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Monday, 18 July 2016

We are all downstream.. The apocalypse of Uranium

Uranium is a dirty and dangerous metal. From the struggle to mine it from solid rock extracting with chemicals, it leaves behind a legacy of destruction. The tailings from such mines will go on poisoning people forever like some 76,000 years. Some mining companies have constructed huge dams to contain the tailing which are then covered with a metre of water. This procedure help control the acid formation. 

Can such dams survive and be safe for 76,000 years? I doubt it. It is just that cheap short term solution, leaving the real problem for future generations. 


We are killing this earth for profit. I went to Elliot Lake because it was presented as a cheaper place to live. The controlled propaganda of Elliot Lake Retirement was a sales pitch hiding the real facts. This place is a radioactive time bomb.

The truth is that in the early days (radioactive) rock rubble from the mines was used to build some of the homes of the miners. Then there were the roads that also got this treatment. The result was that homes laced with radioactive rock had an increase of 40 % cancers in the people that lived in them. 

The building I am living in I was told, was built in the mid seventies. So am then living in a radioactive building?
I know that in some homes Radon Gas detectors are common. It it time to turn my smart phone into a Geiger counter? Radon gas is a naturally occurring and problematic issue, but in Elliot Lake the risks of Radon gas poisoning are higher.

Back when Uranium was first discovered in Elliot Lake both the Government of Canada and the province of Ontario along with the Workmen's Compensation Board refused to put a connection between the increased cancer cases (20%) of men working in the mines and the cancer that they contracted. Their argument was that the cancer must be from smoking. 
It was only when the United Steel Workers put pressure in place that a correlation was put into effect. And even then dieing miners had to fight hard for their claims.

Back in the early days of the nineteen fifties the solution to waste products and tailing was to dump it all into ravines and lakes and rivers. The hope then was that mother nature could fix that. She couldn't and guess what? Some ten lakes died and the Serpent River system which feeds into Lake Huron and down through the great lakes through the St. Lawrence River was not just affected but badly damaged. 

I was recently on a Facebook chat link and I brought up the subject of "can you eat the fish in Elliot Lake?" This stirred up a whole can of worms and people were upset and angry at me for even thinking to ask such a question.... If I am wrong, I will admit it. But you see I just needed to know beyond the ignorance.

I asked because I wanted to know the truth. The truth beyond the housing sales pitch and truth beyond government and big company control.

I went on a mine tour that took us to two former mine sites that have been decommissioned. So what you see are large water areas and we are told they cover the tailings. We ride in a bus and up onto the top of one earth and stone dam. These sites are encaptured with chain link fences and heavy gates allowing only controlled access. 

What are they really hiding?

The only issues our guide (who works for the mining company) is acid formation and how they control that. I ask about radiation and am told any radiation present is only a low level gamma radiation. Really!!


Anyway back on that facebook chat many people gave out their opinions and at the end of some two hours of interest, the bottom line and the word was that for anyone serious about fishing, well like that women in the store I chatted with....  you need to go north where the water is pure. 

So now my thoughts now are... if you shouldn't eat the fish, should anyone be swimming in any of the lakes? And oh yes and guess where the drinking water comes from? 

The waste of Uranium mining is everywhere here. Elliot Lake has more waste tailings in the area than in all of the rest of Canada.

Which of course makes it a great place to retire 

....or die in.