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Howard prioritises uranium exports over security

Howard prioritises uranium exports over global security

The Howard government is set to imperil global security by promoting
The export of uranium to China and India even though such action undermines the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Australian Greens climate change spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said today.

"The Prime Minister was prepared to commit Australian troops to the war in Iraq because of the unproven claim of weapons of mass destruction, yet is prepared to sell uranium to countries with nuclear weapons programmes," Senator Milne said.

"Labor seems set to abandon nuclear non-proliferation as well and no
one will be happier than those in the board room of BHP Billiton," Senator Milne said.

The Coalition and Labor voted down Senator Milne's motion today calling on the government to heed the extensive environmental, economic and social costs of the Chernobyl nuclear accident and stop the promotion of nuclear power as a clean and safe energy option. *

"Federal government ministers are talking up nuclear power because they know they cannot sustain an argument which says that nuclear power is not safe in Australia but is safe for the Indians and the Chinese," Senator Milne said.

Senator Milne was speaking after the release of a report today by peak environment, physicians and public health groups which sets out clearly why claims that nuclear power is a solution to climate change are wrong.

"Nuclear power is neither clean nor cheap, and it cannot make any
serious contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Senator
Milne said.

"To seriously address climate change in Australian and internationally, the federal government needs to abandon its pursuit of uranium and coal,and focus on proven renewable technologies and improve energy efficiency.

"The government could start immediately by increasing the mandatory
renewable energy target and shifting the bias in research funding from coal to clean energy.

"As long as the government insists on pushing nuclear power as a
solution to climate change it delays the measures we must take to solve global warming."

* The text of the motion appears overleaf.

Contact: Katrina Willis 0437 587 562 or 02 6277 3063.

Motion defeated by government and Labor senators

That the Senate -

(a) notes the release of the report "Chernobyl's Legacy:
Health, Environmental and Socio-economic impacts", by the Chernobyl
Forum initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency;

(b) expresses its concern that -

(i) 4,000 people may die from radiation exposure from the accident;
(ii) about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in
children and adolescents at the time of the accident, have resulted from contamination;
(iii) 100,000 people living in the vicinity of the
reactor are still receiving more than the recommended radiation dose limit;
(iv) 784,320 hectares of land have been taken out of agricultural production;
(v) there is still a highly contaminated 30 kilometre zone around the reactor;
(vi) structural elements of the sarcophagus built to contain the damaged reactor have degraded, posing a risk of collapse and the release of radioactive dust;
(vii) a plan to dispose of tonnes of high level radioactive waste at and around Chernobyl has yet to be defined;
(viii) the financial cost of the direct damage, the
recovery and mitigation operations, and indirect economic losses over
the two decades since the accident amounts to hundreds of billions of

(c) calls on the Government to heed the extensive
environmental, economic and social costs of the Chernobyl nuclear
accident and stop the promotion of nuclear power as a clean and safe
energy option.

© Scoop Media

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