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Australia does not need nuclear power

Australia does not need nuclear power

The Australian Greens today rejected Prime Minister John Howard's contention that nuclear power might be 'desirable' for Australia and challenged the government to show true leadership on climate change and nuclear non-proliferation.

Australian Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Senator
Christine Milne said Prime Minister Howard was playing politics by floating the idea and testing public opinion before developing a government position, just as he had done on immigration.

"Instead of pandering to US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair - the two most unpopular leaders in the world today – Prime Minister Howard should demonstrate real leadership and put some authenticity into the government's response to climate change and terrorism," Senator Milne said in Hobart.

"Nuclear power and nuclear proliferation are a threat to both."

Senator Milne challenged advocates of nuclear power to explain what they intend to do about nuclear waste, how large a public subsidy they are prepared to pay to prop up nuclear power, and why the UK Sustainable Development Commission was wrong when it recommended last month against expanding nuclear power in Britain.

"Australians have already had to subsidise uranium mining companies to clean up after mines have closed, while last week's Budget papers revealed that ANTSO can't estimate the cost of decommissioning the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor," Senator Milne said.

"When will advocates of nuclear power admit that it is too slow, too expensive and too dangerous to be a solution to climate change? Nor is there any safe way to dispose of the waste. It is not even safe to transport, a concern supported by the head of the International Energy Agency Claude Mandil.

"It is sad to see Tony Blair using his last days as Prime Minister to be a mouthpiece for the nuclear power industry that his own Sustainable Development Commission has rejected as an answer to climate change and energy security.*

"Instead of turning to nuclear power, Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, invest in renewable energy, adopt a national energy efficiency target and improve public transport.

"Several studies examining options to achieve deep cuts in Australian greenhouse emissions all show this goal can be achieved, cost effectively, without resorting to nuclear power."

The report of the UK Sustainable Development Commission can be read at:

http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/060306.html

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