Letter to Editor: Nuclear Pellet and Fuel Bundle Production Poses Danger to Peterborough

Kwey Journey Magazine,

Regarding this recent articlehttps://journeymagazineptbo.com/2019/06/25/politicians-take-note-canadians-want-a-green-new-deal/  

Thank you very much for the community reporting that you do in Peterborough. I wish to say that while, “yes”, I agree material garbage produced by corporation’s such as Tim Horton’s is a concern, the bigger issue facing Peterborough community members is the matter of nuclear pellet and fuel bundle production for nuclear reactors that BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada has applied for.
Many people argue that nuclear power is safe and green through the reasoning that nuclear reactors do not produce CO2. This, though, is narrow reasoning.
The uranium atom naturally emits radioactive particles that are dangerous in the way they interfere with and cause human cells to mutate. Children are particularly vulnerable because their cells are reproducing at a faster rate than the old people. Disturbingly, when uranium is split via a nuclear reactor, additional radioactive particles are produced. 
I admit I am not an expert in this area but some time ago I went on a personal journey to learn more about uranium mining and the nuclear industry. Through this process I learned from many experts, such as Helen Caldicott, about the dangers and pollution of uranium fission. Expert knowledge holders taught me a lot about radioactive particles as pollution even though we cannot see them. As I am sure you know, there comes a time when we need to value expert knowledge holders and tease out and toss out the political and corporate rhetoric. 
Another thing I learned was that nuclear power plants are constructed near rivers so they are better able to exploit the cold water to cool down the nuclear reactors which as a result warms up the rivers thus contributing to climate change. 
The science of uranium mining and fission is hard to understand and this discourages people from learning. We are all too busy working five days per week and running around cleaning our homes, cooking, paying bills, and taking care of our children. Regardless, learning can be done through watching videos online. In the Indigenous tradition we value repetition in the learning process which was my approach in watching videos over and over. Then once I learned enough I began to read items online. While I am not an expert, I do feel more confident in what I know and what I share with others such as writing this short letter.  I wish I had more time to work on this matter because again I think it is the most pressing issue facing all of us here in Peterborough. I wish we could unite under this one pressing issue versus remain in our activist silos. I think we need a charismatic leader who we all trust to help us unite and challenge this nuclear garbage production that will harm us all and has a life way longer than one generation. This is not to deny that environment racism does not exist – of course it does.
Here are two blogs I wrote on this topic. My goal is to write in a way the community members as able to draw from it. They are short and will serve as an entry into learning about the dangers of nuclear power.

Again, miigwetch for your important work.

Lynn Gehl, Ph.D.

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