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Greenpeace Presents Evidence On Nuclear Free Zones

16th May 2001, Wellington - Greenpeace has brought John Large from the UK to New Zealand to appear before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee hearings on the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Extension Bill on May 17th. Greenpeace is making submissions in support of the Greens bill to extend New Zealand's nuclear free zone from 12 miles out to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

John Large is an independent nuclear engineer with expertise in the area of the risks and hazards associated with the sea transport of nuclear materials, specifically plutonium MOX. He will be giving evidence to the Committee on the specific risks that an accident involving plutonium MOX fuel poses for both the health of New Zealanders and their environment.

John Large will be suppporting Greenpeace's submission that proposes a legal regime to protect New Zealand's EEZ from the threat posed by the increasing number of nuclear fuel shipments transiting the Tasman en route from Europe to Japan.

During his career John has worked for a number of government agencies including the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Russian Minatom as well as working with NGOs such as Greenpeace. He has consulted on a number of accidents at sea involving nuclear propelled and armed vessels and is currently advising the Gibraltan authorities on the status of the UK nuclear submarine, the Tireless, when a structural design fault forced it to dock in Gibraltar last May.

New Zealand and Australia have no off site emergency plans in place if an accident involving the nuclear fuel shipments, particularly a release of plutonium into the atmosphere, occurred off our coast.

John Large's experience with the nuclear industry spans thirty years and covers most areas from nuclear reactor safety, through to the transport of nuclear materials, nuclear weapons and the decommissioning of facilities.

John Large will appear before the select committee Thursday 17th May, 9.30 in room GOO5, Old Parliament House

He will be in Wellington till Saturday morning, and is available for media interviews.

For further information contact:

Greenpeace communications officer, Brendan Lynch 025 790 817 Nuclear campaigner, Bunny McDiarmid 021 450 339

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