Uranium: Groups Slam Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

MiningWatch Canada – Coalition Québec Meilleure Mine

Ottawa – MiningWatch Canada and the Coalition Québec Meilleure Mine urge the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to stop intervening in ways that more closely resemble lobbying in favour of the nuclear industry than acting as the neutral and objective regulatory watchdog that it is supposed to be.

The non-governmental organizations, representing over 50 member groups across Canada, are reacting to today’s press release and recent report produced by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), which is highly critical of a presentation given on January 22 by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to senior Quebec government officials. Entitled “Uranium in Quebec – Facts and Consequences”, the CCNR report states that “the credibility of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is seriously compromised” by “biased and misleading” statements made by CNSC’s Patsy Thompson to the Quebec Interdepartmental Committee on uranium.

Last year, the Quebec Government established an Interdepartmental Committee to consider the future of uranium mining in the province. The Committee is reviewing the content and recommendations of the independent 2015 BAPE Review Panel report, following a one-year independent inquiry with over 200 experts and participant testimonies, which recommended that the province not allow uranium mining for the foreseeable future. The BAPE report highlighted multiple, unresolved scientific and technological risks related to uranium mining, as well as a complete lack of social support for this industry in Quebec. (The BAPE  is Quebec’s Bureau des audiences publiques sur l’environnement.)

The CCNR report highlights that Thompson told the Interdepartmental Committee that radionuclides released into the environment from uranium mines and mills are “not toxic”, although these radionuclides – such as radium, radon, and polonium – are all known to be highly toxic materials. She also stated that uranium miners in Ontario have “no greater incidence” of lung cancer than members of the general population, despite a 2015 CNSC-funded study that shows the exact opposite. She told the Committee that uranium tailings are “not more problematic” than any other type of mine tailings, contrary to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s own conclusions.

See CCNR’s full report (English, French) and today’s press release for more information. See also Coalition Quebec Meilleure Mine’s Letter to Editor published last week in several newspapers, and yesterday’s press release.

For more information:

  • Ugo Lapointe, MiningWatch Canada and Coalition Quebec Meilleure Mine, 514-708-0134
  • Dominique Bernier, Coalition Quebec Meilleure Mine, 418-570-3497