After the Uranium Moratorium: The global UBAN movement

Uranium MoratoriumBackground:                    July 28, 2015, Gordon Edwards.

Uranium Moratorium in Quebec --> Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium --> UBAN movement

There has never been a uranium mine in the province of Quebec.  In the last decade, however, there has been a great deal of uranium exploration as a result of the foolish "uranium bubble" of 2006-2007,  resulting in skyrocketing uranium prices,   based on rumors that a massive nuclear renaissance was about to materialize. That nuclear power "boom" never occurred, and uranium prices quickly sank back down to unprofitable levels. It has since become clear that nuclear power has stagnated and is on the decline in North America and Western Europe.  It is also evident that the role of nuclear will continue to decline world-wide for the next couple of decades at least, because new reactors could not be built fast enough in such localities as Eastern Europe and Asia to make up for all the old reactors that will be shutting down in the west over the next few years.

In 2013, the Quebec government declared a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining pending the outcome of a one-year generic environmental assessment of the long-term social, economic and environmental impacts of uranium mining in the Quebec context.  That investigation involved public hearings and written interventions in 2014 followed by the writing of a report of more than 600 pages by a three-member panel.  The final report was released on July 17, 2015.  It recommends against uranium mining in Quebec in the present context and for many years to come.  The Quebec government will now have to decide whether to make the uranium moratorium permanent, as British Columbia has done, or to legislate a ban on uranium mining as Nova Scotia has done, or to pursue some other course of action.

The uranium moratorium of 2013 was prompted by an extraordinary degree of mobilization against uranium mining in the Quebec population.  For example, in 2010, 23 doctors at the Hospital in Sept-Iles wrote an open letter to the Minister of Natural Resources saying they would resign their positions at the hospital, leave the community, and possibly leave the province, unless the government bans uranium mining.  Also in 2010, Cree communities in Eeyou-Istchee, covering vast portions of Northern Quebec, united in declaring their steadfast and non-negotiable opposition to uranium mining on their territory.

Over 400 Quebec municipalities passed resolutions against nuclear power and uranium mining in Quebec, and the issue was raised at the Association of Quebec Municipalities. Environmental groups in the regions most affected by uranium exploration -- the Hautes Laurentides, the North Shore, the Otish mountains in Cree territory, the Gatineau region, and Nunavik, the Inuit territory in the far northern reaches of Quebec -- helped to educate their local populations about the long term risks associated not only with the uranium mining operations but also with the huge volumes of radioactive wastes that are left behind, abandoned, containing some of the most deadly radioactive materials known to science (radium, radon, polonium, and radioactive species of bismuth and lead), having an effective radioactive half-life of 76,000 years.

Even after the uranium moratorium was declared and the environmental assessment was launched, opposition continued to mount. In 2014 the Makivik corporation and the Kativik Regional Government, representing the Inuit of Northern Quebec, as well as  the  Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, representing all other pertinent First Nations communities, followed the Cree example by declaring their adamant opposition to uranium mining.

In April 2015, an ambitious three-day World Uranium Symposium was held in Quebec City, attended by representatives from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, India, Australia and Greenland.  This event proved to be very educational as well as motivational, culminating in the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium, approved by the overwhelming majority of participants, calling for a global ban on uranium mining.  The Declaration has led to the UBAN movement -- a global movement to ban the mining, processing and use of uranium everywhere.  Organizations of all kinds are urged to join this movement.


See for example the inspirational YouTube video on the UBAN movement in Africa:  

 



The Uranium Declaration and the UBAN movement are both inspired by a similar declaration emanating from the Nobel-prize-winning organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), in Basel Switzerland in 2006.

Uranium mining has had devastating effects on aboriginal communities around the world; uranium is the key element indispensable in the production of nuclear weapons of all descriptions; the only other significant use for uranium is as fuel for nuclear reactors used for electricity and isotope production; there are cost-effective and safer alternative methods for producing both electricity and isotopes, and irradiated uranium fuel inevitably contains plutonium, a uranium derivative that can be used to make nuclear explosives for tens of thousands of years to come; hence it is considered necessary that uranium be left in the ground if a nuclear weapons-free and sustainable future, not subject to the risk of massive radioactive contamination, is to be achievable.

Download the Uranium Declaration

Endorsements by individuals and by groups can be registered here

Gordon Edwards.

