In Part 1 of his book overviewing the Canadian nuclear establishment's history, Nuclear Genocide, Pat McNamara included an essay on the dozen uranium mines, and associated mills and refinery, located near Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada -- adjacent to the Serpent River First Nation. Much of the essay was taken from the book This Is My Homeland, edited by journalist, Serpent River First Nation Member, and Green Party of Canada indigenous peoples affairs spokesperson Lorraine Rekmans. As documented by Gordon Edwards and Robert Del Tredichi's Nuclear Map of Canada, 145.3 million tonnes of radioactive tailings, out of a national Canadian total of 193.2 million tonnes -- a whopping 75% -- are located at the long-shuttered Elliot Lake uranium mines, on the Serpent River watershed which flows into Lake Huron at Georgian Bay. To this day, the Elliot Lake uranium tailings are still the largest source of radium discharges into the Great Lakes, the drinking water supply for 40 million people in the U.S., Canada, and numerous Native American First Nations.
The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity, contamination of the environment and damage to human health. Most often, communities of color, indigenous peoples or those of low-income are targeted to bear the brunt of these impacts, particularly the damaging health and environmental effects of uranium mining. The nuclear power industry inevitably violates human rights.
These powerful words come from Andy Orkin, an Ontario lawyer who worked on behalf of the Deline First Nations people, among the very first indigenous victims of the Atomic Age. Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada is home to a traditional Dene tribe, the only indigenous people on the mighty Great Bear Lake near the Canadian Arctic. Orkin is quoted in Part 1 of Pat McNamara's Nuclear Genocide in Canada.
The book opens by describing Port Radium, the first uranium mine in Canada, which commenced operations in 1933. Local indigenous men were hired to haul pitchblende, uranium ore containing then-coveted radium, in burlap sacks (see photos at left). Although the Canadian mines department had already alerted the federal government to the hazards, the men of Deline were not warned. They began dying of various cancers -- diseases unknown previously to the tribe -- at an alarming rate, in 1960.
Eventually, the Canadian government admitted the men's exposure to hazardous radioactive materials was to blame, but the "Village of Widows" had long since already figured that out themselves. As nuclear widow Cindy Kenny-Gilday of Deline said:
"This village of young men are the first generation of men in the history of Dene on this lake
to grow up without guidance from their grandfathers, fathers and uncles. This cultural, economic,
spiritual, emotional deprivation impact on the community is a threat to the survival of the one and only
tribe on Great Bear Lake. Itʹs the most vicious example of cultural genocide I have ever seen and it's in my own home."
The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility has posted a 1998 "Call for a Federal Response to Uranium Deaths in Deline" by the Dene First Nation People of Great Bear Lake.
Fukushima parents and NGOs appeal to UN High Commissioner for Human Right to save children from peril of radioactive fallout
On August 17th, in a statement entitled "Violation of the Human Rights of the Children of Fukushima," a coalition of Japanese Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including Fukushima Prefecture parents, appealed to the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to save the children of Fukushima from the perils of radioactive contamination resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe that began on March 11th. The appeal is necessary because of the inaction, and worse, of the Japanese federal government and Fukushima prefectural government. The appeal to the UN was signed by the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation; Citizens Against Fukushima Aging Nuclear Power Plants (Fukuro-no-Kai); FoE Japan (International Environmental NGO); Green Action; Osaka Citizens Against the Mihama, Oi and Takahama Nuclear Power Plants (Mihama-no-Kai); and Greenpeace Japan.
This appeal to the UN comes on the heels of two petitions, submitted to the Japanese government on May 2nd and June 16th, which accumulated over 80,000 signatures, including 1,383 organizational signatories, from across Japan and 61 other countries worldwide. The petitions urged a speedy expanded evacuation and minimization of children's radioactive exposures by withdrawing the Japanese government's "provisional" 20 millisievert (2 Rem) per year radiation exposure limit for Fukushima children, and restoring the 1 millisievert (100 millirem) per year limit. However, the petitions have fallen on deaf ears at the Japanese federal and Fukushima prefectural governments. A third, related petition was launched on June 30th, and is still open to international signers.
The appeal to the UN concludes: "The children of Fukushima have the same right as all other children in Japan to live a life free from unnecessary, preventable radiation exposure. We urgently request that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights/OHCHR come to Japan to investigate this matter."
CNN Money has quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, defending Western Shoshone Indian Nation treaty rights against the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump proposal:
"...Yucca was originally Shoshone land, taken by the federal government in 1951 for weapons testing, said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear.
And Nevada was chosen not because it was a good site, but because it had the fewest representatives in Washington of any state under consideration, critics say.
"The most common name for that legislation was the 'Screw Nevada Bill,' " said Kamps. "It never should have been targeted to begin with."..."
The U.S. government signed the "peace and friendship" Treaty of Ruby Valley with the Western Shoshone Indian Nation in 1863; it recognized Western Shoshone sovereignty at Yucca Mountain, throughout most of what is now the State of Nevada, as well as portions of California and Idaho.
The "Screw Nevada Bill," enacted into law in 1987, singled out Yucca Mountain as the only targeted site in the country to undergo further study as a potential high-level radioactive waste repository. The States of Washington and Texas, also on the target list, joined forces, and in coalition with eastern states also on the dumpsite target list, ganged up on Nevada. Texas and Washington had 32 and 12 Representatives in the U.S. House, respectively, whereas Nevada had but one. Texas and Washington also split between them the powerful positions of Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader at that time. Even Nevada's U.S. Senate delegation consisted of two low ranking first-term Senators. But one of those rookies was Harry Reid, who has since devoted his political career to stopping the Yucca dump, and now serves as Senate Majority Leader.
U.S., Japanese, and Mongolian nuclear establishments conspire to dump high-level radioactive wastes in Mongolia
Reuters cites a Mainichi Daily report that such U.S.-Japanese nuclear industry corporate players as General Electric-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse, in cahoots with Japanese federal ministries and the Mongolian government's uranium mining and nuclear development arm, were close to finalizing a deal on turning Mongolia into an international dumpsite for irradiated nuclear fuel, until the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe derailed the schedule. Undeterred by that, the partners in crime (or, at least it should be a crime) are still pursuing the plan.