Building Britain’s first new nuclear reactor since 1995 will cost twice as much as the 2012 Olympics – and by the time it is finished, nuclear power could be a thing of the past. How could the government strike such a bad deal? By Holly Watt
Because of the importance of the debate that continues to rage over the harmful effects of low-level radioactivity, I am sending out a copy of my recent exchanges on this topic in the context of the Canadian Pugwash Group. As you know, nuclear proponents have been for many years eagerly pushing the idea that there is a safe threshold of exposure and that exposures below this threshold are either completely harmless or actually beneficial. The latter claim is called “hormesis”.
Before the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, Port Hope was the home of a radium refinery. Radium is a radioactive heavy metal, a natural byproduct of uranium, that sold for $70,000 per gram in 1931 when the refinery was built. The radioactive ore came from Port Radium, a mine site located on the eastern shore of Great Bear Lake, in the traditional territory of the nomadic Sahtu-Dene people. Large volumes of radioactive waste were left over from the radium refining operation, and much of this waste was dumped into the Port Hope Harbor and into several deep ravines within the town’s boundaries, freely accessible to children and animals.