There is no independent watchdog or peer review...
Government of Canada -
overseer and regulator of itself in the
largest radioactive cleanup(LLRW) in
The uranium mining tailing piles contain Polonium, which is about 2 billion times more toxic than cyanide.
The toxic and/or cancer causing effects of low dose radiation take 2 - 20 years to show up.
As the uranium atoms slowly disintegrate over billions of years, a host of radioactive by-products are formed: thorium-230, radium-226, radon-222 and the infamous ‘radon daughters,’ including lead-210 and polonium-210
About a ton of ore is required to extract two pounds of uranium
Dust from uranium tailing piles contains uranium and other radioactive substances such as radium and radon gas - both known cancer causing agents.
The tailings contain 85 per cent of the original radioactivity in the ore and give off at least 10,000 times as much radon gas as the undisturbed ore.
The radiation amount and toxicity from these substances actually increases over time, as the breakdown and decay products are generated from the original materials.
Hanford is in the midst of America's largest nuclear waste clean-up operation, which has already cost $40 Billion and is expected to continue for decades, including:
- 100 sq miles (259 sq km) of contaminated groundwater
- 56 million gallons (254 million litres) of liquid waste, in tanks buried just below ground
are hundreds of times
In 1988, Eldorado Nuclear Limited merged with Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation to form Cameco (Canadian Mining and Energy Corporation).
"A two-pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry - that's Thanksgiving dinner at Three Mile Island."
"A truck driver who had been delivering radioactive waste for the local reactor begins to feel sick after a few years on the job. He decided to seek compensation for his ailment. Upon his arrival at the workers' compensation department, he is interviewed by an assessor.
There is always a risk of recontamination.
(a history of the largest money-sucking black hole of
A cosmic body of extremely intense
Port Hope is a small charming town to visit with a past - unlike any other urban place on earth - it is the radioactive waste capital of Canada.
Nobody knows for sure exactly how much radioactive and lead material was buried in and around Port Hope since the 1930's.
For decades, Canada's longest and most expensive radioactive and nuclear cleanups in Port Hope and the recent construction of the country's largest historic nuclear waste storage mound (est. completed by 2023) have been studied by scientists around the world.
There is no guarantee that the town can ever be fully cleaned up or 100% safe for various reasons (groundwater movement, existing structures and infrastructure, limited storage space , inadequate testing methodology, lack of adequate government funding , etc. )
About 96% of Canada's historic nuclear waste is hidden below Port Hope's surface or moved to the waste management site located by the corner of town (off Toronto Rd. ) - the giant mound is seen from Canada's busiest highway (401) like a blimp on the landscape.
The story of historic low-level radioactive waste
in Canada, Port Hope Area Initiative, 2015
There is no other alternative storage site for this nuclear waste available - no other place on earth wants it and there is no other permanent storage solution.
For decades, stored radioactive waste from Eldorado Nuclear (Port Hope) leached into Lake Ontario - the drinking water supply source of millions of people. History is said to repeat itself - the new nuclear sewage dump site is located on the very same radioactive waste site previously closed by the Canadian government .
One of the most pivotal periods in human history, World War II marked the beginning of the nuclear age with the development of the atomic bomb.
In 1932 a new industry came to Port Hope as described in the local newspaper of the day:
The Evening Guide , Port Hope, July 30, 1932
Port Hope became the birthplace of the nuclear industry in Canada. Eldorado Nuclear became the leading supplier of refined uranium for the world's first nuclear bombs produced in United States.
By 1940, United States and Nazi Germany were working in absolute secrecy - each country trying to be first to have the ultimate weapon. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Canada and Britain joined the United States in the largest top secret project in history. Code named the "Manhattan Project" (or A-Bomb project), it employed about 500,000 workers.
Uranium was a vital wartime material and Eldorado in Port Hope became essential to the supply of uranium for the top-secret experiments taking place south of the border.
Canada not only possessed one of the world's largest uranium mines (Eldorado, NWT) but the largest uranium refinery (Eldorado, Port Hope). Eldorado was also the refinery closest to the Americans - who ordered all the uranium Canada could supply.
In 1942, the Government of Canada officially took over Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. after the shift from radium to uranium began. The uranium oxide that had been Eldorado's waste in the radium extraction process - became its survival. In 1944, Eldorado was nationalized and became a Crown Corporation.
Under the Manhattan Project, the U.S. Government built three secret cities and production sites for the bomb project - the uranium enrichment facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the plutonium production facility at the Hanford Site in Washington State and the weapons research and design laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
The refined uranium from Eldorado in Port Hope was shipped to the U.S. for use in the making of the atomic bomb. Some of the refined uranium was enriched for the Hiroshima bomb; the rest was irradiated in the world's first nuclear reactors to produce plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb.
Shrouded in utmost top secrecy, Eldorado, most of it's workers and the townspeople had indirectly and/or unknowingly become complicit in one of the most unspeakable crimes in history - the loss of 250,000 civilian lives.
Governed by international law, the illegal atomic bombings of Japan in 1945 were widely seen as "not just a war crime; it was a crime against humanity." Years later, many atomic scientists of the time were still disturbed by the atomic bomb project:
Dr. John Gofman,
Debate on the use of the bomb still continues. There can be no doubt the world's first atomic bombs shortened the duration of history’s greatest war and altered the fate and destiny of millions of people.
Hurst, D.G. et
October 1942, the United States Army Corps of
began acquiring more than 60,000 acres in
the Oak Ridge area of
Tennessee, for the
U.S. Manhattan Project and
the future site of a pilot
uranium enrichment complex for its defense
A similar pattern seemed to have emerged north of the border when in the middle of WW2, the Canadian Government co-sponsored an unprecedented study of the Ganaraska watershed where Eldorado was located.
Of special interest was a large block of poorly vegetated, sparsely populated and sub-marginal land north of Port Hope on the Oak Ridges Moraine. No where else in Canada was such a study conducted, especially during the middle of the war years when all resources were focused on the war effort abroad. The Ganaraska region was important for some special reason and it was probably tied, directly or indirectly, to Eldorado and the war effort.
A special Committee was formed in 1941 to study the Ganaraska Watershed and the Canadian Government appointed Dr. R. C. Wallace (1881-1955), one of the country's foremost geologists to head it. His passion for field geology and resource prospecting contributed much to the early science of mineralogy and geology in Canada. His pioneering spirit also made him one of the first to unearth some of the great pitchblende deposits in the far north.
In 1942, Dr. Wallace also toured Oak Ridge, Tennessee for two weeks - it was one of the "secret cities" on 60,000 acres in the U.S. Manhattan Project. Unfortunately, government records and purpose of his tip remain classified in the Canadian Archives.
In December, 1943, Dr. Wallace wrote the Introduction to the Ganaraska study which included a key recommendation that 20,000 acres be set aside on the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Port Hope for conservation and reforestation purposes. No matter what the real wartime plan was, a conservation document was seen as more acceptable and a easier sale to the general public - who would have to approve and hopefully support it.
