Star Phoenix Needs to Be Balanced in reporting on Uranium Industry


The StarPhoenix

Monday, April 09, 2022

During the early development of uranium mines, probing questions were asked, cartoons printed and spills reported in The SP. Now we constantly get one-sided articles and front page headlines advocating uranium mining and nuclear power.

When Cameco is ordered to reduce releases of toxic selenium and molybdenum, only four sentences appear as a "brief" item. Where is the full story? Did anyone at The SP read the document that led up to this Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission decision? In it, CNSC cites a report of "observed harm to lake bottom aquatic invertebrates and young northern pike in the near fi eld (two kilometers) and harm to young northern pike .... and to some aquatic mammals and birds as far as 10 km down stream to Delta Lake.

"These impacts are greater in magnitude and spatial extent than forecast in the 1995 environmental predictions." It also reports other problems. The Gaertner special waste and Dielmann tailings pits are failing. There is "signifi cant sloughing," buttressing is required to stabilize "unstable pit walls," and "bentonite containment systems" in ore storage and two special waste areas "were defective." As well, aging infrastructure has caused several spills from a groundwater dewatering system.

According to CNSC, at Key Lake, Cameco's "waste management subprogram implementation is below requirements." Focus on reducing selenium and molybdenum is not only about environmental dangers.

Cameco's plan to "import recyclable products" (wastes containing selenium and molybdenum) from its Blind River and Port Hope refi neries cannot proceed until these elements are reduced in the milling process.

Nuclear waste from Ontario will be transported through Saskatoon, milled and dumped into malfunctioning waste pits at Key Lake. There is a lot more to this story than a mere four sentences. The public deserves to know the full story.

Marion Penna
Saskatoon, SK