BC’s URANIUM BAN – Reader comments

We have enjoyed the thoughtful reader comments to the question of British Columbia's ban on uranium exploration and...


We have enjoyed the thoughtful reader comments to the question of British Columbia's ban on uranium exploration and development.

Peter Broad, a consultant who works in Toronto, recalled that Dr. Frank Finley, a speaker from the Chalk River, Ont., nuclear facility, said that radon emissions from a coal-powered plant are higher than those from a nuclear plant. "I am not opposed to NGOs and tree-huggers," he wrote, "but I expect that they discover the truth before speaking."

The technical aspects of uranium mining have their own considerations, pointed out another reader: "Tailings disposal is the greatest problem associated with uranium mining
proposals in B.C., almost entirely due to the province's topography. My recollection is that during the last 50 years only one uranium mining proposal was submitted for review (1976 or 1977) and was withdrawn by the proponent as no safe long-term tailings disposal could be found within a viable mining proposal. Thus, it doesn't make any sense to explore for uranium until safe long term tailings disposal has been developed for B.C.'s climate and terrain."

"The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission provides strong oversight to uranium mining and milling projects, and there are provincial and federal environmental assessment processes in place that can effectively determine risk, if any, to the public and the environment. Overall, uranium mining is more strictly regulated than other mining in Canada, and has an enviable record for the current generation of mines in Saskatchewan," wrote a reader who works for the world's largest uranium producer. "B.C.'s Mining Plan is designed to encourage mining in recognition of mining's contribution to a strong economy. B.C.'s uranium moratorium seems contrary to this."

A reader noted that the uranium ban is only a symptom of a greater malaise: "If you are a mining company in B.C. and going through the permitting process, it won't take long to see that B.C. is really not open to mining. They are still operating under the NDP laws and regulations. Until they change these laws and regulations, B.C. will remain unfriendly to companies that actually want to open a mine. The mining ministry is not an advocate for mining."

Readers from outside the mining industry had comments, too. "The mining industry should be responsible for cleaning up the 250 million tons of low grade radioactive waste that was left by the previous generation of miners. This material continues to pollute soil and water and is now the responsibility of Canadian taxpayers. The nuclear industry has not solved safety issues or disposal methods. The ore should be left in the ground until the industry can provide public safety and environmental protection for future generations."

Finally, one reader wants industry executives prosecuted: "The sooner we shut down this whole toxic polluting industry the better. Look at the [mines in India] killing whole native villages with radioactive contaminated water [and] the South African disasters with uranium radioactive poison exposed due to gold mines [or] the Navaho poison legacy left on the reserve lands. this is just one step in the whole nuclear cycle that is killing this planet. The executives should all be in jail for crimes against humanity. This government should be on trial in the world courts as well."

The opinion of the above writer is certainly heartfelt, but suggesting the imprisonment of responsible mining executives is laughable, if not particularly amusing.


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