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Australia-France statement on Nuclear Safety a ‘declaration of delusion’

The Australian Government needs to drop the platitudes and commit to the only real nuclear safety policy - the permanent closure of the nuclear industry - in the wake of another accident at a nuclear plant, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens spokesperson for nuclear affairs Senator Scott Ludlam said the Australia-France Joint Statement on Civil Nuclear Safety, issued on September 11th - the day before an explosion rocked the French nuclear plant of Marcoule - was a "declaration of delusion".

"The joint statement is bizarre even without the context of the deadly blast at Marcoule. The statement claims Australia and France ‘promote the responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy', with no mention of the fact France has the third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world, with an estimated 300 operational nuclear warheads, and as recently as 1996 was detonating nuclear weapons in Polynesia," said Senator Ludlam.

"Then there was the claim ‘Australia and France possess world leading research reactor facilities'. If Lucas Heights is a world leading research reactor facility, it is likely the only ‘world leading research reactor' currently the subject of four separate investigations sparked by serious health and safety concerns made public by whistle-blowers. Lucas Heights has been plagued by a series of major technical problems. The OPAL Reactor has been closed a number of times, sometimes for months at a stretch, due to leaks and other flaws."

"The Government claims it ‘consider(s) it important that serious nuclear or radiological events are subject to review by independent fact-finding missions... with results made available publicly', but has refused to disclose what its agencies knew about the Fukushima disaster and when they first knew it, and voted against motions in Parliament calling for disclosure of this information. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing."

"This fudged and evasive joint statement stands in stark contrast to the comprehensive and meticulous report ‘Costs, risks, and myths of nuclear power', a world-wide study by expert NGOs on the implications of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant."

"This Government needs to get serious about nuclear safety. There is only one sure way to make nuclear power safe - shut it down permanently."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302




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