Letter: Stop sale of uranium to India

What we'll send to India are heavy metals (isotopes of uranium)…What we'll get back is a rainbow of extremely poisonous substances.

To the editor:

Remember the uranium deal Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi last April?

If Canada sells uranium to India, it will be a disaster. For India most likely, for Canada probably and eventually, for all humanity.

Despite more than seven decades looking for solutions, the fact remains that radioactive waste disposal is an intractable, unsolvable and growing problem.

So where’s it going to go? There’s a good chance it will all come back to us.  Former American president George Bush ‘the Younger’ planned to establish an international policy to send all spent fuel back to the country of origin—he thought that was fair and appropriate. And maybe it is.

But just so you know: When it comes back, it will be millions of times more toxic than when we sent the uranium to India. What we’ll send to India are heavy metals (isotopes of uranium) with half-lives in the hundreds of millions and billions of years. What we’ll get back is a rainbow of extremely poisonous substances, many with half-lives of just a few decades and one—plutonium 239—with a half-life of about 24,000 years.

These substances are toxic in quantities ranging around mere millionths of a gram. They can spread out into the environment by wind and water. Some of them mimic beneficial elements such as calcium and iodine. Some bio-accumulate in living organisms because of their mimicry. None are healthy.

And we won’t be doing India any favours by selling them the uranium, either. One accident like Fukushima or Chernobyl and the balance sheet goes completely the wrong way. India has come close to such catastrophes many times in their nuclear history, as have reactors elsewhere on the globe. Recently the chief security guard shot and killed the other security guards at one plant. Is Canada ready to bear the responsibility for someone going crazy and destroying an Indian nuclear power plant? Ready to pay the billions in damages, or even hundreds of billions?

The Harper–Modi uranium deal must be reversed!

Hans Karow, Summerland

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