Canada’s Biggest Eco Embarrassments

Green Living performed a reality check on the nation’s environmental record—and the results weren’t pretty

Embarrassment #4: Nuclear

Canada is the largest exporter of uranium, and Saskatchewan is home to the world’s largest uranium mine. In fact, Canada has been the bedrock of nuclear science since the beginning: it was uranium from Port Radium in the Northwest Territories that was flown south, refined and used to make the bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Much is made of nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea today, but Canada sold the CANDU reactor to developing nations, including those controlled by dictators and repressive governments including Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu.

But many of the victims of Canada’s uranium mining are the people living in First Nations reserves in Saskatchewan such as Serpent River First Nation, whose residents say they have been slowly poisoned for decades by radioactive byproducts from the mines, sometimes known as “Canada’s slow bombs.”

Photo: Flickr.com/Christopher Peterson