Analysis on the Working Condition at Port Radium Mine and Radiation Exposure to Uranium Transporters

Junran Xu

Abstract


This research paper describes how the handling of radioactive ore by indigenous transporters in Canada for the Manhattan Project of the United States in the early-mid 20th century has affected the health of the indigenous population of the time. These Sahtu Dene people resided in Déline, NWT, Canada and from the 1930s through 1940s were hired to carry cloth sacks of radioactive ore at Port Radium, NWT without appropriate personal protective equipment. This resulted in the spreading of radioactive contamination to the transporters as well as their families and community. In this report, we estimate the radiation exposure of a uranium ore transporter and analyzed the corresponding health effects. The objective of this investigation is to reconstruct the dosage received by Dene uranium transporters in the early-mid 20th century. Specifically, this research paper includes information on the uranium supply for the Manhattan Project, possible hazards from transporting radioactive material without proper protective equipment, and a quantitative estimation of radioactive exposure received by an average indigenous transporter. The information presented in this paper aims to provide readers with knowledge of nuclear history and indigenous health history related to this event.

Cet article de recherche décrit comment la manipulation du minerai radioactif par les transporteurs indigènes au Canada pour le Projet Manhattan des États-Unis au début du 20e siècle a affecté la santé de la population autochtone de l’époque. Ces personnes de Premières Nations, qui résidaient à Déline, dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest au Canada, ont été embauchées entres les années 1930 et 1940 pour transporter des sacs en tissu de minerai radioactif à Port Radium, dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest, sans équipement de protection approprié. Cela a entraîné la propagation de contaminants radioactifs aux transporteurs, ainsi qu’à leurs familles et à leurs communautés. Ce rapport fournit une estimation de la quantité de rayonnement auquel un transporteur moyen a été exposé et analyse ses effets sur la santé. Ces risques pour la santé prévus ont ensuite été comparés aux statistiques rapportées dans le rapport de la Commission canadienne de l’uranium de Déline. L’objectif de cette enquête est de comprendre l’impact de la manipulation du minerai radioactif au début du 20e siècle sur la santé de la population autochtone. Plus précisément, ce document de recherche comprend des informations sur l’approvisionnement en uranium du projet Manhattan, les risques possibles liés au transport de matières radioactives sans équipement de protection approprié et une estimation quantitative de l’exposition radioactive que le transporteur indigène moyen a reçue. L’information présentée dans cet article vise à fournir des connaissances sur l’histoire de la santé nucléaire et autochtone liée à cet événement. 


Keywords


Port Radium; Déline; uranium transporter; radiation exposure; Indigenous health.

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13034/jsst.v10i1.172

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