NEWS RELEASE: For the first time in Quebec, Canada: World Uranium Symposium

QUEBEC CITY, Feb. 19 2015 /CNW Telbec/ – The World Uranium Symposium will be held for the first time in Quebec City, Canada, from April 14 to 16, at the Centre des congrès de Québec. Organized by medical associations and civil society partners, the symposium will welcome more than 100 national and international specialists who will examine major questions associated with the nuclear fuel chain, including issues related to economic trends in the industry, safety and governance, social and environmental aspects, health, ethics, human rights, and indigenous peoples’ rights (register online: www.uranium2015.com/en).

“We’re very pleased to be able to present the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec this year. This is an important event and a unique opportunity for specialists and the public alike to explore the key issues pertaining to the nuclear fuel chain,” says Dr. Juan Carlos Chirgwin, Faculty lecturer at McGill University and president of Physicians for Global Survival (1985 Nobel Peace Prize).

2015: a key year for debating the future of nuclear energy

The World Uranium Symposium is taking place in a unique international context: rising costs and safety issues related to the Fukushima accidents in 2011 have led many countries to question the future of nuclear energy, which currently generates about 11% of the world’s electricity. This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the United Nations’ negotiations in New York for the Non-Proliferation Treaty. A new United Nations climate agreement will also be signed in Paris this year. All of these issues form the backdrop for the Symposium, whose primary aim is to make key recommendations to public policy makers to ensure increased protection of health, safety and the environment (see Preliminary Program).

Many feel that the planet is at a crossroads. Should we be expanding or pulling away from the nuclear industry on a global scale? How do we stop the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation? How effective are current international protection standards and treaties? How can the radioactive waste from uranium mines and nuclear power plants be managed over the long term? How to ensure respect for human rights and indigenous peoples affected by this industry? “These are just some of the questions that will be discussed during the three-day Symposium,” explains Dr. Eric Notebaert, assistant professor at University of Montreal and member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Speakers at the Symposium include Helen Mary Caldicott (Australia), cofounder of Physicians for Social Responsibility; Arnie Gundersen (USA), international nuclear safety expert, former nuclear industry senior executive and author of a bestseller about the Fukushima; Mycle Shneider (France), international expert on energy and nuclear policies, author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report; Sara Olsvig (Greenland), leader of the Ataqatigiit party and member of the Danish Parliament; Peter Prebble (Canada), former Saskatchewan cabinet minister; Doug Brugge (United States), Department of Public Health at Tufts University, author of The Navajo People and Uranium Mining; Ian Fairlie (Great Britain), former advisor to the UK government on the radiation risks of the nuclear industry; and Mariette Liefferink (South Africa), CEO, Federation for a Sustainable Environment.

Canadian context

Canada is one of the world’s leading uranium producers and exporters. Despite this, nuclear energy production is in decline, and no new reactors have been commissioned since 1993. Only two provinces still operate nuclear reactors: Ontario and New Brunswick. British Columbia and Nova Scotia have officially banned uranium mining on their territory. Quebec recently shut down its sole nuclear reactor and has tasked the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) with conducting an investigation and holding public hearings on issues related to uranium mining. It is expected to release its report by May 20, 2015.

About the World Uranium Symposium

The Symposium is jointly organized by Physicians for Global Survival (1985 Nobel Peace Prize), the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Nature Québec, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and the Coalition pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine. It also receives support from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Swiss chapter), the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute, the Cree Nation of Mistissini, MiningWatch Canada, and a number of other local, national and international partners (register online).

SOURCE Nature Québec

For further information: Héloïse Fernandez, Media relations at Nature Québec, Secretariat for the World Uranium Symposium, cell.418-931-1131, 418 648-2104, poste 2074, [email protected]

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