(Québec, 6 April 2015) Mr. Naoto Kan, Prime Minister of Japan during the Fukushima catastrophe, will deliver an exclusive message at the opening of the World Uranium Symposium at the Quebec City Convention Centre on April 14-16, 2015. Both scientific and community-based, the Symposium will address issues arising from the nuclear fuel chain, from mining uranium to its end-uses and byproducts for civilian or military purposes.
Open to the public, the Symposium will host nearly 300 national and international participants from twenty countries from all continents. It is still possible to register for the symposium online.
2015: a key year for debating the future of uranium and its nuclear uses
While nuclear energy is increasingly expensive and poses environmental and security problems, it continues to be the subject of intense debates before the UN treaty conference on climate change in Paris, December 2015.
Dr. Eric Notebaert, board member at the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Co-chair of the Symposium, described the questions that would be addressed at the symposium: "Should we increase or rather get away from nuclear power? How to stop the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons? How to manage over thousands of years thousands of tons of radioactive waste? Who will pay for the bill? What about the rights of indigenous peoples affected by this industry?”
President of Physicians for Global Survival, Dr. Juan Carlos Chrigwin said, ‘’The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the beginning of the lead-up to talks on the UN treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in New York in May. Led by Red Cross/Red Crescent International, more than 160 countries have met over the last three years to support complete abolition of nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds."
In Quebec, the government has tasked the Bureau of public hearings on the environment (BAPE) to investigate issues related to uranium mining. The BAPE will table its final report in May 2015, after which the government will decide whether or not to maintain the current moratorium on the industry. "There has been significant opposition to uranium mining in recent years in Quebec. The problem of radioactive mining waste and long-term contamination risks are at the heart of the debate," explains Ugo Lapointe of the Quebec Coalition for Better Mining, a partner organization of the Symposium.
Speakers at the Symposium include: Mary Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility; Mycle Schneider, international expert and independent consultant on energy policies, lead author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Reports; Arnie Gundersen, engineer and expert in nuclear safety, former senior industry executive in the USA, and author of a bestseller on the Fukushima accident; Sara Olsvig, Head of the Inuit Ataqatigiit party and elected member of the Greenland Parliament; Doug Brugge, of the Public Health Department at Tufts University in the USA, expert in health risks related to uranium mining; Bruno Chareyron, engineer in nuclear physics, laboratory director for the Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity in France; Ian Fairlie, former advisor to the UK government on the radiation risks of the nuclear industry; Brigitte Guérin, Department of nuclear medicine and radiobiology at the University of Sherbrooke, specializing in the production of medical isotopes from new technologies; Peter Prebble, former cabinet Minister of Saskatchewan and current policy director for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society; Sylvia McAdam, law expert in Saskatchewan and co-founder of the international movement Idle No More; Mariette Liefferink (South Africa), CEO, Federation for a Sustainable Environment; Arielle Denis, director of the International campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons (Europe, Middle East, Africa); and many others.
We are honoured to have Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees of James Bay (Eeyou Istchee) to open and close the Symposium. We are also pleased to have Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, join us.
Gilles Vigneault, Quebec author, composer and singer, will perform his song "Uranium" on April 16 at 13h30pm.
Jean-Pierre Rogel, independant scientific journalist and Carole Graveline, former Radio-Canada journalist and current director of media relation at McGill University, will act as facilitators during the Symposium.
See also the program for the International Uranium Film Festival, which will be held from 15 to 25 April in Quebec City, Montreal, and Mistissini.