Uranium & Nuclear
Uranium mining has been a significant industry in Saskatchewan since the 1950s, when the major demand for the product was for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. More recently, uranium is chiefly used for fuelling nuclear power reactors, in Canada, the United States, as well as overseas. Uranium ore is mined in northern Saskatchewan and milled there to create yellowcake before being shipped to Ontario for refining and further processing into fuel bundles. Past mining operations, abandoned without proper decommissioning, have left extensive watersheds seriously contaminated with radioactive and chemical wastes. SES has prepared a video “Uranium – Let’s Talk About It” which describes the nuclear fuel chain from mining to waste management.
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society has taken positions calling for the phase-out of uranium mining, opposing nuclear power development in Saskatchewan, and opposing disposal of used nuclear fuel in Saskatchewan. Concerns include the historic, unremediated contamination of northern watersheds with radioactive tailings from the milling process, current management of mining wastes, lack of safe methods for long-term management of used nuclear fuel, risks associated with transportation of used fuel from reactors in eastern Canada, and the unavoidable link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
SES has participated in a number of federal and provincial environmental assessment and licensing processes related to new and continuing mining operations and to remediation planning for abandoned mining sites. Learn more about our submissions on Beaverlodge, Key Lake and Rabbit Lake, and the Gunnar remediation project. SES also intervened in the review of the re-licensing proposal for the McClean Lake mine and mill site.