Sunday, January 13, 2013

Toronto: Large crowd calls for closure of uranium plant

Background:  Toronto: Large crowd calls for closure of uranium plant

Many Toronto residents are shocked to learn that there is a uranium fuel fabrication plant in their neighbourhood -- on Lansdowne Avenue, between Dupont and Davenport. There is no indication on the outside of the GE-Hitachi plant that it is dealing in radioactive materials.

The plant receives drums of uranium dioxide powder from Port Hope's Cameco plant and transforms the radioactive powder into ceramic uranium fuel pellets. Inevitably, some of the uranium powder escapes into the atmosphere and into the sewers.
Uranium is a radioactive heavy metal. It lodges in the lungs if inhaled, and concentrates in the bones if ingested and metabolized. Like all radioactive materials, uranium is a carcinogen and a mutagen.
There is no such thing as a "safe dose" of radioactive material -- even minute exposures can cause cancer.
It is a characteristic not only of radioactive materials like uranium, but of other carcinogen substances as well. That's why there is no "acceptable level" of second-hand cigarette smoke in public buildings. That's why asbestos was removed from automobile brake linings -- because even a single asbestos fiber, inhaled, can result in lung cancer.
Infants and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of atomic radiation. And since uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, it doesn't disappear from the environment once it has been released. Year after year the levels of uranium accumulate.
Families living in Toronto shouldn't have to be exposed to the risk of a radioactive
heavy metal in their air, water or soil. It's time for the GE-Hitachi uranium processing
plant to be relocated to some nuclear exclusion zone like

those around the Bruce or Darlington nuclear reactors. The existing in Toronto should be vacated and decontaminated.

Gordon Edwards, November 19, 2012.

Large crowd calls for closure of uranium plant

by Lisa Rainford, Bloor West Villager, November 16, 2012
Following a march from the GE-Hitachi uranium plant at Lansdowne Avenue and Dupont Street, a capacity crowd of protesters filled the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre sanctuary for what organizers are calling the first of many meetings to come about the nuclear facility.
Decked out in costume, the “Raging Grannies,” a group of older women who use song to protest and raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues, kicked off the Nov. 15 meeting that brought out local politicians from all levels of government, as well as several guest experts.
“If you love your neighbourhood, no uranium... Kick GE out for good, no uranium,” sang the trio to rousing applause.
Facilitated by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s Angela Bischoff, the meeting brought together a host of speakers, including Roy Brady, from SAGE, Safe and Green Energy Peterborough and Council of Canadians, who spoke about public consultations to hold GE Nuclear to account; Kyra Bell-Pasht from CELA, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and Heather Marshall, a toxics campaigner from TEA, the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
Area politicians revealed they were shocked that a nuclear processing plant has been in their midsts for more than five decades.
“Like many of you in our community, I was really surprised, shocked. I didn’t know GE was here,” Davenport MP Andrew Cash admitted to the crowd of about 100. “When you find out after 50 years you’ve been living next to a nuclear facility – something went wrong with the process. Clearly, the public information program failed. What I’m going to be doing is calling the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) and the Minister (of Environment) to a meeting that never happened during the review of (GE-Hitachi’s) license.”
Cash said he has requested that GE provide tours of its facility to community members.
“Residents need to know what’s going on inside those walls,” he said.
Davenport MPP Jonah Schein echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying he only learned of the uranium processing plant through media reports.
“Before the recent press coverage, how many of you knew about this site? Raise your hand,” Schein asked the audience.
The vast majority had no idea that the company manufactured uranium.
“This is a major concern. This is a changing community. Its history is industrial, but more and more people are moving in. People expect to be a part of the conversation,” he said. “We’re happy this conversation is happening now, but it should have happened sooner.”