World Uranium Symposium concludes a nuclear weapons ban an urgent priority
May 8, 2015
On April 14-16, a number of NGOs and civil society groups hosted the 2015 World Uranium Symposium in Québec City, Canada. The conference examined and discussed the entire nuclear fuel chain, from mining to its various end-stage uses, in light of their health, environmental, economic, and human rights impact. Speakers and experts from civil society, government, industry, research, and indigenous communities attended the conference; there were around 300 participants in total.
The impact of nuclear weapons was one of the featured discussions at the forum. Participants discussed the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons detonation, as well as the environmental damage and human rights violations that often accompany the production of these weapons. Participants noted that the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons is not just an issue in detonation and use, but causes harm along the entire fuel chain. Arielle Denis, ICAN Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the conference was an opportunity to raise awareness of the particular impact of nuclear weapons within an already existing network of uranium-focused campaigners. Denis believes that by the end of the symposium, many participants were more aware of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the urgent need to prohibit and eliminate them.
The Final Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium included a call to action to governments everywhere, urging them to consider the health, and environmental impacts of nuclear weapons. The bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also recognized for their terrible destruction, and the document noted that there is no effective protection against existing nuclear weapons. The declaration calls on all states to “to cease any and all development of nuclear weapon technologies, and to support and advance a legal treaty to ban all nuclear weapons”.