In 1944, the Canadian and Ontario Governments jointly published The Ganaraska Watershed report - resulting from the first conservation study of its kind in Canada. After the war, the interest of the Canadian government in the area which would become known as Ganaraska Forest faded.
Historians may one day uncover a war related plan for the region, one kept top secret, that never materialized before the war ended the following year (1945).
However, the Ganaraska study during the middle of a major war and the establishment of Ganaraska Forest which followed It not only laid the foundation, it set in motion a whole series of events which eventually led to one of the greatest conservation achievements in Canadian history - the creation of the world's largest greenbelt (Ontario's Greenbelt).
Nuclear (1932-1988) in Port Hope was one of the largest and oldest
radium and uranium refineries in the world. During WW2, it
played a key role in the Manhattan Project.
In 1930, the first Canadian commercial mine was discovered by Gilbert LaBine in the N.W.T. which he named Eldorado. To refine the ore, Gilbert LaBine (and his brother Charlie) established the Eldorado refinery in Port Hope. It was one of the first radium and uranium processing industries in the world - and one of the town's largest employers.
Eldorado Refinery, Port Hope (circa 1982)
Uranium was initially seen as a by-product of radium production with only limited uses, primarily in the ceramics industry (for pigments, ceramic glazes, and a yellow-green fluorescent glass).
Uranium ore then became a source of trace amounts of radium which was in great demand for medical treatment at the time. Several thousand tons of uranium ore were required to get a single gram of radium. At the height of the market, radium sold for the equivalent of several million dollars an ounce.
Kept in the dark, the people of Port Hope were led to believe Eldorado's activities were focused on producing the world's latest healing miracle.
The first manager of the Eldorado refinery was a French atomic scientist named Dr. Marcel Pochon. He was the only scientist still alive who had worked with Madame Curie in developing a secret radium extraction process.
Dr. Pochon was more outspoken about the dangers of radium then anyone else and tried to warn the townspeople. In 1933, he told a local newspaper reporter:"Radium is highly dangerous... the slightest fraction of a milligram taken into the system leads to cancer, anemia, and disease of the hip bones. Not a doctor on earth can save the unfortunate person who is affected." (Dr. Pochon retired from Eldorado in 1945. After his death in 1958, his red brick house named 'Muidar' (radium spelled backwards) overlooking Eldorado was monitored for decades by the Atomic Energy Control Board.)
The federal government was also told of the dangers of radioactive material and repeatedly warned by Canada's Department of Mines about "radon's poisonous effects on the lungs and danger from inhalation of radioactive dust".
Eldorado continued to sell uranium for nuclear weapons until 1959 when United States stopped purchasing uranium from Canada. Production slowed but continued under the Canadian government’s uranium stockpiling program until the mid 1980s.
In 1966, Eldorado finally stopped the practice of giving away radioactive waste after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had requested Dr. D. G. Andrews:
Dr. D. G. Andrews, Professor Emeritus,
Concerns about the potential for the illegal creation of nuclear weapons were later proven unfounded. However, the investigation of Dr. D.G. Andrews brought public attention to the lack of adequate geographical barrier (buffer zone) to separate and insulate Port Hope residents from Eldorado's activities.
While Eldorado’s operations in Port Hope certainly contributed to the contamination problem of radioactive and toxic waste, another source also contributed. Eldorado had a friend next door. (See: Crane)
Eldorado was an integral part of the Manhattan Project during WW 2 and refined vast amounts of uranium ore for the U.S. Army - needed for the world's first atomic bombs and nuclear weapons.
The first order for eight tons of uranium oxides was made by the U.S. Government in 1941. Eldorado started full-scale production of uranium oxides late in 1942 after receiving contracts for another 700 tons of uranium oxides. The U.S. orders for Eldorado's uranium multiplied to many thousands of tons in the years which followed.
In addition, U.S. shipped another 7,000 tons of previously imported ore from the Belgian Congo to Port Hope for processing. From 1942, hundreds of tons of uranium ore also came from Eldorado's re-opened mine by the Great Bear Lake, NWT. The remainder of uranium ore came from radium dump sites from the 1930's scattered around Port Hope (in essence this was the first cleanup attempt).
Penny Sanger, Author Blind Faith, 1981
Pat McNamara, Petition - Port
While Port Hope's citizens were kept in the dark about the dangers of radiation, in the early 1950s, contaminated areas of the town and Eldorado's dump sites were used to train soldiers on the dangers of nuclear waste and nuclear detection techniques. There was so much widely dispersed radioactive waste in Port Hope, the Canadian Army came back two years later for more training.
Canada continued to be a supplier of uranium for military purposes for two decades after the war. The practice of selling Canadian uranium for use in nuclear weapons was officially terminated in 1965, when Prime Minister Pearson told the House of Commons that henceforth any uranium exported from Canada "is to be used for peaceful purposes only." From 1965, all exports and transfers of nuclear materials for non-peaceful purposes were halted - or so it seemed.
Once refined uranium from Eldorado was exported outside of Canada, there was no guarantee how it would be used - or by whom.
Human Health Implications of the
|MOE max (ppm)||Port Hope (ppm)|
Dangerously high levels of lead have been found on many sites including the Lions Recreation Centre Park, Port Hope Harbour Centre Pier, Monkey Mountain and numerous residential properties. Road beds are also contaminated ie. Pine Street extension and Highland Drive.
“Debris believed to be Crane's was encoun
tered in two of three study areas… only lead poses a health concern... This park was used as a play ground for St. Mary’s School... How the waste came to be deposited in the park is unknown, although it is suspected that the area currently occupied by Lions Park was a municipal dump at the turn of the century, which would have been an attractive location for the disposal of foundry... showed heavy metals concentrations associated with low-level radioactive waste clearly well above those which would be safe for the public."
Park, and St. Mary's School - Port Hope (1997)
The2001 Legal Agreement between the Government of Canada and Port Hope stated that when lead is found on residential properties which is not commingled with LLRW, then residents are to be notified immediately of the contamination on their property and advising them that Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is not responsible for the clean-up.
Ignoring the terms of the 2001 Legal Agreement,test results showing high lead are no longer disclosed to property owners. CNL even issued a Protocol that justified not disclosing lead contamination when found to landowners in order "to avoid leaving a property owner with the burden of knowing about the presence of non-LLRW soil contamination remaining on the property." (Port Hope Area Initiative Clean-up Criteria 4-27 Revision 5 December 2006)
In 2009, heavy metal concentrations were found to be at very dangerous levels -- but a CNSC document assured the public that heavy metals were not at harmful levels.
Elevated mortality rates in Port Hope can be attributed to lead exposure. Health Canada's numerous health studies only considered the radioactive components and reported that toxic heavy metal concentrations are below safe limits. However, soil results have shown dangerously high levels of heavy metals, including lead.
The symptoms of toxic lead poisoning are not always apparent - but its effects are irreversible. A blood level test for lead is easily arranged through your family doctor.
Unless LLRW is known to be present, the Canadian Government is no longer testing for lead - especially where high lead concentrations are suspected.
