Australian news, and some related international items

“The disaster has not gone away”: Sydney to commemorate Fukushima anniversary

This Sunday March 11 marks one year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan triggered a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. The reactors are still not under control and over 100 000 people remain ‘radiation refugees’ displaced from the area.

Events are planned around Australia and the world to mark the anniversary of the tragedy and call for an end to uranium mining and nuclear power. In Sydney a commemoration event will be held on Sunday March 11, 3-6pm at the Tom Mann Theatre (136 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills), with speakers and high-profile music and performance (see full details below).

A keynote speaker will be Peter Watts, an Arabunna man from the Lake Eyre region in South Australia. Mr Watts is co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and has recently returned from addressing an 11 000 strong conference in Japan about the effects of the Olympic Dam uranium mine on Arabunna country.

“Going to Japan, meeting the people and hearing first hand what happened after the Fukushima accident made me realise how serious this problem can ultimately be. We have to appeal to humanity. Uranium is dangerous and here we are selling it like its cheese”.

“The whole nuclear industry is fed on lies and deceit, trying to look good, offering a handful of jobs, but draining our country dry by using all of the water. We are digging up uranium knowing it’s unsafe and poisonous. My patience is over; we have to deal with it right now. We are up against a monster but we are not going to stop fighting,” Mr Watts said.

Event organiser Yukiko Hirano founded the Sydney Rainbow Stay Project, which brought school children from the Fukushima region to Australia for respite after the accident.

“The Government tells us that ‘progress has been made’ at the Fukushima nuclear plant. But this is only on the surface. Deep in the heart of those affected, the disaster has not gone away. For some, recovery will take more than new buildings. For some, the trauma continues.”

“Their whole life, their history, their relatives, their belongings, their future, their land, the graves of their ancestors, all wiped away. While it is right to look to the future, to go forward, there are those who ask, to where it is they must go? Where is safe?”

Mrs Hirano continued, “The problems started by an earthquake have revealed more problems, problems that are not caused by nature. That is why we are holding this ceremony, to show our support for the people of Fukushima and all who suffered due to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. And to thank all those who have and continue to help victims of the disaster”.

Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative added, “It has been confirmed that uranium from Australia was present in all of the Fukushima reactors. The tragedy and toxicity continues, yet Premier O’Farrell is putting dollar signs ahead of danger signs and advocating uranium mining in New South Wales.

“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can-and must- stop the threat of more nuclear accidents. Community sentiment against uranium mining in NSW runs very deep. We are joining this international day of remembrance and action to support people battling the nuclear industry around the world and to ensure that uranium from Australia does not fuel any more Fukushima’s.” Contact: Peter Watts,0432 483 066 | Yukiko Hirano,0414 758 295 | Natalie Wasley,0429 900 774

March 8, 2012 - Posted by | General News

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