Monday, October 11, 2004

Uranium Oxide Spill - Rabbit Lake Mine

In the eighties I was involved with the court when a uranium oxide spill was encapsulated by a mine partly owned by the Government of Saskatchewan. Between November 1985 and May 1986 Cameco had a yellowcake spill at the Rabbit Lake Mine that contaminated the mill leach, CCD tanks, mill circuits, organic solvent in the solvent extraction building, Rabbit Lake tailings pit and surface tailings. Cameco took their full inventory of contaminated kerosene from the solvent extraction building to the surface tailings area and burned it. Cameco drained their contaminated mill leach and CCD tanks into the Rabbit Lake pit. Between May 1986 and September 1986 Cameco ordered over eight times the normal mill requirements of lime, sodium chlorate, barium chlorate, ferric sulphate and soda ash. These reagents were used to make a lime mortar in the mill. This mortar was then mixed with tons of sand in the Rabbit Lake Pit to encapsulate the uranium oxide in a type of cement mortar at a cost of three million dollars.

This mine had a history of spills, unsafe working conditions and accidents. I started a news letter with the information regarding the spills. I distributed it by hand during the election in Mr Romano’s riding in Saskatoon. I asked people to think twice about voting for the NDP. At this same time I was shown a paper a student at the U of S had written titled “Between a Rock and a Poor Place”. He was critical of the Governments treatment of a Native Band that lived on a reserve across the lake from the mine. I included his paper in my summations to the court.

I was offered cash in my pocket by the mine if I withdrew my application and I refused, telling them that the spill needed to be cleaned up. I stopped going to court because of my disability and when I started to have costs ordered to be paid before the court would allow me to continue. The two NDP lawyers that I apposed their appointments to the bench did an excellent job along with the Atomic Energy Control Board in covering up for the NDP. The following is what Justice Wright had to say after looking at the evidence. The responsibility to clean this spill up lies with Cameco, not the tax payers of Canada or Saskatchewan.

August 12, 1994
Wright J. stated in his analysis: “He (Plaintiff) has gone to considerable effort to set out specific events and connect them with information he has gathered about the conduct of Cameco, Siemens and the applicants. It is not appropriate for me to express any opinion as to the charges save to note that they are very serious, and if true, could have enormous environmental, health and safety consequences. The financial consequences might be incalculable."

I was going to wait until the mine was decommissioned before continuing. In light of the success of I will be posting the information on the internet. The levels of uranium in the water downstream from the mine has been increasing over the past few years. The spill is a time capsule of death and destruction.

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