It also appears senior government officials are concerned that if residents were informed of the lead contamination on their properties, they would sue the Canadian Government and CNL - to make them clean it up. The clean-up project is already over budget and there is no money to cover legal fees in such events.
It also appears public officials in the nuclear industry did not want to see any lead results they would have to communicate to higher levels - so they told the local subcontractors not to send them.
From the original testing program which included 20 Contaminants of Potential Concern, the testing program (and cleanup criteria) was reduced to only four "signature parameters" - with mixed results which don't always work.
"The testing program included 20 Contaminants of Potential Concern... although only four are considered “signature parameters” which can be used to reliably and indisputably identify the LLRW... invariably includes elevated concentrations of 226Ra, 230Th, As and/or U above normal background concentrations... Since the PHAI mandate is to only remediate properties containing LLRW, including other waste types co-mingled with LLRW, consideration should be given to reducing the list of analytes to be tested to the signature parameters so as not to raise expectations on the part of the property owners that the PHAI will remediate other waste types. "
Port Hope’s small-scale urban properties - Phoenix,
Arizona Conference February 24 – 28, 2013, by
Walter van Veen, Glenn Case, John Benson, Judy Herod
A REFLECTION OF ITS TESTING PROGRAM:
Incomplete testing for lead commingled with LLRW.
Toxic lead contamination throughout Port Hope will only be partially cleaned up. According to the 2006 Clean-up Criteria:
"The waste products generated by other industrial processes, local foundries for example, will not be remediated as part of the PHAI. With the exception of the acceptance of non-LLRW from the four designated industrial waste-contaminated sites in Port Hope, the PHAI long-term radioactive waste management facilities will not be accepting materials other than Eldorado’s historic wastes and associated contaminated soils or other materials."
PHAI Clean-up Criteria, 2006
An internal Port Hope Area Initiative Special Circumstances Protocol (page 18) in 2015 by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories again justified not disclosing lead contamination and provided a reason why owners of contaminated lands were not notified in accordance with the terms of the 2001 Legal agreement “to avoid leaving a property owner with the burden of knowing about the presence of non-[radioactive] soil contamination remaining on the property”.
In 2015, the CNL was advised that Port Hope residents were not being informed of lead contamination found on their properties. CNL responded that changes must be made to the protocol and residents must be informed of lead contamination. The protocol comments sent to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) contained false information that residents would be notified of lead contamination.
In 2016, the protocol was changed to inform residents of contamination when it is not related to radioactive waste. After the protocol was re-issued, the subcontractor obtaining the analytical data was notified not to send to CNL the lead concentrations where they exceed limits without the exceedance of a radioactive element.
XRF units fault when arsenic and lead are both present in the soil. The fault only happens when lead values are elevated and the fault results in failures in the detection limit reporting for arsenic - which the unit shows in its results. Therefore, even by telling subcontractors not to send CNL the lead results, the lead exceedances would still be obvious. Nothing other than lead can cause the XRF equipment to report this type of fault.
The wording in the protocol under the Decision Process for Application of Non-LLRW Constraint Special Circumstance (page 18) was then changed from: “screening level samples indicate presence [of lead]… to “results of laboratory analysis indicate presence [of lead]….
Despite the new wording of the protocol, residents are still not being notified of lead contamination found on their properties - when it is not accompanied by radioactive waste. After a lengthy delay, homeowners are provided with written confirmation that makes them feel their property is safe - but have no idea that high levels of toxic lead may still be present.
As to lead testing disparities, unofficial responses of public officials have included: “Rules and reality don’t always marry”, “We have no lead results. I know nothing” and "Toxic lead is not radioactive and therefore is not part of the clean-up."
Lead contamination found on residential and other property types will not be cleaned up by the federal government unless the lead waste is mixed with LLRW. This is of significant concern because lead does not break down over time and remains in the ground forever - unless it is physically removed or cleaned up.
There is also concern that if residents are informed of the lead contamination on their property, they will sue the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to make them clean it up. The Port Hope Area Initiative project is already over budget and there is no money to cover legal fees should this occur.
Unlike the other by-products associated with low level radioactive waste, the very high lead concentrations of lead in Port Hope can also be attributed to the Crane plumbing and porcelain factory located next to Eldorado which closed in 1967.
When the Crane factory closed, Eldorado Nuclear (a crown corporation) leased the Centre Pier from the Town of Port Hope as a storage area for excessive LLRW which was commingled with the toxic lead waste from the previous tenant (Crane).t
The Federal Government is responsible for cleaning up the commingled waste (incl. lead) according to the terms of the 2001 Legal Agreement.
Without public knowledge, the new reality is toxic lead and LLRW will NOT be remediated to background conditions (as originally represented by public officials to the community) - or in accordance with provincial MOE standards and international guidelines.
Without warning of the risks and potential dangers, the health of Port Hope residents and even human lives, have been compromised.
Lead - Health Issues
Lead poisoning is an environmental and public health hazard - even in small amounts, it can be dangerous to humans, animals and wildlife.
The symptoms of LLRW and lead poisoning can be very similar. Without blood level testing for the presence of lead - the symptoms between the two toxic poisons (LLRW and lead) can be hard to distinguish. Women and children are especially vulnerable.
A BLOOD LEVEL
TEST FOR LEAD
(especially Mothers and children)
High lead in the human body can cause dramatic increases in heart attacks, strokes, cancer, kidney failure and death. In children, high lead can also cause ADHD, developmental and learning problems, and autism.
Other Important reasons to have your blood tested for lead:
High lead levels can seriously affect health. The longer level of high lead, the greater the risk of health problems.
Once lead gets into your body, it stays there for a long time (especially bones where it is stored).
Even if exposed to small amounts, lead can build up in your body over time.
Increased soil lead levels constitute a health risk for children.
Damage done by lead may be permanent.
Lead exposure can affect blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes (cardiovascular, coronary heart disease, etc.) Too much lead can damage your brain, nerves, kidneys, and blood cells.
Past health studies have tested for the presence of low level radioactive waste (LLRW) - but NOT the presence of toxic heavy metal (lead). These studies never considered the possibility that lead contamination could be present. Because the presence of lead was never tested - the link between the high mortality rates and lead exposure was never made.
The only way the effects of high lead levels can be confirmed are a blood level test for lead and an extensive (30 years) independent health study.
Nearly 40 percent of all Americans are estimated to have blood levels of lead high enough to cause serious health problems. In one American study, researchers found that:
"a blood level of lead over 2 micrograms/deciliter (that’s 2, not 10 or 40) caused dramatic increases in heart attacks, strokes, and death. In fact, after controlling for all other risk factors, including cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and inflammation, the researchers found that the risk of death from all causes in people with a lead level that high increased by 25 percent, deaths from heart disease increased by 55 percent, risk of heart attacks increased by 151 percent, and risk of stroke increased by 89 percent."
Studies Show Any
Lead in Your Body May be Unsafe
Circulation Medical Journal, 2006
Canada is currently considering making blood lead levels (BLLs) above 1 ug/dL the new action level:
“Health effects have been associated with BLLs as low as 1–2 μg/dL… It is considered appropriate to apply a conservative approach when characterizing risk; accordingly, additional measures to further reduce exposures of Canadians to lead are warranted.”
Most experts believe - any lead is too much. If lead exposure is causing elevated mortality rates in Port Hope, then it needs to be addressed immediately.
A well documented case was Bill Young, a chemical engineer who worked for Eldorado and was contaminated with alpha particle radioactivity in the summer of 1954. Two years later he died suddenly at 34 years of age of reticulum cell sarcoma, leaving four young children behind without a father. It was a type of cancer with symptoms similar to the cancer that killed thousands of Japanese victims two to eight years after the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. Eldorado refused to accept responsibility for his death but his wife fought for 43 years and finally in 1999, a tribunal ruled in her favour awarding her $400,000.(A full account is found in the book Nuclear Family, 1991 by Joanne Young).
“Nuclear power… creates massive quantities of radioactive waste. There is no way to put it on earth that’s safe. As it leaks into the water over time, it will bioconcentrate in the food chains, in the breast milk, in the fetuses, that are thousands of times more radiosensitive than adults. One x-ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child. And over time, nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease, and random compulsory genetic engineering. And we’re not the only species with genes, of course. It’s plants and animals. So, this is an absolute catastrophe, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
Dr. Helen Caldicott
Over the years, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) have continued to state that there are no adverse health effects or danger to people's health in Port Hope from the nuclear industry. CNHC has also stated that more than 40 studies indicate residents have low levels of exposure to all types of contaminants. However, in the opinion of some medical professionals, the categories of health indicators in some of those health studies such as cancers, congenital anomalies and stillbirths may have been modified. There is no independent watchdog.
CNSC has also stated that death rates, including cancer deaths, are no higher in Port Hope than elsewhere in Ontario and that there is no undisputed evidence that radioactive materials released into the environment have harmed a single person in Port Hope.
If radioactive waste is so safe, many residents are left wondering:
If Port Hope is so
safe, why is the
spending over a BILLION $$ to clean it ?
Various health studies to determine if there were adverse health effects caused by the radioactive waste in Port Hope have indicated higher than average mortality rates in a number of areas - all of which could be caused by low level radioactive waste (uranium, arsenic, etc.) and also lead exposure.
In November, 2007 the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee outlined the results of a small study of nine residents which showed that in addition to higher than normal concentrations of uranium concentration found in their bodies, four of the subjects had traces of U-236 (non-natural uranium), indicative of reprocessed reactor fuel and that one of those subjects had a higher U-238 ratio, indicative of depleted uranium. These test results were obtained from samples analyzed at the Institute for Mineralogy, J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany in a specialized radiochemistry laboratory.
"The study found small levels of radioactive elements in the urine of four of nine people who were tested, including a child under age 14. "You've got almost 50 per cent of the people showing contamination," Weyman said. "You'd think (federal regulators) would see this as an alarming statistic and do further studies."
The unexplainable 2007 test results remains a mystery including: “dirty” uranium that had passed through a nuclear reactor; enriched uranium 234; and depleted uranium (used in nuclear weapons).
“It’s not the
the type... It’s not supposed to be there.”
Uranium Medical Research Centre
Andy Johncox had worked for Eldorado for 14 years (until 1982) and was one of those tested. Non-natural uranium (spent nuclear fuel) was still found in small levels in his urine almost 25 years after he left Eldorado.
AECL claimed only low-level waste was present in Port Hope. However, Johncox had tested positive for U236 - a "high-level" radioactive waste from spent nuclear reactor fuel. An AECL official publicly admitted at the time they had not tested for U236.
AECL made no allowances for the presence of high-level waste in Port Hope. It has not tested for U236 and other high-level waste because of cost and other factors. Clean-up of high-level waste would require a more sophisticated and expensive method of excavation - in addition to a much more complex storage facility.
“No one knows how it got into our systems.
It's a mystery,
and no one ever
Andy Johncox, former
Furthermore, according to Andy Johncox“There is low-level radioactive waste everywhere in town... but the government has continuously refused to do an extensive health study...” He wasn't the only one to question Health Canada's findings.
In 2000, epidemiologist Eric Mintz, in a 20-page critique of a cancer study, gave a different twist to the numbers. He argued that federal data show higher than normal rates of leukemia and childhood deaths, as well as an elevated incidence of brain, lung and colon cancers for certain demographics and time periods. Mintz further said there were “several areas of concern that warrant further investigation.”
Epidemiologist Rosalie Bertell, author of No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, critiqued a Health Canada study of cancer incidence in Port Hope. Dr. Bertell responded to Health Canada Health Studies in Port Hope (1998 & 2000) which found:
» 13% more deaths than expected;
» 48% excess childhood leukemia;
» 38% excess female deaths from colorectal cancer;
» double the expected female brain cancers;
» four times the expected brain cancers in children;
» nasal cancer in men five times higher than expected;
» esophageal cancer in men twice the expected rate;
» 300 excess deaths from circulatory diseases.
Health Canada stated none of these results are “significant” and would do no follow-up.
“Health Canada’s claim of “no problem” to area residents from 70 years of exposure is fraudulent and not supported by the data presented in the report...”
Dr. Rosalie Bertell
The CNSC hired epidemiologist Dr. Eric Mintz, to analyze the studies and he concluded:
“The patterns of several cancer rates show cause for concern in that the patterns are consistent with environmental contamination and certainly the raised leukemia rates, which were even higher before remediation, are not reassuring. Along with the brain cancer, colon cancer and some of the rare cancer results, the available evidence points to there being problems in Port Hope”.
The CNSC refused to accept Dr. Mintz’s analysis. The excess illnesses and deaths were caused by LLRW being indiscriminantly dumped by Eldorado and the Canadian Government who owned the Port Hope nuclear facility.
Both CNSC and Health Canada covered up federal liabilities in Port Hope by refusing to conduct comprehensive health studies first promised in 1978.
"In Port Hope, Ontario, where 3.5 million cubic metres of radioactive soil and waste has been dispersed… the children have experienced elevated cases of disease... The people of Port Hope are still waiting for the health studies commitment to be honoured. Independent statistical analysis of two preliminary federal studies released several years ago has shown elevated rates in Port Hope of incidence and mortality from such diseases as lung cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer, lip, nose and pharyngeal cancer, non-Hodgkinsons lymphoma, and circulating disease. It was also found that the water in Port Hope had arsenic levels 11 times the acceptable rate for Ontario, and a contamination of the water with uranium 50 times higher than the Provincial Water Quality Objectives."
A Response to the UDP Report - Risks for Health and Safety
from Uranium Development, Dr. Bill Adamson, June 23, 2009
"...there has never been a scientifically validated, peer reviewed, epidemiological study of the people. Never. And the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) claims they've got some studies that say the people in Port Hope are healthy. The studies they've done, which I feel are very partial and not very scientific, do indicate a high incidence of brain cancer in women and children, lung cancer in women, leukemia in children, very high incidence of arteriovascular disease, which can be caused by radiation, and the like... The indication is that such a study should and must be done, number one, by an independent university with independent funding."
