Looking for consent, the Iroquois are condemning a plan to transport highly radioactive uranium through its territory

Annette Francis
APTN National News

Grand Chief Joe Norton is keeping a close watch over the St. Lawrence Seaway these days.

He’s concerned about a shipment of weapon’s grade uranium that could soon pass by his community of Kahnawake, Quebec.,

“With nuclear waste especially this type of nuclear waste, which is liquid is so dangerous that it lasts life times,” said Norton.

The plan to transport the liquid waste in steel tubes has been approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

According to Norton, that could mean at any time, 23 thousand litres of radioactive liquid will be moved from the Chalk River reactor, northwest of Ottawa to an American site in South Carolina.

Uranium expert, Gordon Edwards said he’s  keeping a close watch too.

“It’s very intensely radioactive and its unapproachable by humans without shields, heavy shields,” said Edwards. “And even if you were stopped in traffic beside the truck carrying this material, you would be getting irradiated with a certain amount of gamma radiation and neutron radiation because it’s impossible to block it entirely.”

That’s why the Iroquois caucus, that represents seven Iroquois communities in Ontario and Quebec are voicing their opposition against it,

The Anishinabek Nation, which includes 40 Ontario First Nations are standing with them.

“This is something that we just can’t sit here and if we’re caretakers of the land and if our purpose in life is to ensure that the water, the land is safe for our future generations, then it’s incumbent upon us to do something about it,” said Norton.

According to Norton , there’s been no consultation or discussion regarding the plans to move the toxic material through their territories.

“I’m no expert by any means but, I do understand the difference between spent fuel rods and the liquid and the liquid is so dangerous that it can contaminate very quickly in an area, and we’re talking about being shipped from Ontario down into I believe its South Carolina and in a vacinity of 40 million people, you know 40 million inhabitants both in Canada and the United States,” he said.

Norton said they’ll be keeping track of what’s happening, and if needed, they’ll quickly rally against the dangerous movement.

Edwards commends the Iroquois Caucus for taking the lead.

“I think the only thing that can be done at this point is strong statements of disapproval and opposition,” he said.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Natural Resources Canada did not respond to our requests for comment.

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