Letter to the Editor: Uranium, Leave It Underground

Uranium, Nova Scotia
The exterior of the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station is pictured on Nov. 29, 2010, in Lepreau, N.B. Bill Black argues that uranium mining in Nova Scotia could help wean the world economy off fossil fuels. (KEVIN BISSETT / CP) Photo and caption SOURCE

After reading Bill Black’s recent article regarding uranium mining in Nova Scotia I feel compelled to write and explain why we shouldn’t do as he suggests.

We, the Friends of Nature, believe we are very fortunate in Nova Scotia to currently have a moratorium on uranium mining. There are numerous health risks related to uranium mining; Nova Scotians should be thankful such legislation currently exists.

As usual Mr. Black has done due diligence in researching his subject and presents a list of reasons why the current moratorium should be ended. Mr. Black uses the argument that great job opportunities would be created and we would also be helping to address the world’s energy problems. After all, in Saskatchewan “uranium mining provides 3000 well paying direct jobs”.

Mr. Black neglects to mention anything about the health risks associated with uranium mining. Also, he doesn’t take into consideration the shear size of Saskatchewan and the fact that the mines there are located in very northern locations. The province of Nova Scotia does not have the option to mine in remote areas as our land-base is very small. The cancerous tailings piles and ponds would be very close to our communities. The half life of these cancerous tailings is several thousand years at the very least–not much of a legacy for future generations of Nova Scotians to embrace.

Nova Scotia currently has some of the highest cancer rates in the country. Do we really need jobs that badly that we would be prepared to increase those statistics? We are of the opinion that the health risks associated with uranium mining waste material far surpasses any job benefits we would see in the future.

We do understand the need for Nova Scotia to grow its economy and move forward to embrace a new way of thinking about our collective good. The Ivany Report is clear about this; however, we need to use common sense and pursue sustainable healthy employment opportunities.
Our suggestion to Premier MacNeil and his government is to show leadership, maintain the moratorium and leave the uranium in the ground, forever.

Brad Armstrong,
Conservation Director,FON,
Chester NS.

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