Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Safety concerns on nuclear-powered vessels persist


Safety concerns about nuclear-powered vessels persist

THE NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL JOURNAL

Vol 117 No 1196 ISSN 1175 8716

NZMJ 18 June 2004, Vol 117 No 1196 Page 1 of 2

URL: http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/117-1196/942/ © NZMA

Safety concerns about nuclear-powered vessels persist New Zealand's major opposition political party has released a discussion paper on improving the relationship between New Zealand and the United States.1 One key aspect of the paper considers changing New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation by dropping the section banning nuclear-propelled vessels (section 11).

However, the safety concerns around nuclear-propelled vessels are glossed over by this discussion paper. For example, it does not consider reports of past radiation releases by the US nuclear navy (eg, involving the USS Guardfish and the USS Nimitz2). Also ignored are recent accidents involving US nuclear submarines, including the collision of the USS Greeneville with a fishing vessel3 and the grounding of the USS Hartford on the Italian coast in 2003.4 Fortunately, none of these events have had major consequences, but the potential for such an event cannot be ignored given the inherent safety limitations of complex and tightly coupled technologies such as nuclear power.5

Even the grounding of a nuclear-powered vessel could still have serious implications for the country's trade and tourism-which could then have downstream health impacts if the economy was disrupted.

A new consideration that is not mentioned in the discussion paper is the potential for terrorist attacks on shipping. There have been such attacks on US naval vessels (eg, the USS Cole in Yemen6) and on other shipping (eg, on the Limburg, a French oil tanker7).

It is therefore of concern that this discussion paper, which could ultimately become government policy, does not have an appropriate evidence base. Surely, it is time for New Zealanders to demand of their politicians a higher standard of policy analysis, and to make sure that the potential health impacts of policies are appropriately considered.

Dr Nick Wilson

Chairperson, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) New Zealand Branch)

References:

1. New Zealand National Party Taskforce. The Relationship between New Zealand and the

United States. Wellington: New Zealand National Party; May 2004.

2. Arkin WM, Handler JM. Nuclear disasters at sea, then and now. Bulletin of the Atomic

Scientists 1989; (July/August): 20-24. Available online. URL:

http://www.prop1.org/2000/accident/1989/8907a1.htm Accessed June 2004.

3. BBC. US completes sub collision inquiry. BBC News Online, 14 April, 2001. Available

online. URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1276594.stm Accessed June 2004.

4. Owen R. US nuclear sub ran aground off Italian coast. The Times, 12 November; 2003.

5. Perrow C. Normal Accidents: Living with high-risk technologies. New York: Basic Books;

1984.

NZMJ 18 June 2004, Vol 117 No 1196 Page 2 of 2

URL: http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/117-1196/942/ © NZMA

6. BBC. Yemen attack highly 'sophisticated'. BBC News Online, 23 October 2000. Available

online. URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/985824.stm Accessed June 2004.

7. BBC. TNT found in stricken Yemen tanker. BBC News Online, 11 October 2002. Available

online. URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2320893.stm Accessed June 2004.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages