Don’t shit where you eat

By in Opinions

GREG REESE
Opinions Writer

It’s kind of fun to pretend that nuclear energy is clean energy. But the fact is, it’s neither clean nor renewable.

I mean, being cleaner than fossil fuels is not a accomplishment; it’s like being funnier than Steve Urkel. Therefore, I sympathize with the protestors who showed up to try and dissuade the Nuclear Waste Management Organization from placing a nuclear waste storage facility in Saskatchewan.

    However, depending on which source you check, Saskatchewan produces between 20 to 23 per cent of the world’s uranium (the provincial government’s website states the higher statistic); so, if not Saskatchewan — the birthplace of much of this nuclear waste — then where should it go? I suppose Ontario is the other main contender, as it houses the most nuclear reactors in Canada. But I think we should take it.

    Simply put, if something goes wrong in the shipping or storing of this vile waste, there are fewer people living in Saskatchewan than Ontario. If we in Saskatchewan are doomed to cancer and deformations, fewer Canadians are affected overall through our sacrifice.

If something goes wrong in the shipping or storing of this vile waste, there are fewer people living in Saskatchewan than Ontario.

    Though nuclear disaster on a large scale may seem far-fetched, the people of Saskatchewan should already know how dirty and negligent the nuclear energy industry can be.

    In 1982, many of the private companies extracting uranium in and around Uranium City simply abandoned their sites when they were no longer profitable to mine (I believe there was a détente in the nuclear arms race).

The federal and provincial governments were left with the clean-up costs (though it took them long enough to get on it). By 2007, 37 abandoned sites were being cleaned or reclaimed in the Uranium City area but, by this time, some abandoned uranium tailings had already leached into the water system. Arsenic and sulphuric acid are only two of the by-products of uranium tailings.

This abandonment of mine sites stands as an interesting, if disturbing, example of how private companies and the government interact. Some of these uranium companies felt that they had no obligation to the land or people around Uranium City, so the government was left with a good deal of the clean-up costs. Now, fewer than one hundred people live in Uranium City year round.

    The government of Saskatchewan has currently stalled on its decision whether or not to allow the construction of a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan. But if we decide to build that reactor, it should seal the deal. We take the storage facility.

    If we’re going to be shitting in our backyard, we need to claim responsibility for it. And at least it isn’t the neighbours’ backyard.

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Read the news story about the recent protests regarding Saskatchewan being used as a possible nuclear waste site.