Interview with Dr. Helen
Cathryn Atkinson - February 8, 2011
"In November 2007 at a press release at the Waterkeeper offices in Toronto, the Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (PHCHCC) and the Uranium Medical Research Centre (UMRC) released test results for uranium contamination on 9 Port Hope residents. All 9 showed U235 and U238, natural uranium, and all 9 had U234, a signature of recycled enriched uranium, unnatural, in their bodies. Three of those tested where former nuclear workers who also had U236, spent reactor fuel in their systems, another unnatural species. Eleven to 23 years after employment, it is still being released from our bodies. I am one of those contaminated workers. Consider all the illness, the uranium evidence in my body. Consider the seemingly unconscious silence of the company, union, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Health Canada, our Government and politicians across this country. It all takes on a ghostly image, shadowing unethical, unprincipled, corruption of someplace else, some other, less desirable, country. And it has shaken the very foundation of what it means to me, to be a Canadian."
"Calling Port Hope a “tragedy,” Helen Caldicott says people should never be exposed to radioactive material. Even so-called low-level radiation causes high-level doses when it gets inside the body and turns cells cancerous in a “silent process” that takes five to 60 years, she says. Drinking water that’s taken from Lake Ontario is also at risk, adds Caldicott. She agrees with residents who have long complained about the lack of a real health study in the area. “There hasn’t been a decent epidemiological study,” Caldicott says. “The whole thing is medically corrupt from beginning to end.”
"The lack of evidence for any harm to health in Port Hope is because no extensive health study has been done... a proper health study would follow residents and their health for at least 30 years... I am worried about the effects of something that has been around for decades and has never been studied.”
Physicians for Global Survival
"No cancer identifies its origin. The only way to identify an increased exposed population, like Port Hope, is to follow all of them from birth to death..."
Dr. Helen Caldicott gives impassioned talk to standing room only
crowd in Oshawa Northumberland News, November 17, 2010
Over the past 20 years, Health Canada has contributed to at least 8 health and environmental studies related to uranium concentrations in Port Hope, none of which showed any health effects from past or present exposure to radiation. Health Canada has also maintained that cancer and mortality statistics in Port Hope are comparable with similar towns and Ontario as a whole.
To date, there has never been an extensive health study of the effects of LLRW or lead contamination in Port Hope. Health Canada reports however contained clear warnings about drawing conclusions from limited population sizes.
THE CAMECO HEARINGS: TWO VIEWS OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
"We played in
the park, on the
beach and along
the shore... and
our eyes would
thought it was
normal to have
to rub them."
She and her
ate her father's
pride and joy...
We just wiped
the dust off and
had a brain
aneurysm and her
sons have a
range of health
Pat Lawson said she thought these people represent the tip of an iceberg. Not everyone is willing to go public with their personal tragedies. She urged the board to act on a proposal submitted three-and-a-half years ago from the Port Hope Community Health Concerns group for a wide-ranging epidemiological health survey. It would start by studying the health of people most exposed to the effects of contaminants when emissions were much higher than they are now. If cause and effect is established between the contaminants and their health, a much larger survey would take place. Every household would be screened.
In a day of carefully shrouded discussion, conducted in the generalities favoured by AECB staff, concrete commitments were as scarce as hen's teeth. Only a report on soil monitoring from David McLaughlin of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, whose work has continued since 1973, delivered clearly practical advances. By sinking pots of clean earth in areas near the plant, he is tracking the amount and movement of certain contaminants.
The verdict on whether Cameco will have its license renewed, and for how long (one of the stated reasons for the meeting), will have to wait. Probably not for five years as Cameco wants, more likely two.
No, its license will not be suspended until its toxic emissions are cleaned up, as some of those intervenors with deadly sickness in their families want. But there will be a health study, of sorts. How soon, how wide-ranging and therefore how effective the study will be, seems, in the wake of the board meeting, to depend on the energy and skill of the Port Hope people who have been lobbying for one so reasonably and for so long.
The Crier, October 21, 1999
Blind Faith: The nuclear industry in a small town (1981) about Eldorado and radioactive waste disposal in Port Hope.)
(Penny Sanger grew up in Port Hope, and is the author of
There are no regulatory standards for release of nanoparticles in the world.
Radioactive particles (nanoparticles) become airborne when the ground is excavated or disturbed. Nanoparticles can travel long distances - the Greater Toronto area is within the sphere of influence of these carcinogenic contaminants.
During the cleanup operation and excavation, there is no guarantee that minute radioactive contaminants will NOT be re-suspended into the air. Dust suppression may control but not eliminate this hazard.
There are many dangers with airborne radioactive material - although those in the nuclear industry say it is safe.
"Historic low-level radioactive waste buried in parks, ravines, streets, industrial sites, the harbour and hundreds of backyards poses a 'life or death' threat and can't be safely remediated… You can't clean it up. Transferring it just exposes more people to radioactive material..."
Dr. Helen Caldicott,
“Warning Port Hope a toxic
Toronto Star, November 9, 2010
Cleanup of hundreds of sites around town of all sizes by independant contractors in a hurry to finish a complicated job is not 100% safe. Covered trucks, dust suppression and monitoring will not eliminate the risk.
Disturbance of contaminated soil may see re-suspension of minute contaminants into the air which could travel far distances on the wind - potentially affecting millions of people.
"How do you dig up any soil,
put it in a truck and move
to a dumpsite without any dust? ... Are we just kidding
ourselves that they can look after it in perpetuity?"
Louise Barraclough, past
Families Against Radiation Exposure
The largest LLRW radioactive dump site in the country is located next to town's front doorway (Hwy. 401 and Toronto Rd.) - in the same elevated wetland area as previous nuclear dumpsite closed due to radioactive material leaking into Lake Ontario.
Radioactive waste can remain
toxic for millions of
years - the new
facility will be monitored
by the Canadian Government for 300 years
is is no known permanent
The new Welcome Waste Management Facility (WWMF) is situated in one of the worst locations for a radioactive waste dumpsite and storage facility – beside a populated urban area, along Canada’s busiest highway (#401), within the Great Lakes Watershed (Lake Ontario) and on an elevated wetland area.
“You do not put
nuclear waste near things like the Great Lakes or
the great rivers in case there’s a leakage that you haven’t expected”.
Professor Emeritus in Geochemistry,
University of Western Ontario and
International Consultant on Nuclear Waste
The extent of the cleanup depends not only on volume of actual contamination -- but on the amount of storage space available - which is LIMITED. The new WWMF will store an additional 1.2 million cubic metres of historic low-level radioactive waste - in addition to 450,000 cubic metres of Eldorado's waste from the old facility which is already on site.
When completed, it has been estimated the height of the giant containment mound of contaminated radioactive waste may rise up to 200 feet and hold a total volume of 1.9 million cubic metres of waste.
