Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Accident shows uranium shipments must be banned

Nuclear accident shows uranium shipments must be banned

The nuclear accident in Japan today was at a plant likely to have produced the plutonium fuel shipped past New Zealand recently and shows why the shipments must be banned, the Green Party says.

Environmental levels of radiation were 15,000 times above the normal level 1.2 kilometres from the plant, and 55 people have received acute doses of radiation after a critical chain reaction occurred. The plant reprocesses spent reactor fuel from Europe and the United States and manufactures plutonimium and uranium oxide fuel for European power plants. Shipments between Europe and Japan sail through the Tasman Sea past New Zealand.

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said there would be serious health problems in the area for many years.

"The 55 people seriously ill, some of whom are likely to die eventually from radiation sickness, are just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds, and possibly thousands, more people are likely to die of cancers and birth malformations over the next 20 years - just as is expected to happen at Chernobyl," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"This is another reminder of how wise our anti-nuclear decision was in 1984."

A Green Party resolution condemning the shipments from Europe through the Tasman Sea was unanimously approved by Parliament last month.

New Zealand should now be taking an active approach to reduce the nuclear threat worldwide, said Ms Fitzsimons.

"We should start by exercising some leadership at the South Pacific Forum this month and try to get a unanimous position from the Forum that we oppose those shipments coming through the South Pacific.

"Parliament should also pass my Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill which has been in the ballot for nearly three years. It would ban such shipments from New Zealand's 200 mile economic zone to protect our fisheries and our environment."

The reprocessed fuel produced at this plant is weapons-usable so the technology carries the extra risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

"This technology is not just a threat to Japan, which is carrying the can for treating other countries' wastes. It is a threat to the whole world, and to future generations for many centuries. It is not necessary and it should stop."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news