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Political fallout from nuclear waste in Darwin

Political fallout from nuclear waste in Darwin harbour

Senator Siewert, 31st August 2005

Senator Rachel Siewert is in Darwin today to support the community in rejecting a national radioactive waste dump in the Northern Territory.

"Who in their right mind wants to see radioactive spent fuel passing through Darwin Harbour?" Senator Siewert asked. "I challenge John Howard to leave his office in Canberra, look people in the eye up here and explain why this decision was made."

Transport of nuclear waste is one of the riskiest stages in the nuclear fuel chain which leads from uranium mining to nuclear waste. The reprocessed waste arriving from France is thousands of times more radioactive than the material which was rejected by the people of South Australia in 2004.

The Federal Government proposes to turn Darwin Harbour into a hub for the movement of nuclear material in and out of the Territory for at least the next 40 years. In addition to the lethal spent fuel shipments, the Federal Government has identified several thousand cubic metres of radioactive waste of many different categories which would also transit the harbour on the way to the dump. Communities along the transport route will be at risk of accident or misadventure.

"Darwin Harbour is an icon," Senator Siewert said, "and we will not stand by and let this happen. The Harbour is the centrepiece of life in this City and is rich in biodiversity."

"It is a purely political calculation that the Howard Government has made to sacrifice the Territory," Senator Siewert said. "I believe this gamble will fail if all Australians rally around the Territory and CLP Senator Nigel Scullion votes with his conscience when this comes before the Senate."

"The Greens are committed to stopping the creation of this waste and leaving it close to the point of production until a safe means of storage is developed."

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