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More Nuclear Materials On The Move

23 January 2001


Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has reitterated the New Zealand Government's strong opposition to nuclear shipments following news that a cargo of spent nuclear fuel from the Lucas Heights research reactor in Sydney is bound for France.

"New Zealand does not want any shipment of nuclear materials to come anywhere near our country, and certainly not into our 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ)," Mr Goff said.

The shipment is highly unlikely to come near New Zealand's EEZ as once it leaves Sydney it heads north to France.

The Minister said "We want proper systems of notification. We expect, as we do with other nations shipping nuclear material, the highest safety standards to apply. We ask that these countries accept full responsibility, including liability and compensation in case of an accident. Those views have been conveyed to the Australian Government."

The Lucas Heights reactor is involved in research in the fields of medicine and health, scientific research, the environment and industry. New Zealand sources radioisotopes from the facility which are used for medical puposes such as the detection and treatment of cancer.

The last such shipment from Australia took place in November 1999.


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