Panel: Uranium and nuclear energy in New Brunswick and beyond

This page is an archive of a webinar event held on Friday, December 10, 2021

Link to the files and video recording:

Photo above: Hundreds gathered to voice their opposition to uranium exploration and mining in New Brunswick to government officials at the Hugh John Forestry Complex in Fredericton in 2008. Photo from the Campaign for a Nuclear Free New Brunswick.

Panel hosts: RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) project at the University of New Brunswick, with co-hosts the Environment and Society program at St. Thomas University, Prevent Cancer Now, the NB Media Co-op, and the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB).

Background: Canada has 19 operational nuclear power reactors, one in New Brunswick at Point Lepreau on the Bay of Fundy and 18 in Ontario on two of the Great Lakes: Ontario and Huron. All nuclear power reactors require uranium, a radioactive heavy metal, or plutonium, a uranium derivative, as fuel. The Government of New Brunswick and the federal government are supporting the development of new nuclear reactors for Point Lepreau. These proposed reactors will also require uranium or plutonium as fuel.

Key questions for the panel: Why is uranium required to operate nuclear power reactors? How is plutonium created from uranium? What are some of the health and environmental impacts of uranium mining? What are the impacts on Indigenous communities? How are uranium and plutonium related to nuclear weapons? Why should we be concerned about all this in New Brunswick?

Our panel

Moderator Susan O’Donnell is an adjunct professor at both the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.

Gordon Edwards will discuss the health and environmental impacts of uranium mining, and the links with the nuclear industry in New Brunswick, Canada and globally, as well as with nuclear weapons. Gordon is president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

Lorraine Rekmans will discuss the impacts uranium mining has on Treaty Rights and Indigenous health from the experiences of Serpent River Nation members at Elliot Lake, Ontario. Lorraine is a member of Serpent River First Nation and president of the Green Party of Canada.

Tracy Glynn will discuss the 2008 campaign in New Brunswick that mobilized to raise community awareness of the dangers of uranium exploration and mining. Tracy, an assistant professor at St. Thomas University in the Environment and Society Program, is on the board of Mining Watch Canada.

The map below of exploratory uranium claims in New Brunswick was developed by Lawrence Wuest. Read his article HERE, published in January 2020 in the NB Media Co-op, Hyping the illusion: Will a uranium mine in New Brunswick be the next Higgs’ genie?