The total storage capacity of the WWMF is fixed. The actual amount of contaminated waste in Port Hope is unknown - but is estimated to be at least double the maximum capacity of the new WWMF. There is no other alternative permanent nuclear storage solution known.
The former radioactive dump
on the same site had to be
closed because toxic waste
was leaching into Lake
Ontario, cattle were
mysteriously dying after
drinking water from nearby
streams, and nearby rural
families moved as members
became sick or died from
Agricultural land was replaced by residential development which also became contaminated.
"Clearly there was a steady flow of radioactive effluent leeching out and draining into the Harbour. I commented that no one should ever build a dump on a hill above a Town! It was suicidal! Actually builders came and built a row of houses down to the lower level! In the 1976 crisis, the house basements were found to be high-radon and expensive remedial work had to be undertaken".
Dr. D.G. Andrews, Professor Emeritus,
Nuclear Engineering, University of Toronto, 1996
The risk of leakage and recontamination remains real even with a new facility. After heavy rains in June, 2017, the new $22-million wastewater treatment plant on the same site failed before the cleanup had even fully got underway. Newspapers were silent on what should have made front page news.
The new Waste Water Treatment Plant overflowed because of high water levels and the new expensive equipment stopped working properly. Water overflowed from its storm water management ponds to Brand Creek and Lake Ontario.
The situation was serious enough that Environment Canada and the Ministry of Environment with special consultants were brought in. The operation to fix the problems lasted for months - running 24/7. Contractors and sub-contractors on site were made to sign non-disclosure agreements as to their findings.
Nuclear facilities could also become a potential target for terrorist activities.
All nuclear power reactors and places where quantities of radioactive material are stored could be as dangerous as nuclear weapon explosions. If they… become the object of terrorist activity, military bombardment or sabotage, radioactive material could spread on a vast and devastating scale."
In 1995, the people of Port Hope defeated a federal scheme called Crazy Caverns to bury a million tons of radioactive and toxic waste in 19 caverns (each the size of a 12 story apartment building) under the Port Hope waterfront.
After Dr. Suzuki spoke in Port Hope in 1995 at the height of the controversial proposal to store radioactive waste in caverns under Lake Ontario, over one thousand people showed up and shortly after his appearance, the caverns plan was abandoned.
"Atomic energy of Canada Ltd., (AECL) spent 15 years and $700 million dollars developing a plan for deep rock disposal. For 8 years the Seaborn Commission held hearings and gathered evidence, but decided in 1998 that the plan for such long lasting wastes was not satisfactory or socially acceptable."
The Problem with
Nuclear is the Radiation
"The Pirates of Port Hope and their Crazy Caverns" written by Tom Lawson tells the Crazy Caverns story of a town which was bought with cash for another "equally insane plan". The Port Hope Crazy Caverns was also similar to another crazy caverns scheme currently ongoing near Kincardine on the Bruce Peninsula.
“…in 1995 the people of Port Hope defeated what came to be called the Crazy Caverns. It was a government scheme to bury a million tons of radioactive and toxic waste, "out of sight, out of mind" under the Port Hope waterfront. After an agonizing year of fighting without a penny of government support against a million dollar campaign of bribery and blackmail, the townspeople rejected the scheme. The nukes changed their language to "short term and long term management", did away with referendums, and proceeded to buy out communities with cash. Having given up the dream of a nuclear renaissance, they now concentrate on finding a solution for their impossible waste problem. The town has been bought. The equally insane plan now is to dig up all Port Hope's waste and truck it to a "state of the art" facility on a wetland just west of town that drains into Lake Ontario. Kincardine now inherits an equally Crazy Caverns scheme on a grander scale…”
Tom Lawson, Retired Port Hope
January 22, 2013
The same Port Hope pirates who had spearheaded the Crazy Caverns plan focused instead on shifting all Port Hope's known radioactive and toxic wastes to the proposed dumpsite just west of town - the next worst possible location.
The historic Monkey Mountain Residue Area and Highland Drive Land Fill next to the Ganaraska River is one of the most contaminated areas in Port Hope.
The first residues of the Eldorado nuclear plant were dumped directly on the harbour lands from 1933 to 1939.
From 1945 these residues were reprocessed and dumped at the Monkey Mountain Residue Area by Eldorado. Until 1948, vast amounts of nuclear waste used for the potent wastes from the radium plant (radium, uranium, arsenic, etc.) were dumped here. Former cleanup attempts were not completely successful.
In addition to radioactive waste from the 1940’s of the most dangerous kind in the Monkey Mountain Residue Area, regular waste from the County landfill was later added.
Cleanup of the historic LLRW at this landfill site is scheduled to begin in 2020 and take approximately 12 to 18 months. Contaminants found to be commingled with historic LLRW will be cleaned up. The non-LLRW municipal solid waste is not included in the clean-up.
Whether the remediated site in Port Hope after the clean-up will be fit for industrial , residential development or any other use has not been revealed by all levels of government.
"Northumberland County has agreed to a mediated settlement between its representative and those for Port Hope and the Federal Government of Canada about the low-level radioactive waste clean up at the Highland Drive landfill in Port Hope. The county owns the closed dump which contains both low level radioactive waste and garbage.
The settlement resolution, which was moved by Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier and seconded by Cramahe Mayor Marc Coombs at the end of a recent closed county-council session, is not being made public.
However, in a previously published interview with a senior technical advisor for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Glenn Case, he indicated the matter was over the level of clean-up to take place at the Highland Drive landfill site.
In the original agreement dating back to 2009, the Licence involving the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says the landfill was to be cleaned up to a “column C” level which is “representative of its land use” formerly, and going forward after clean-up, Case explained.
"At this time, the licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says the landfill is to be cleaned up to a "column C" which is "representative of its land use" former and going forward after clean up, (Glenn) Case explained. It is not the same level as column A identified for residential and column B for industrial, he said."
Nuclear cleanup isn't over yet in Port Hope,
Northumberland Today, November 21, 2016
We are in discussions with the County and the Municipality now, but I can’t get into the nitty gritty of it. It is not the same level as column A – which is identified for residential and column B for industrial, he said."
(The only other site in Port Hope with the Column "C" designation is the nuclear dumpsite known as the new Welcome Waste Management Facilities - a site with limited capacity which will be full after the current clean-up according to government's numbers.)
* * *
"Northumberland County transportation and waste director, Mo Pannu, said in an interview at that same time that the County was seeking an increased level of clean-up at the Highland landfill site, and it wanted the Federal Government to pay for that. Otherwise, he said, if there were issues after the clean up, Northumberland County taxpayers might have to pay for it.
Asked what such a second clean-up might cost, and whether it would be millions of dollars, Pannu said he had no information about it at that time. There is a mediated settlement on the matter, but the details are being kept secret."
Ganaraskč and Monkey
According to early historical maps from the mid 1600’s, Monkey Mountain was the site of a major Cayuga village of the Iroquois Confederacy named “Ganaraskč”.
