Stop plans to build small nuclear reactors in Saskatchewan to power oil extraction from the Alberta Tar Sands.
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This petition has been created by Warren B. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Peter MacKinnon, President of the University of Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchwan Board of Governors
The Saskatchewan government and nuclear industry – with public and corporate money “laundered” through the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) – plan to build a small nuclear reactor to power extraction of oil from the Alberta Tar Sands.
When elected in 2007, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (his Saskatchewan Party is ideologically tied to Harper’s federal Conservatives) created the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP), chaired by one of the U of S vice-presidents. With industry support from Bruce Power (nuclear reactors) and its majority shareholders, Cameco (uranium mining) and TransCanada Corporation (the Keystone pipeline), the UDP pushed to establish a nuclear program at the University.
Public consultations in 2009 gave a resounding 88% “NO” to this nuclear agenda , but the government/corporate/university consortium have used the U of S to bypass this overwhelming expression of public opinion. The Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) was announced in March 2011 with $30 million of Government funding over 7 years. Its first goal is to build a prototype small nuclear reactor on campus. In August 2011 the Government and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd announced another $10 million towards that objective.
Current U of S President MacKinnon and Board of Governors Chair Nancy Hopkins have been deeply involved in this project. Hopkins owns nearly $2 million in Cameco investments and is a paid Cameco director ($175,872 in 2009). MacKinnon accepted an all-expenses-paid trip to Cameco’s northern operations and exclusive lodge in 2009, at the peak of the public debate about the UDP report.
But MacKinnon retires from the U of S on June 30. We must send a clear message to his successor, Ilene Busch-Vishniac, to step off this destructive path.
Brad Wall’s government has starved the University of essential funding – U of S has an accumulated $90 million debt. Existing infrastructure is crumbling. New buildings on campus can’t open. And the $40 million for the CCNI and related nuclear projects won’t help U of S out of this crisis.
The University of Saskatchewan, founded in 1907, was once proudly called “the people’s university” – set in the heartland of the Canadian cooperative movement, home to Tommy Douglas, the greatest Canadian, the father of Medicare. Today the University has become an easy target for corporate takeover and a tool for the nuclear and petroleum industries. But right now we have a chance to stop this from happening.