On Earth Day 22 April 2015, international delegates from five continents signed the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium, calling on all nations to put an end to the mining and use of uranium, the first link in the nuclear fuel chain for both civilian and military uses.
Some 300 experts, members of civil society and indigenous peoples from around the world, meeting recently at the Symposium in Quebec City, launched this global appeal. The Government of Quebec will shortly be making a decision whether to maintain the existing moratorium against uranium mining in Quebec.
“In the aftermath of the World Uranium Symposium, we are all agreed that the risks to health, safety, and the environment represented by the entire nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mines, to power reactors, to nuclear weapons, to radioactive wastes – greatly exceed the potential benefits for society,” stated Dr. Eric Notebaert, associate professor at the University of Montreal, co-president of the Symposium, and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE).
A Declaration resulting from a consensus
“The issuing of this World Declaration on Uranium is the culmination of essential work carried out over many years by international coalitions who, despite geographical and cultural differences, share common objectives and who desire to shape a common vision of a better world,” declared Dr. Juan Carlos Chrigwin, a physician affiliated with McGill University who is also president of Physicians for Global Survival.
“We are calling on national and international leaders to protect our planet and our populations from any further nuclear catastrophes. Anything less would be irresponsible,” added Dr. Dale Dewar, physician, associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan, co-president of the Symposium, and author of the book From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You.
The Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium was finalized over the last week. It is a call to action, urging governments to ban the mining and processing of uranium, to eliminate the use of nuclear energy, and to renounce nuclear weapons.
This Declaration was signed in Quebec City 72 years after the Quebec Agreement was drawn up in the same city in 1943 by the United States and Britain, in collaboration with Canada, an agreement which led to the building of the world’s first nuclear weapons. Two of the resulting A-Bombs were later used to destroy the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Quebec is urged to maintain its moratorium and show global leadership
“Quebec made the right decision in 2013 when it shut down its only nuclear power plant. We are now asking the Quebec government to take the next step and join the ranks of other jurisdictions, like Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Virginia, who are leading the world by freeing themselves completely from the nuclear fuel chain,” said Dr. Gordon Edwards from the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
“Uranium does not provide a viable or sustainable approach for dealing with climate change, nor for providing isotopes for medical use. Today there are a number of medical and energy alternatives that are cheaper and safer,” asserts Dr. Chirgwin.
In May 2015, the Bureau d’audiences sur l’environnement (BAPE) will be depositing its report on uranium mining issues, with recommendations to the government of Quebec. The government must then decide whether or not to maintain the existing moratorium. All the indigenous peoples of Quebec – the Inuit, the Cree, and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador – are opposed to any uranium mining on their territory. The same can be said for over 300 Quebec municipalities and MRCs, as well as many non-governmental organizations representing civil society (see, for example: www.quebecsansuranium.org).
It is possible to sign and endorse the Declaration online: www.uranium2015.com/en
The World uranium symposium’s program has been accredited by College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Quebec chapter.