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Government Assisting Expansion Of Nuclear Power

Government assisting expansion of nuclear power - Greens

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the New Zealand Government was indirectly supporting the proliferation of nuclear power generation in many of the world's developing nations.

Under the Kyoto Protocol signatory nations can offset their greenhouse gas emissions through investing in 'clean development mechansims' such as solar and wind power and energy efficiency measures in third world and developing nations.

This is designed to help poor nations develop without contributing further to climate change.

Japan, the USA and Australia are arguing for investments in nuclear power stations in developing countries to be included as 'clean development mechanisms' under the Protocol, as nuclear power does not emit CO2.

In the House today Jeanette Fitzsimons asked Energy Minister Pete Hodgson whether New Zealand was strongly opposing the inclusion of nuclear power in the rules of the Kyoto Protocol as a clean development mechanism. The Government could give no such assurance.

"The Green Party are very disappointed that we are not using our influence to ensure the Protocol does not further nuclearise the world," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"But this year's negotiations are about setting the rules and rules are when countries all agree to be bound by certain conditions," she said. "It is quite appropriate for us to press for rules which prevent the developing nations being saddled with all the risks and dangers of nuclear power and waste."

Ms Fitzsimons said the whole European Union and the Association of Small Island States were actively opposing the qualification of nuclear power as a clean development mechanism for poorer nations and New Zealand should be too.

"Germany and Sweden have agreed on timetables to phase out nuclear power. It is totally inappropriate for New Zealand to support other developed countries which are trying to shed their obligations to reduce CO2 emissions by foisting this 'far from clean' technology onto developing countries," she said.

"We trade on our clean, green image which is largely due to our international reputation as an opponent of nuclear power. This negotiating stance will damage our trade, our tourism and our reputation."

Ends

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