Activist, Physicist Debate Impact Of Nuclear Power

Tuesday, October 06, 2009 at 15:14



A prominent First Nations activist says wind is the future of energy.


Winona LaDuke spoke yesterday in Saskatoon at a discussion on nuclear energy hosted by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.


LaDuke says reservations in the United States have seen drastic effects from having uranium mines, and she says it is costly and dangerous.


LaDuke says her reserve, White Earth in Minnesota, is moving towards wind power, and she encourages Saskatchewan First Nations people to consider joining them.


“Tribes are moving there — 23 tribes moving ahead with wind. Saskatchewan Native people should be with us on that plan. That’s the green plan for the future. Don’t want to have the technology of the last millennium, when you could have the future,” she says.


However, a nuclear physicist says nuclear energy is clean and the way to go.


Dr. Chilakamarri (Chary) Rangacharyulu, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, says Saskatchewan premiers have been exploring uranium since the 1930s, but no one has explored far enough.


“Everybody recognized the value of the uranium, and what it could do for our province. Sadly, they have not taken it far enough…. (We) did not reap the benefits of the nuclear industry,” he says.


Rangacharyulu says it’s time the province capitalized on its expertise, knowledge, and youth when it comes to nuclear energy.


He also says he has stood on nuclear reactors all over the world, and is still healthy.


While the FSIN hosted the discussion, officials says the organization has not taken a position on nuclear energy, because it has not received any direction from the chiefs.