16 March 2011

Link to Canadian film, URANIUM


The nuclear industry as a serious political issue has gone viral on the internet, in the wake of the Japanese meltdown. Globally, the anti-war/anti-nuke movements have a mature and strong, well-established infrastructure. Together as a coalition, they have the potential to exert a mighty pressure at this time, given public preoccupation with the immediate hazards of airborne radiation products. We’ve already seen the great impact on public consciousness, of the global profiteering in food and other commodities, and the diffuse anger in response – ranging from the middle-eastern rebellions, to the emerging “99% movement” in the USA.

There is a possibility that the Japanese government may be an early victim to the lack of natural disaster and nuclear safety preparedness, and cover up of the current crisis. If that occurs, it’s entirely possible that a right-wing replacement government will fill the political void: a result which might be welcomed by a bumbling Obama administration, given its failed policies of containing China’s rising influence in Asia. With the significant news blackout in mainstream media, many “alternative” commentators now expect the worst-case scenario may quickly affect North America, with considerablepublic anger directed at governments who hide the facts. In Germany, for example, the Merkel government, facing an election in a week or two has quickly suspended allnuclear electric plans pending further investigation.
There has perhaps never been a better opportunity for the consolidated peace/anti-nuclear/green movements worldwide to exert a very significant influence on public policy; re-opening a substantive non-proliferation debate, and even asserting widespread popular opposition to the current status quo. A responsible but firm advocacy of public health and safety responses downwind of the nucleotide stream would go a long way to establish credibility; and a rational linkage to the military geopolitical nexus could produce an unprecedented opportunity for the world to re-think some of our basic ethical precepts about the nuclear genie which has been released.
Canada, as one of the world’s strongest proponents of nuclear “development” will do its utmost to deep-six any real critical discussion of the issue, due to its obvious economic self-interest. As a nation with considerable experience in and promotion of an industry inimical to public health we have a humanitarian obligation to play an active, assertive role in the debate. That means confronting both government and industry, and disseminating factual rebuttals to Orwellian double-speak whenever and wherever it happens, in an effort to expose the contradictions and educate an already wary public. The basic premises are really very simple and understandable. Those who obfuscate the facts through complex scientific data and scenarios, or celebrity status as “experts” must be quickly debunked. The anti-nuclear/anti-war infrastructure has the capacity to do this but it must act immediately if it is to seize the initiative.
This link connects to a powerful 45 minute film worth watching if you haven’t seen it before. It was produced by a former associate of mine at the National Film Board and documents the Canadian uranium industry in the Elliot Lake region of Ontario. I lived and worked there in 1956-59, in the isolated town site of “Pronto Uranium Mine”, the very first developed by Rio Tinto on the shores of Lake Lauzon in Algoma Mills, Ontario before Elliot Lake was even built. I’ve seen the environmental abuses first hand and early on, and was aware of the premature deaths of almost all our neighbours, before the mine was cleverly “disappeared” from most historical records. On Google Earth you can still see the vestiges of “yellowcake” and other by-products in the tailings ponds and lakes, long after the mines were de-commissioned. The film tells the rest of the story, and there are many articulate Canadian scientists in the vanguard of the opposition movement today.

I urge you to watch the film and talk to your colleagues about “upping the ante” on government and industry in the wake of the unfolding human catastrophe in Japan. It is not the first such catastrophe. It may very well affect us and our grand-children directlyand, unless we are able to do something about it, it will certainly not be the last. With apologies for my truncated editorialization and best regards,
Jay Spark

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