Anti-nuclear advocate Dr. Helen Caldicott is in Saskatchewan warning about what she sees as the dangers of nuclear power and uraniummining—an industry that has become an important part of the province's economy.
Saskatchewan is a world leader in mining the radioactive mineral, which is processed and used in nuclear power reactors to generate electricity.
Proponents of the industry say it pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the Saskatchewan economy every year and creates jobs for northerners in remote areas.
But Caldicott, who came to public attention in Canada in 1982 with the Academy Award-winning National Film Board documentary If You Love This Planet, says the public shouldn't forget uranium mining comes at a cost.
"The incidence of lung cancer amongst uranium miners is 30 to 50 per cent higher than normal people," Caldicott said in Regina onTuesday.
"It's an extremely dangerous occupation. And why should those poor people who come from this land, and who've been here for many generations, be exposed to such dangerous activities? They're being used as pawns," she said, referring to First Nations miners.
There are no nuclear power plants in Saskatchewan, although some pro-nuclear-energy advocates have argued one should be built here.
Saskatchewan has an abundance of alternate energy sources, including wind, solar and geothermal, Caldicott said.
Nuclear power is a "cancer industry" that creates electricity as a byproduct, Caldicott said.
"And I don't believe the people in this province, indeed, in Canada, would support such an industry," she said.
Caldicott was scheduled to speak at the University of Regina Tuesday night. She'll be in Saskatoon on Wednesday.