The Cayugas of Ganaraskč were the first recorded human occupants of Port Hope - when Ontario was a thick forest and the only road was a foot-path.
J.N.B. Hewitt of the Smithsonian Institute wrote "Ganaraskč probably meant 'the spawning place', as this locality was refuted too 'abound' in salmon." (Toronto during the French Regime, 1933). The river's name is also thought to originate from this village name.
The historic Ganaraska Trail was also a primary trade route from Port Hope on Lake Ontario to Pemedashcoutayang (“lake of the burning plains”), the Ojibwe name for Rice Lake.
In the Newsletter of the Port Hope Archives (Spring, 2016), Carl Ross, a local resident wrote:
“When I was 10, I became a paper boy… this after school job allowed me to meet and get to know many old and interesting Port Hope families. One of these families was the Ted Austin family on Cavan Street. Ted Loved to dig up old Native burial grounds in Port Hope, and this started my passion for digging things up. My first area of attack was around the Brewery Pond on Cavan St.”
The late E.W. (Ted) Austin (1925-2001) worked for Eldorado and had the largest known collection of artifacts found in the Port Hope area and reportedly had uncovered many native burial sites. He lived on Cavan Street and his backyard was Monkey Mountain.
Forgotten in time, Ganaraskč should have become the only National Historic Site of Canada in Port Hope - like its sister Iroquoian village sites in Toronto of the same time period.
Letter to Editor:
HISTORY MATTERS ON MONKEY MOUNTAIN
(Highland Dr. and Cavan St., Port Hope)
"Public officials of all government levels have taken a myopic view of one of the most important cultural and natural heritage landscapes in Northumberland County (historically known as Monkey Mountain).
According to historical accounts, Monkey Mountain was the location of a village ofthe Cayuga people of the Iroquois Confederacy and the first recorded human occupation in the county when Ontario was a thick forest and the only road was a foot-path.
Several early French maps (Joliet, Franquelin, Raffeix, Bellin, Danville, etc.) from the mid 1600's show the village named “Ganaraskč” (or close derivation) at the site of modern day Port Hope - more than a century before the arrival of the first fur trader, Peter Smith.
The colonial expansion of the Old World into New, the fur trading ambitions of the Europeans, the workings of the Sulpician missionaries and the strategic role the native people played in the struggle between the French and British for control of the fur trade all occurred during this period of the French Regime.
For all of Northumberland and Peterborough Counties, the Ganaraska Trail was the main carrying, portage and canoe route from Lake Ontario to Rice Lake, Peterborough area and northern interior (chain of Kawartha Lakes).
Ganaraskč was more than a Cayuga village, it was a trading and missionaries place. The exact location of Ganaraskč remains uncertain but important clues are found in the origin of the Monkey Mountain name.
A well documented historical legend describes “If you walked on Monkey Mountain at night, you are followed by little red lights and little children can be heard screaming and running around yet there is no one there. This occurs around an area where the natives had their longhouse.” (Port Hope District Historical Society (PHDHS) Newsletter, September, 2015; Little Tales of Old Port Hope, 1966; Port Hope Evening Guide series, 1965/66)
A longhouse wwas evidence of a village site – the Iroquoian Cayugas were known as “people of the longhouse".
According to notes from PHDHS/East Durham collection, the Monkey Mountain name may have been a change over time from "Monk's Mound". The Sulpician Missionaries from France were known visitors.
After Denonville’s expedition in 1687 attacking the villages around Lake Ontario, the village of Ganaraskč was heard of no more.
The late Ted Austin (1925-2001) who lived nearby on Cavan St. reportedly uncovered local native burial sites and had the largest known collection of artifacts found in the Port Hope area.
When control of Canada passed from France to Great Britain in 1763, the FrenchGanaraskč name changed to "Ganaraska" from which Ganaraska River is named.
The historical importance of Ganaraskč should not be underestimated. It could have become the only National Historic Site of Canada designated in Port Hope (like a similar Iroquoian village by Rouge River in Toronto).
The large park-like greenspace area with hills, ravines and forested area on Monkey Mountain in Port Hope’s core could have been like Central Park. (Port Hope has already lost its waterfront crown jewel (central beach) to the nuclear industry)....
Letter to Editor
from Marian Martin
Northumberland Today, March 8, 2017
Port Hope residents were "hoodwinked" by the Government of Canada in 2001 when the original Legal Agreement for Cleanup was signed by public officials. Many long time residents have since grown tired, confused, skeptical or cynical on all things nuclear.
Despite assurances by public officials at that time to the contrary, there will never be a full cleanup of the radioactive waste or a pristine town restored to "background conditions".
As part of the public process, there should have been full public disclosure, accountability and transparency regarding the quality and quantity of remediation. After several decades of hazardous nuclear waste contamination, the Canadian Government is responsible for a full cleanup - not just a movement of nuclear waste from Point A to Point B nearby.
The Ontario Ministry of Environment has not approved clean-up under the Environmental Protection Act,. The Canadian government has seemingly claimed jurisdiction over nuclear waste and exempted itself from this process. (The strictest process for environmental review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act does not meet the lowest standards of Ontario’s EA requirements).
The 1.2 BILLION $$ "cleanup" may be good public relations - but without guarantees, Port Hope may still be hostage to the mistakes of the past for which it was not responsible.
Radioactive waste can remain dangerous for millions of years. Port Hope and its massive radioactive "mound" will be monitored for 300 years only - a timeframe which does not commensurate with the residues' hazardous life.
In essence, the federal government is regulating itself in the clean up of contaminated soil for which it was responsible. It is also setting its own national standards - when universal standards would better meet the needs of the community untarnished by the Canadian nuclear monopoly.
“... the industry wants the public to accept that they are protecting humans and the environment... But this is not true science, it is an elaborate form of self-assurance and wish-fulfillment — utilizing mathea protect us from any rude realization of what could go horribly wrong once monitoring has ceased and retrievability has become practically impossible...”
Dr. Gordon Edwards, President
Nuclear Free by 2045? June 23, 2014
The landmark Legal Agreement in 2001 between the Canadian Government and the Municipality of Port Hope was a bad deal for the town and a bad deal for the environment.
The Port Hope cleanup project will be a "limited cleanup" only - with no guarantees... and an over abundant supply of "blind faith" by the people who must live here. As shown in the founding Cleanup Agreement:
"Subject to applicable laws, no Party shall be bound by or be liable for any statement, representation, promise, warranty, inducement, agreement, obligation or understanding of any kind or nature not set forth in this Agreement.”
An Agreement for the
Cleanup and the
Safe Management of Low-Level Radioactive Waste, 2001...
(also known as the 2001 Legal Agreement)
waste is not
The Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City, with signatories from 20 countries on five continents, confirmed the need for a "worldwide ban on ...the irresponsible management of radioactive waste" - but the Government of Canada has not been listening.
"Uranium and its associated radioactive substances
must remain in their natural location."
Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium
Quebec City on April 16, 2015
Port Hope's nuclear waste storage site is a huge mound on the landscape - not a deep repository. This site failed once before. There are also 3 deep geological repositories on the entire planet and all have leaked - a 100% failure rate.
