Dr. Gordon Edwards is a well-known and highly respected authority on the long-term hazards of nuclear facilities, and the President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibilty ( . He has acted as a consultant to many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the Auditor General of Canada, the Ontario Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning, and the Siting Task Force for Radioactive Wastes.

Dr. Edwards has assessed the impact that a uranium mine at Sharbot Lake could have on the City of Ottawa and surrounding regions, and has outlined his assessment in the following public statement: SEPTEMBER 18, 2007

As a scientist, educator, and citizen, I fully support the Algonquin peoples for blockading the Sharbot Lake site in order to prevent uranium exploration and mining. The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, of which I am President, also supports this action. The brave men and women who are blockading the Sharbot Lake site are not only protecting their own land, they are also protecting the Ottawa river and the entire Ottawa region from radioactive contamination.

Uranium ore bodies are among the deadliest mineral deposits on earth. They harbour large quantities of dangerous radioactive materials. Exploration and mining activities liberate these poisons into the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

Uranium ore contains not only large quantities of uranium, but equally large inventories of the radioactive "decay products" of uranium, including radium, radon gas, polonium-210, and dozens of other radioactive poisons.

In the 1920's radium sold for $100,000 per gram. By the 1940's the market for radium had dried up. Too many people had died from bone cancer, anemia, leukemia and head cancers caused by microscopic quantities of radium. The British Columbia Medical Association has described radium as "a superb carcinogen".

Yet mining companies routinely discard large quantities of radium in their radioactive dumping grounds called uranium tailings piles. From there the radium can migrate into the food chain and the ground water over periods of thousands of years. By the late 1970's, the entire Serpent River system stretching 55 miles downstream from the Elliot Lake uranium mines was contaminated with radium from abandoned mines.

Polonium-210 is also left over from uranium mining. It is dumped into the tailings piles in quantities whose radioactivity is equal to that of the uranium itself. The deadliness of polonium-210 was revealed through the gruesome murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London, England last year. It is billions of times more toxic than cyanide. It attaches itself to the red blood cells and targets all the soft organs of the body.

During uranium exploration and mining, huge quantities of radon gas are also released into the air, and dissolved in surface waters. The US Surgeon General has determined that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking; tens of thousands of Americans die every year from exposure to radon gas.

When radon gas is released from a uranium mine, it deposits solid radioactive fallout - including polonium-210 - on the ground for hundreds of miles downwind from the mine site. Even during exploration, each drill-hole acts as a chimney which vents radon gas into the air from deep underground.

I salute the Algonquin peoples for trying to do what the government should have been doing all along - protecting the health and safety of the people of the Ottawa region by prohibiting uranium exploration and mining in this beautiful region of the province.

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