Canada Port Hope Radioactive Repository

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.