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Government Disappointed At Nuclear Shipment

Media Release

Hon Simon Upton

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

23 JULY 1999

"This is very disappointing news" was Simon Upton's reaction to reports that a shipment of mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) from Europe to Japan is likely to travel through the Tasman Sea.

"We have made it very clear to France, Japan and the United Kingdom that this shipment is not welcome anywhere near New Zealand."

The Acting Foreign Minister said that the Government has made diplomatic representations in London, Paris and Tokyo to underline our opposition to any shipments of MOX and other hazardous nuclear materials that might come close to our country. We will continue to press the point. The Prime Minister is raising the issue during her current visit to Tokyo.

Mr Upton said that New Zealand will continue to raise the issue of nuclear transport in appropriate international meetings. We are supportive of the concerns of many Pacific Island states about nuclear shipments that would transit their EEZ's, and we will continue to work closely with them, particularly on the question of compensation for any accident. An interdepartmental watch group of officials is being convened to monitor the MOX shipment.

ENDS


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