Australian news, and some related international items

ACF calls on Australian government to stop selling uranium for nuclear weapons

Chernobyl anniversary: Time for Australian government action on uranium, 28 April 12,  On the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident the Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the federal government to improve nuclear safety and stop literally fuelling nuclear insecurity.

On 26 April 1986, a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in the Ukraine melted down and spewed radioactive materials across Europe and beyond. The human, environmental and economic impacts of the accident were profound and continue.

“Chernobyl literally exploded the myth of the ‘peaceful atom’ and caused many nations to reconsider the risks and costs of nuclear power,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“On the anniversary of Chernobyl and in the continuing shadow of Fukushima it is important Australia also reviews and reconsiders the costs and consequences of our involvement in the global nuclear trade as a significant supplier of uranium – the basic fuel for both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.”

Last year it was confirmed in the federal Parliament that Australian uranium was in the failed Fukushima reactor and is now causing contamination in Japan.  However the federal government has failed to act on calls – including from the UN Secretary General – to review the industry.

ACF has called for the federal government to learn from Chernobyl and Fukushima and:

  • ·         Commission an independent assessment of the environmental and social impacts of uranium mining in Australia (as recommended in the UN review into the Fukushima crisis)
  • ·         Stop selling uranium to nuclear weapon states pending an independent review of importing countries’ compliance with international disarmament obligations
  • ·         Strengthen international and multi-lateral initiatives by including specific performance requirements and review mechanisms in new and existing Agreements and contracts

“Uranium is the asbestos of the 21st Century: like asbestos, the product works, but at too high a cost – and like asbestos Australia will one day stop mining and supplying it. In the meantime we need to step up to our responsibilities and review and address the impacts of the uranium trade. To fail to do so is to fail to learn from the lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima and to fail to stop the next nuclear disaster,” Mr Sweeney said.

April 28, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium |

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