CNSC response to a letter to the editor in the Chronicle Herald

Uranium mining no threat to health

I am compelled to respond to a letter to the editor (Uranium mining not worth the risk, January 23) to set the record straight on the regulation of uranium mining, particularly the resulting tailings from these activities. I expect an officer of Friends of Nature to know better.

All mines produce tailings that require ongoing management. To single out uranium mining as unsafe is not based on scientific evidence. Your reader ignores the current modern regulatory safety measures that currently exist, as well as a rigorous licensing and inspection framework. In fact, uranium mining is the most regulated, monitored and understood type of mining in Canada. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) would not licence such activity if it did not deem it to be safe.

Canada’s long-standing experience in uranium mining, including the management of uranium tailings, has resulted in stringent regulations and world-leading practices for the protection of health and safety of persons and the environment. These practices have evolved over time to reflect changes in scientific knowledge, as have practices for other types of mining. All operating uranium mines in Canada conform to these modern requirements and the CNSC ensures strict compliance with these requirements.

The CNSC has carried out and validated numerous studies over the decades that have repeatedly provided sound evidence that workers and residents near these facilities are as healthy as the rest of the general population.

That being said, it needs to be voiced again, the CNSC will never compromise safety and would never issue a licence for a uranium mining or milling operation unless the proposed activities were safe.

Michael Binder, President
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission