Jun 242011

SENT:   Fri 6/24/2011 7:51 PM

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DATE:  June 24, 2011

TO:     U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC

FROM:  Sandra Finley, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Canada

TOPIC:   Local knowledge, two very misleading statements about uranium/nuclear accidents.  (Should the 30 year moratorium on uranium mining, milling & processing in Virginia be lifted?)

Dear Members of the Committee,

I am an interested lay person.   I was able to attend only two of the presentations made to you, in addition to the Public Comments session.   What I am able to pick out, from just one presentation is rather unnerving.   I hate to think what I might have been able to provide to you (local knowledge) had I heard all the presentations – –  but more importantly, what  could professionals add and people who are much better informed than I am?   I sincerely hope, in the interests of the citizens of Virginia, that you are receiving information to counter the spin.


June 9,  10.30am-11.00pm: Wayne Summach, Cameco Corporation; Program Manager, Emergency Preparedness – transportation of uranium products and the precautions built into that system

Wayne described in detail how the industry is prepared for accidents.

There were some questions from the Committee about the conditions of the roads used for the transportation of radioactive materials.   You received reassurances.

Committee members could not be expected to know the local situation;  Wayne did not point it out.


  1. Moosomin is on the trucking route, on the Trans Canada Highway near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.    Highway deaths in the vicinity,  November 2010 report:  6 people dead – see below.   December 2010, a Moosomin woman killed on the Trans Canada in collision with a semi – see below.    I did not include an accident at Saltcoats, also in the vicinity, that killed 3 people.
  2. (Jurisdictions around the world are painfully aware that you cannot mine uranium and ignore that which necessarily accompanies it:  radioactive waste.)  The number of truckloads of radioactive waste (does not include all radioactive materials), between eastern Canada and Saskatchewan (does not include American radioactive waste),   industry estimates:   20,000 truckloads to move the existing waste and 10,000 more truckloads to move the waste that will accumulate between now and the opening of a proposed radioactive waste disposal facility.   Thirty thousand planned truckloads of high-level radioactive waste in Canada alone, along major highways. It is laughable to expect that there will be no accidents.  Moosomin (preceding item)  is only one small portion of the route.
  3. The first misleading statement is that the highways are safe for transporting radioactive materials – they didn’t tell you how many truckloads or the incidence of vehicle collisions – –  half-truths are dangerous).  The second of the misleading statements:   The plans for how local Fire Departments are to get rid of the radioactive materials in the event of an accident during transport:  the Saskatoon Fire Department has been trained to  wear Hazardous Materials (“HazMat”) Suits, and use large fire hoses to flush the radioactive spill off the roadway.  A radioactive spill from a trucking accident in Saskatoon will go down the storm sewer and into the South Saskatchewan River.

The woman from Virginia who urged the Committee to consider “what happens in the real world” as opposed to the rhetoric of Regulations was dead on the mark.

The Trans Canada Highway is the only east-west highway corridor across Canada.  Maybe you were told:  the industry is trying to implement a plan to truck high-level radioactive waste from Ontario and New Brusnwick to northern Saskatchewan for “deep geological disposal”.  Given the shut-down of Yucca Mountain, and statements from the industry internationally about plans to consolidate radioactive waste,  it is likely that the industry also plans to truck the U.S. radioactive waste here to Saskatchewan (if local resistance is unsuccessful).  It is an insane plan that puts thousands of people along transportation corridors and the environment at huge risk.

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DETAILS (1):   Moosomin is on the trucking route, on the Trans Canada Highway near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.   Highway deaths in the vicinity, November 2010 Report,  6 dead.

Global Toronto

Community remembers four Rocanville, Sask. men killed in head on collision Sunday

Sarah Richter, with files from Amanda Ferguson, Global Regina: Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roses lay in the snow where a fatal collision claimed the lives of six people Sunday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Adrian Raaber, Global Regina


The community of Rocanville is dealing with tragedy, following the death of four of their own over the weekend in a head-on collision.

On Sunday afternoon a southbound pick-up truck and a northbound SUV collided head on after the SUV swerved into the southbound lane. The incident happened 12 km north of Moosomin on Highway 8.

According to community members, Riley Grainger, Brody Parker and cousins Cody Wilson and Chad Taylor were killed in the collision.

A 50-year-old woman in the SUV and her 26-year-old son from the Cowessess First Nation were also killed at the scene. The woman’s 23-year-old son survived the collision and is in critical condition in a Regina hospital.

The collision forced both vehicles into the ditch, and the pick-up caught on fire.

“(The truck) did explode and burn on impact and all 4 subjects were pronounced dead on scene,” Sgt. Gord Stewart of the Moosomin RCMP said.

It was a devastating scene for everyone who saw it.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 20 years with the RCMP,” Sgt. Stewart said.

RCMP said it is not known if weather conditions played a factor in the collision, but there was swirling snow on the highway and some areas were snow covered.

The men had a hockey game on Saturday, and they were on their way to the Rocanville arena to retrieve their gear. They planned on heading over to a friend’s house to watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Western Final on television.

Grief councillors were called in to help staff and students cope, which is even more difficult given parents of two of the men were staff at the high school, and another had a parent on town council.

On Monday night, Rocanville community members will congregate at the town’s arena to remember four of their own.

“It’s a small town where everybody knows everybody,” Rocanville High School Principal Brennan Merkosky said. “These guys were a big part of that.”

© Copyright (c) Shaw Media Inc.

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DETAILS (2):    December 2010, one dead after collision on TransCanada Highway.


Moosomin woman dies in highway crash

Last Updated: Friday, December 24, 2010 | 1:25 PM CST

CBC News

RCMP say a woman, 85, was killed in a motor-vehcile crash at Moosomin. (CBC)An 85-year-old woman was killed when her pick-up truck collided with a semi-trailer transport on the Trans-Canada Highway outside Moosomin early Friday.

RCMP said the woman was trying to cross the Trans-Canada at the centre entrance to Moosomin and pulled out in front of the eastbound semi when the collision occurred around 9 a.m. CST.

The driver of the semi, from Innisfail, Ont., was not injured.

The woman, from Moosomin, was taken to hospital where she later died.

The eastbound lane of the Trans-Canada was closed while police investigated. No names were being released pending notification of next-of-kin.

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