Uranium Mining: Sorting fact from fiction

After the massive earthquake rocked Japan and lead to the Fukushima nuclear disaster over a year ago, many environmentalists have pushed heavily against nuclear power initiatives. Around the world and recently at a site in Virginia, activists have been protesting against the mining of uranium citing “health risks” that the process involves. In an recent article, Reason analyses the safety of uranium mining using Canada as a case study:  

Here is how the Canadian government – the government, not the uranium industry –  summarizes some of them:

  • “Overall, uranium mining and processing workers were as healthy as the general Canadian male population. Lung cancer was the only disease that consistently showed significantly higher death and cancer incidence rates among uranium mine workers.”
  • “The CNSC [Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission] ensures that the air quality in a uranium mine is tightly controlled with good ventilation. As a result, the lung cancer risk for today’s uranium mining and processing workers is the same as that for the general Canadian public.”
  • “Radon exposure to members of the public from CNSC-regulated activities is virtually zero.”
  • Q: “Do uranium mines and mills increase radon levels in the environment?” A: “No.”
  • Myth: Port Hope residents [near a processing plant] are sick as a result of exposure to historical low-level radioactive waste. Fact: Port Hope residents are as healthy as the rest of the Canadian population.
  • “Studies carried out over several decades have repeatedly demonstrated that people who live near [uranium mines and processing facilities] are as healthy as the rest of the general population.”
  • “No increased risk to children living near nuclear power plants or uranium mining, milling, and refining sites was detected.”

Continue to the full article…