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Goff Condemns Latest Nuclear Waste Shipment

18 January 2001

GOFF CONDEMNS LATEST NUCLEAR WASTE SHIPMENT


The New Zealand Government has expressed its very strong concern at news a shipment of nuclear waste is to leave France for Japan.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff says New Zealand and other Pacific states do not want these shipments coming through the Pacific region. "The South Pacific prides itself on its nuclear-free status. The countries along the possible shipment routes are innocent bystanders," said Mr Goff.

"The Government calls on the British and French companies undertaking this latest shipment to adhere to the highest possible safety standards. The overwhelming public support for our anti-nuclear laws illustrates the extent to which New Zealanders want nothing to do with these dangerous cargoes," he said.

The Minister says it is of great concern that while the nations which ship waste claim they have safeguards in place, they continue to refuse to accept complete liability in the event of an accident. Mr Goff says what makes this shipment of extra concern is that it is of mixed uranium and plutonium oxide fuel (MOX) which it is theoretically possible to be converted into nuclear weapons.

The shipment is unlikely to go through New Zealand's exclusive economic zone as assurances that this would not occur have been sought and given in the past.

ENDS

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