Summary of workshops with Jim Harding (facilitator) (Canada) Retired professor, University of Regina
The World Uranium Symposium addressed issues arising from the nuclear fuel chain, from mining uranium to its end-uses and byproducts for civilian or military purposes. Both scientific and community-based, the Symposium was organized around the following themes: health, environment, economy, ethics, governance, human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. Open to the public, the symposium had hosted more than 300 people per day from 14 to 16 April 2015, and had included local, national and international representatives from the sectors of health, research, industry, education, civil society, policy makers and indigenous communities. local, national and/or international media were present. All presentations of the symposium will be posted in electronic formats (text and / or videos) after the Symposium, in French and / or English.
• April 14 (Day 1): Uranium mines and the nuclear life cycle : health and environmental issues
• April 15 (Day 2): Civil and military nuclear : ethics, economics and political issues
• April 16 (Day 3): Human rights, indigenous peoples' rights and governance issues
The Symposium is jointly organized by Physicians for Global Survival (1985 Nobel Peace Prize), the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Nature Québec, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and the Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine. It also receives support from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Swiss chapter), the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute, the Cree Nation of Mistissini, MiningWatch Canada, and a number of other local, national and international partners.
The Symposium is occurring at a time when many organizations and governments question the future of nuclear power, currently providing about 11% of the world’s electricity. The year 2015 also marks the seventieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the corresponding United Nations negotiations of the Non Proliferation Treaty for the prevention and the abolition of nuclear arms. It will also see the tabling on a new UN treaty on climate change. Canada is one of the largest producers and exporters of
uranium worldwide, yet its nuclear energy output is in relative decline. Only two provinces still operate nuclear reactors: Ontario and New Brunswick. While uranium has been primarily mined from Saskatchewan, the provinces of British Columbia and Nova Scotia have officially banned uranium mining. Quebec recently shut down its sole nuclear reactor and has tasked the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) with conducting an investigation on issues related to uranium mining. It is expected to release its report by May 20 2015. The Symposium aims to tackle these different issues and to provide recommendations to decision makers to better ensure protection for the human health, global security and a safe environment