There are no guarantees. Without a permanent storage solution - the legacy of future generations will be:
10 MILLION CORRODING
"No scientist or engineer can give an
absolute guarantee that
Konrad Krauskopf, Geologist,
radioactive waste will not someday leak in dangerous quantities
from even the best of repositories."
"No scientist or engineer can give an
absolute guarantee that
Konrad Krauskopf, Geologist,
Remembered in time...
"When her name was called, Pat walked from the back of the hearing room,
past all the lawyers and company experts and government representatives to
the speaker's table before the judges. She told a story about her hometown: Port Hope. The story of nuclear waste involved secrecy, cover-ups, health impacts, corporate control and government negligence. It shocked me.
It also inspired me… She lit a fire in me that day that still burns.”
Blind Faith (1991), a superb account of people's attitudes and the toxic legacy
Lifelong Peace Educator. Author of
of the trees standing in Port Hope
will be gone… it will be a blow to the Municipality.”
Haskill - telephone
"After the Cleanup" March 27, 2015
Heart of a Lake performance in Port Hope on September 19, 2006
Past President - Port Hope (East Durham) Historical Society
Past President - Families Against Radiation Exposure (FARE)
Descendant from one of the first area settlers (Haskills - 1793)
(1963 - 2017)
“Heart of a Lake was inspired by ordinary people’s struggles to
win back what they’ve lost: Clean water. Access to their harbours.
The respect of government and industry...”
Gord Downie - Frontman of the Tragically Hip rock band (recipient of the Order of Canada in 2017). He was heavily involved in environmental movements - especially issues concerning water rights.
Blind Faith, Penny Sanger, 1981 - a superb account of Eldorado and the effects of its careless radioactive waste disposal practices throughout Port Hope (also available online)
Highway of the Atom, Peter VanWyck, 2010 - the journey of uranium from Port Radium to Port Hope's refineries, and eventually, to Hiroshima (hardcover)
Comments and/or questions -Email
Researcher - M. Martin
Municipality of Port Hope
Disclaimer: This information compiled is and may be used for
personal use. The best effort has been made to
verify this information and to correctly cite
sources. However, the accuracy of any of the
information cannot be guaranteed and should be
Rev. August 27, 2019
"Forty years of blind faith in the uranium refinery had won Port Hope the reputation of being, not the most beautiful, but one of the most polluted little towns in Ontario."
Penny Sanger, Author
Blind Faith, 1981
"There's a long history of contamination at Port Hope... The whole siting of this refinery is absurd. It's right in the centre of town, it's on a flood plain and right on the lakefront."
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
"Port Hope has been called upon to make itself the national sacrifice zone for Canada..."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Environmental Lawyer ,
Waterkeeper Alliance, June 18, 2004
industry is well aware of (ethics) and tries to factor them
in. However, ethics have to be spread evenly and you
can't burn benedictions
in the boiler."
Dr. D. G.
University of Toronto
costly radioactive cleanup project in Canadian history is
underfunded, reported at
Comparatively, the biggest cleanup in U.S. history at Hanford is costing
"There are only two commercially important uses for uranium: nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. The ultimate products of the uranium industry are therefore bombs and radioactive wastes."
“The town's nuclear past is
its legacy and its curse.”
Port Hope's nuclear past
pits economic interests against health April 1, 2011
"The profound and deliberate falsification of nuclear hazards began at the top".
University of Toronto
Historian and Author
''I want to talk about something called
mild mutations which is a very subtle undermining
of the gene pool.
It is not talked about,
it is not measured,
but it is occurring.
What you do is to
create a next generation
that is physically less able to cope with hazardous material than their
If you do two things at once: you mildly damage the next generation genetic damage and you increase the hazards in the environment, then you can do this for two or three generations and you are finished.''
Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Author
No Immediate Danger?
Prognosis for a
"Should the public discover the true health cost of nuclear pollution, a cry would rise from all parts of the world and people would refuse to cooperative passively with their own death…"
Rosalie Bertell, Author
No Immediate Danger
from being the passe story the industry's PR hacks and media assets
constantly present it as, it is the
number-one problem our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
great-great- grandchildren, ad infinitum, will have to deal with for at
least the next 240,000 years.
The damage to the integrity of the gene pool is still being assessed as
well as increased.
And all this has happened in less than the past fifty years. The challenge is paramount. Denial promises extinction
of all our relations."
Rosalie Bertell, 1989
16 Million Radiation Deaths and Counting
"There is no such thing as a radiation exposure that will not do damage.
There is a hundred per cent possibility that there will be damage to cells.
The next question is: which damage do you care about?"
Dr. Rosalie Bertell
"Is the minor convenience of
allowing the present generation the luxury of doubling its energy
consumption every 10 years worth the major hazard of exposing the next
20,000 generations to this lethal waste?"
David R. Brower
“… there is no safe level of exposure to ionizing radiation...”
Dr. Rosalie Bertell
"This is a death process, for which, in the long-term, we are killing ourselves as a species."
The BEIR V Report, Deadly Deceit, Low-Level Radiation High-Level Coverup, 1990
Dr. Helen Caldicott
"Historic low-level radioactive waste buried in parks, ravines, streets,
industrial sites, the harbour and hundreds of backyards poses a 'life or
death' threat and can't be safely remediated… You can't clean it up.
Transferring it just exposes more people to radioactive material..."
“Warning Port Hope a toxic time bomb…” Toronto Star, November 9, 2010
"It takes a single mutation in a single cell to kill you. The most common plutonium isotope] has a half-life of 24,400 years. Every male in the Northern Hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads. What this means to future generations God only knows and we’re not the only species with testicles. What we are doing is degrading evolution, and not many people understand that."
Dr. Helen Caldicott
"No Nukes is Good Nukes"
interview on May 3, 2005
"The risks of transporting deadly nuclear waste, the environmental justice impacts and the long-term health effects of both these projects are untenable... We cannot afford to be silent on these important issues."
from the government and the nuclear industry that uranium refinement is
safe are simply untrue.
Uranium is toxic and after its depletion, continues to release radioactive poisons for millennia. Radioactive particles from uranium end up in our air, water, soil and food..."
Elizabeth May, 2007
"Port Hope epitomizes the whole nuclear fuel cycle from A to Z -- the refining of uranium all the way through to nuclear power to the production of radioactive waste to the production of nuclear weapons."
Dr. Helen Caldicott, 2011
"It's a sad irony that the first radioactive waste cleanup in Port Hope supplied the uranium that killed 140,000 people of Hiroshima."
“Here’s an industry with the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.”
"Burdening Port Hope: Material releases, human exposure and biological effects remain unclear and unmeasured Port Hope..."
Uranium Medical Research Centre, October 10, 2006
"In my opinion, the Welcome Waste
site will prove to be nothing but
an infected, festering boil on the backside of Port Hope into the future."
Derrick Kelly, Resident
beneath we don't know.
There are always surprises."