the go ahead the mine workers would be based at Key Lake. The only reason for pushing the road through to the new mine is to extract profitable uranium, and Cameco says it may close the road down and remove power lines to the mine after it closes. But the damage will be done. The massive water required for this mine would be pumped from nearby Slush Lake and the “treated” effluent would then be pumped back into Moon Lake, which is part of the Wheeler River system in the region. This will inevitably contaminate the lakes and river with toxic and radioactive heavy metals and present yet another risk of radioactive spills such as have already occurred.

The 21 km’s of new road will degrade many streams along the way. Sediment and radioactive ore spillage along the road is inevitable once the extraction project is no longer under public scrutiny. Cost-cutting to enhance the bottom line is commonplace once these mega-projects are full-steam ahead. We’ve already seen the industry cut corners at Uranium City, Rabbit Lake, Cluff Lake, Key Lake and other mines.

Cameco’s decommissioning plan focuses on the appearance, not the toxicity of the land. It says it will contour the waste rock left at the site to fit the terrain and then re-vegetate this. This superficial “blending” with nature ignores the long-term ecological impacts. What about all the added radioactive tailings that will be left at Key Lake after milling the ore? The mined-out Deilmann pit at Key Lake is already presenting problems as a tailings dump.[xxi] Averaging nearly 5 percent uranium, tailings from the Millennium mine would be highly radioactive. One by-product, thorium, which ultimately breaks down into radium and radon gas, has a half-life of 76,000 years which means it will be bio-available to migrate into the eco-systems for hundreds of thousands of years. Creating this long-term risk for a few years of profitable mining, with few local benefits, is, in a nutshell, what unsustainable development means.

Sustainability requires a shift in perspective; rather than focusing on the short-term value of Cameco’s stocks on the market, or a few short-term jobs, we need developmental indicators in place that require us to protect the planet for future generations. Strengthening the Duty to Consult is an important part of this, as is the shift to renewable forms of energy like wind, solar and biomass. The proposed Millennium mine would be another step in the wrong direction, further degrading the land and undermining the renewable economy.

The million dollar question is: will this be the uranium mine that finally catalyses widespread northern opposition to this industry and the radioactive tailings it leaves behind, as it takes its big profits to the bank?

[i] Final Report, Nova Scotia Uranium Inquiry, 1982, p. 17, 27.

[ii] UBCIC Press Release. February 22, 2008.

[iii] See Jim Harding, “Due Process in the Uranium Inquiries”, In Dawn Currie and Brian MacLean (eds.), Rethinking the Administration of Justice, Fernwood (1992), pp.130-149.

[iv] Since uranium supplies are dwindling, reprocessing of nuclear wastes to get plutonium fuel is the industry’s “hidden agenda”. Reprocessing is perhaps the greatest threat of any to international attempts to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and has been banned in the U.S. since the 1970s.

[v] See “Uranium-Nuclear Alliance”, in Jim Harding, Canada’s Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System (Fernwood, 2007), chapter 12, pp. 147-158..

[vi] Dan Perrins, “The Future of Uranium Public Consultation Process”, Sept. 15, 2009.

[vii] My research began with a large Human Context of Science and Technology (HCST) research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in the early 1980s.

[viii] See “The Burdens and Benefits of Growth: Mineral Resource Revenues and Heritage Fund Allocations under the Saskatchewan NDP” in, Jim Harding (ed.), Social Policy and Social Justice, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1995, chapter 12, pp.341-374.

[ix] John Bird, “Uranium Boom Brought Few Benefits To Dene”, Nunavut Mining Symposium, April 28, 2009.

[x] “For Our Children’s Children”, Band Brief, 2006.

[xi] “Gunnar Site Aquatic Assessment”, Saskatchewan Research Council, 2006, pp. xvii-xviii.

[xii] See Fredrik Loberg’s article, “Our Land Will Never Be the Same”, for some testimonies:

[xiii] United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007, Article 32.

[xiv] “Capturing the full potential of the uranium value chain in Saskatchewan”, UDP, March 2009, P. 27, 40.

[xv] Report of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Management and Disposal Concepts, Environmental Review Panel, FEARO, Ottawa, 1998. I discuss this in “Common Sense about Nuclear Waste”, in Canada’s Deadly Secret, chapter 10, pp. 122-132.

[xvi] See Lorraine Rekmans et al (eds.), This is My Homeland: Stories of the effects of nuclear industries by people of the Serpent River First Nations and the North Shore of Lake Huron, Serpent River First Nations, 2003.

[xvii] See Ann Coxworth, “Cameco seeks approval for new underground mine”, SES Newsletter, July-August 2010, p. 4.

[xviii] Minister of Energy and Resources Bill Boyd was one of the speakers at the Uranium 2010 conference held in Saskatoon in mid-August. This was organized, sponsored and keynoted by Cameco and Areva officials, and emphasized the same nuclear expansion plan that was promoted in the industry-dominated UDP a year before.

[xix] Electricity from renewable energy passed nuclear energy in 2005; it already produces around 20 % of the world’s electricity while nuclear has fallen from 18% to 13%.

[xx] Joint Federal Provincial Panel, Interim Report, October 1993.

[xxi] Many of these problems were foreseen in Marvin Resnikoff et al, “Comments on EIS for McArthur River Proposal”, Radioactive Waste Management Associates, New York, March 1, 1996.