Quebec isn’t ready for uranium development: report – by Sarah Rogers (Nunatsiaq News – July 20, 2015)

Province-wide commission finds lack of reliable information, lack of social acceptability

A new report says it would be “premature” to allow the uranium sector to develop in Quebec, given the lack of both information and social acceptance on the issue.

The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), Quebec’s environmental impact review board, released its report on the future of the uranium industry July 17, following a year-long, province-wide commission.

And while the commission found the uranium mining sector has seen major progress in technology and waste management, it found that there are too many unanswered questions about the industry.

The 600-page report also noted significant gaps in scientific knowledge about the impacts of uranium mining on the environment and public health. “Given this situation, the participants at the hearings were almost unanimous in their rejection of uranium sector development,” the French-language report said.

“Accordingly, the inquiry commission has concluded that it would be premature, at this time, to authorize uranium industry development in Quebec.”

The report echoes many of the same concerns presented to the commission by Nunavimmiut, who, as a region, came out against uranium development because of the risk of environmental contamination.

“The risk of contamination would cut us off from our traditional country foods,” said Jobie Tukkiapik, president of the Makivik Corp., last December. “The negative impacts would be nungusuittuq, meaning something that will never perish.”

Both the Kativik Regional Government and Makivik agreed Nunavik Inuit feel they can’t make an informed decision on the subject, due to the lack of information on the industry available in both English and Inuktitut.

Chapter 13 of the BAPE’s report highlights the three sub-commissions who helped lead its consultations with Quebec Inuit, Cree and Naskapi, as signatories of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, and the complimentary Northeastern Quebec Agreement.

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