The dangers of the nuclear trade have been exposed again, this time by a storm breaking open containers carrying radioactive uranium oxide concentrate on a cargo ship and forcing it to return to port, said the Australian Greens today.
Greens nuclear affairs spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said that on January 3rd a Canadian cargo ship was hit by a storm off the coast Hawaii while loaded with uranium concentrate U3O8 - also known as yellowcake - bound for China.
The yellowcake was from Saskatoon-based uranium mining company Cameco.
"Several weeks after the spill the company is still working with Canadian regulators to work out how to decontaminate the interior of the ship without exposing workers," said Senator Ludlam. "This is the very same company that notoriously told Traditional Owners in the east Pilbara community of Punmu last year that there was uranium in bananas, and that therefore they should not be worried about their planned Kintyre uranium mine. No doubt they will now tell us that having two shipping containers bust open and spill uranium is nothing to worry about."
Senator Ludlam said accidents, spills and leaks were an inevitable part of the nuclear industry.
"Advocates of nuclear power need to remember that you can't have nuclear power without uranium mining and shipping, and accidents are frequent in the mining and transport of uranium."