Uranium Moratorium in Quebec --> Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium --> UBAN movement

There has never been a uranium mine in the province of Quebec.  In the last decade, however, there has been a great deal of uranium exploration as a result of the foolish "uranium bubble" of 2006-2007,  resulting in skyrocketing uranium prices,   based on rumors that a massive nuclear renaissance was about to materialize. That nuclear power "boom" never occurred, and uranium prices quickly sank back down to unprofitable levels. It has since become clear that nuclear power has stagnated and is on the decline in North America and Western Europe.  It is also evident that the role of nuclear will continue to decline world-wide for the next couple of decades at least, because new reactors could not be built fast enough in such localities as Eastern Europe and Asia to make up for all the old reactors that will be shutting down in the west over the next few years.

 

In 2013, the Quebec government declared a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining pending the outcome of a one-year generic environmental assessment of the long-term social, economic and environmental impacts of uranium mining in the Quebec context.  That investigation involved public hearings and written interventions in 2014 followed by the writing of a report of more than 600 pages by a three-member panel.  The final report was released on July 17, 2015.  It recommends against uranium mining in Quebec in the present context and for many years to come.  The Quebec government will now have to decide whether to make the uranium moratorium permanent, as British Columbia has done, or to legislate a ban on uranium mining as Nova Scotia has done, or to pursue some other course of action.

 

The uranium moratorium of 2013 was prompted by an extraordinary degree of mobilization against uranium mining in the Quebec population.  For example, in 2010, 23 doctors at the Hospital in Sept-Iles wrote an open letter to the Minister of Natural Resources saying they would resign their positions at the hospital, leave the community, and possibly leave the province, unless the government bans uranium mining.  Also in 2010, Cree communities in Eeyou-Istchee, covering vast portions of Northern Quebec, united in declaring their steadfast and non-negotiable opposition to uranium mining on their territory.

 

Over 400 Quebec municipalities passed resolutions against nuclear power and uranium mining in Quebec, and the issue was raised at the Association of Quebec Municipalities. Environmental groups in the regions most affected by uranium exploration -- the Hautes Laurentides, the North Shore, the Otish mountains in Cree territory, the Gatineau region, and Nunavik, the Inuit territory in the far northern reaches of Quebec -- helped to educate their local populations about the long term risks associated not only with the uranium mining operations but also with the huge volumes of radioactive wastes that are left behind, abandoned, containing some of the most deadly radioactive materials known to science (radium, radon, polonium, and radioactive species of bismuth and lead), having an effective radioactive half-life of 76,000 years.

 

Even after the uranium moratorium was declared and the environmental assessment was launched, opposition continued to mount. In 2014 the Makivik corporation and the Kativik Regional Government, representing the Inuit of Northern Quebec, as well as  the  Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, representing all other pertinent First Nations communities, followed the Cree example by declaring their adamant opposition to uranium mining.

 

In April 2015, an ambitious three-day World Uranium Symposium was held in Quebec City, attended by representatives from North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, India, Australia and Greenland.  This event proved to be very educational as well as motivational, culminating in the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium, approved by the overwhelming majority of participants, calling for a global ban on uranium mining.  The Declaration has led to the UBAN movement -- a global movement to ban the mining, processing and use of uranium everywhere.  Organizations of all kinds are urged to join this movement.

See for example the inspirational YouTube video on the UBAN movement in Africa:   http://tinyurl.com/pmhnspl

 

The Uranium Declaration and the UBAN movement are both inspired by a similar declaration emanating from the Nobel-prize-winning organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), in Basel Switzerland in 2006.

 

Uranium mining has had devastating effects on aboriginal communities around the world; uranium is the key element indispensable in the production of nuclear weapons of all descriptions; the only other significant use for uranium is as fuel for nuclear reactors used for electricity and isotope production; there are cost-effective and safer alternative methods for producing both electricity and isotopes, and irradiated uranium fuel inevitably contains plutonium, a uranium derivative that can be used to make nuclear explosives for tens of thousands of years to come; hence it is considered necessary that uranium be left in the ground if a nuclear weapons-free and sustainable future, not subject to the risk of massive radioactive contamination, is to be achievable.

 

The Uranium Declaration can be found at http://www.ccnr.org/Declaration_WUS_2015.pdf .  Endorsements by individuals and by groups can be registered at  http://uranium2015.com/en/news/quebecdeclarationuranium .

 

Gordon Edwards.