By Jessica Smith, Metro Toronto, February 3, 2013
Idle No More protesters and anti-nuclear activists blocked the CP rail line near the General Electric-Hitachi nuclear processing facility in Toronto on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The protesters blocked a train, but left peacefully, according to police at the scene. The rail-line protest came after a demonstration at the plant and a march through the surrounding neighbourhood earlier in the day.
The plant has been operating in the area for almost 50 years, but went largely unnoticed by the community until anti-nuclear activist Zach “NoCameco” Ruiter began a campaign to get it shut down. He says anti-nuclear activism is now an issue that belongs with the Idle No More movement.
“Uranium is stolen from indigenous lands and it leaks radiation all along the fuel chain,” he said, while leading the march on Sunday.
John Jacobs is from Serpent River First Nation, where the watershed was damaged over decades by uranium mining around Elliot Lake.
“I’m here because uranium, it really affected my reserve back home,” he said. “It did a lot of damage to our river. We can’t use the river no more, we can’t fish in it. We can’t drink the water.”
Jacobs said he thinks having a facility that processes uranium in a city is a “terrible idea.”
“I’d like to see them get rid of uranium and nuclear power altogether,” he said. “But if they have to do it, do it where there’s no people. Somewhere—I don’t know—but it’s crazy having it in the middle of a neighbourhood. Who knows what’s going to happen down the road. Nobody knows.”
No one from GE Canada could be reached Sunday, but spokeswoman Kim Warburton has told Torstar News Service in the past the plant handles only natural uranium which is “not dangerous” compared to its enriched counterpart.
Statement from the Committee for Future Generations:
Posted on January 22, 2013
We, the Committee for Future Generations, demand the immediate shutdown of the GE Hitachi uranium processing plant at 1025 Lansdowne Avenue in Toronto. This uranium comes from the earth of First Nations territories in northern Saskatchewan, where our Elders have always told the industry to “Leave the black death-rock alone”. They did not listen, and we are now bombarded with 300 million tons of radioactive mine tailings leaching into our water, contaminating our land and blowing for miles on the winds. Our plants, animals and people are already sick and dying. We can hear the earth crying, “ENOUGH! KUH-T’AH! A KU SE! C’EST ASSEZ!” But now the industry is targeting us with the other end of the nuclear fuel chain, the radioactive waste, which is a billion times more lethal. Everything nuclear is a dead zone. We will not be COLLATERAL DAMAGE for the profit-mongers. We will not bequeath this legacy of death to future generations. Help us work together towards the only realistic solution; GLOBAL SHUT DOWN OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY.