New Zealand call for inquiry into Australian uranium shipments
Uranium passing through NZ ports, Sky News October 30, 2011 A Greens MP has called for an inquiry into Australian shipments of radioactive uranium passing through New Zealand waters and ports in breach of its anti-nuclear stance.
Fortnightly shipments of Australian yellowcake uranium, totalling five thousand tonnes annually, are being shipped through New Zealand ports, according to documents provided to the Sunday Star Times by Green MP Gareth Hughes.
The paperwork shows the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) was unaware of the shipments for 13 years, until late 2009.
That agency had since been replaced by the new Environmental Protection Authority, and an EPA spokeswoman told the newspaper that even though ERMA was unaware of the shipments, the regime that permitted them to pass through New Zealand’s ports had still followed international best practice…..
A spokesman for Prime Minister John Key told the Sunday Star Times yellowcake was ‘Australian dirt, which is essentially harmless’…..
Hughes is calling for an independent inquiry, saying the shipments had no place in a nuclear-free country.
‘Why did the authority fail to approve it for so long, do we have adequate safeguards and response strategies, and what role is New Zealand playing in the international nuclear cycle?’ he said. http://www.skynews.com.au/eco/article.aspx?id=679499&vId=