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Aust. confirms uranium mining & enrichment agenda

Minchin confirms uranium mining and enrichment agenda: Greens

Government Senate leader Nick Minchin today exposed the Howard government's real agenda in its pursuit of a nuclear review, Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said.

"Australians are now closer to the truth about the Howard Government's agenda in establishing an inquiry into Australia's nuclear industry after Senator Minchin's admission that nuclear power would only be competitive if the government taxed coal and gas generators out of existence - which it has no intention of doing," Senator Milne said in Canberra.*

"Having dumped on the economics of nuclear power, Senator Minchin confirmed that expanded uranium mining and enrichment were firmly in the government's sights.

"It's time the Prime Minister stopped misleading the Australian people and dropped the pretence that his nuclear inquiry is about electrical energy for Australia. He should come clean and admit that his agenda is about expanded uranium mining, enrichment, leasing nuclear fuel and high-level waste dumps in Australia.

"It's clear that the Howard ministry is totally ill-prepared and uninformed when it comes to nuclear power reactors, with Minister

Ellison making the absurd statement that nuclear reactors are no more of a terrorist target than a rail network or an electricity grid.

"Senator Ellison should tell that to the Americans. In 2004 the US
Union of Concerned Scientists published a study concluding that an attack on the Indian Point nuclear plant, 50km from New York, could result in 44,000 near-term deaths from acute radiation syndrome and as many as 518,000 long-term deaths from cancer among individuals within 80km of the plant.

"If the Howard government were serious about nuclear power generation its ministers would have had serious briefings and a consistent line.
The fact that they haven't demonstrates that they expect to jettison nuclear power at the first opportunity and adopt the mining, enrichment and waste dump option instead."

Senator Minchin was responding to a question without notice from
Senator Milne.

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