By Alun Richards, AREVA Resources Canada
There has been a lot of discussion around the world about the nuclear renaissance and how it would be fueled.
AREVA, for example, has been exploring for and mining uranium for about 40 years in northern Saskatchewan Canada. A very high level of support for our industry has developed in Saskatchewan. For example, over 80% of the public supports uranium mining, over 70% would like to have nuclear reactors considered, and 83% would like to see a research/isotope reactor in the province. This support is based in decades of operating in a socially responsible manner and provided very high levels of environmental protection.
Aside from the scores of ongoing environmental monitoring programs, AREVA is intensively involved with the local, primarily aboriginal communities in northern Saskatchewan where the mines are located. The Environmental Quality Committee, made up of representatives of the northern communities, review uranium mining activities and communicate their views to government regulators as well as to their own neighbours. One group of communities manages its own independent environmental monitoring program, funded by the industry, to ensure there are no impacts from uranium mining. This program has been ongoing for almost a decade, giving a high level of comfort to residents of the north.
Local hiring, contracting and purchasing all help to support uranium mining as being part of positive economic, social and environmental development in northern Saskatchewan.