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How Many More Shipments Mr Howard?

Tuesday, 23 January, 2001: In the wake of yesterday's secret transport of nuclear waste Greenpeace today demanded the Howard Government reveal details about future nuclear shipments that will travel by Australia.

The secret transport coincided with confirmation that two armed vessels carrying plutonium (MOX) fuel would travel from Europe to Japan via southern Australia, the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific next month.

The French, British and Japanese companies shipping the highly radioactive material confirmed the route.

"All of these nuclear shipments are occurring without the consent of communities involved," said Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Stephen Campbell.

"The New Zealand Government has expressed its strong concern about this plutonium transport and Pacific countries have strongly opposed past shipments. This leaves the Howard Government alone in the region in its support of nuclear transports."

A flotilla of yachts from Australia and New Zealand, including Greenpeace cutter Tiama that participated in last night's actions on Botany Bay, will sail into the north-west Tasman where the plutonium freighter is expected to pass. The Nuclear-Free Tasman Flotilla, which includes people involved in the Moruroa peace flotilla of 1995, has assembled to protest plutonium shipments through the Tasman and South Pacific.

Increasing nuclear shipments past Australia include:
· Spent nuclear fuel shipments from Lucas Heights to France.
· A plutonium/MOX nuclear fuel shipment which will travel through the Tasman Sea in February 2001.
· A second plutonium/MOX nuclear fuel shipment through the region later in 2001.
· Nuclear waste returns from France to Australia due in the next few years.
· 40 years of spent nuclear fuel shipments if a new nuclear reactor is built at Lucas Heights.

"The increasing traffic of nuclear materials that is being approved and facilitated by the Australian Government is an international disgrace," said Campbell.

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