The Australian and Northern Territory Greens have condemned the call from NT Country Liberal Party members for CLP leaders to abandon their opposition to the Angela Pamela (AP) uranium project.
At the Country Liberals Central Council meeting on the weekend, CLP members backed a motion calling on its leaders to support uranium exploration and mining applications and, worse still, to promote them.
Greens spokesperson for nuclear affairs, Senator Scott Ludlam, said the CLP party was demanding its MPs back flip on a promise made at the time of the Araluen by-election to oppose the uranium mine planned for Alice Springs.
"The CLP took a strong position opposing AP during the Araluen by-election campaign and now the party wants to throw that out the window." Senator Ludlam said. "Alice Springs residents have made the case that uranium mining devastates the environment, contaminates groundwater and is dangerous to mine and transport for workers and local residents."
A spokesperson for the Northern Territory Greens, Lisa Hall, said the majority of locals strongly and actively oppose the AP project.
"The Greens remain the only major party to oppose all uranium mining, as well as the Commonwealth nuclear waste dump bill soon to be debated in Federal Parliament with the aim of placing a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station," she said.
Senator Ludlam said the CLP motion revealed the Party's true stance on uranium mining.
"A vote for the CLP in the 2012 Territory election will not only almost certainly mean the AP mine in Alice Springs will go ahead, it will be a vote for unrestrained uranium mining in the Northern Territory," he said. "The CLP leadership must make their position clear now."
Uranium mines are at risk of seeping radioactive material into groundwater as heavy rainfall can lead to material escaping from containment sumps. In 2009 a government scientist confirmed the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park was leaking 100,000 litres of contaminated water into the ground beneath the park on a daily basis. There have been more than 150 leaks, spills, and license breaches at Ranger since it opened in 1981.
In 2002 there was a leak of 62,000 litres of radioactive fluid at Beverley mine followed by a separate leak of 6000 litres of a uranium-bearing brine solution. That same year a leak at Olympic Dam in South Australia released more than 420,000 litres of uranium mining slurry.
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