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Greens welcome the closure of Japan’s last reactor

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 7 May 2012

Japan has closed down the Tomari nuclear plant in Hokkaido, the final reactor to close in response to the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

"The people of Japan have stopped believing the lies told to them for decades about nuclear power being clean, cheap and safe," said Senator Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens spokesperson on nuclear policy.

"The catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, fuelled by Australian uranium in each of the reactors, has been the most devastating way for the Japanese to realise that nuclear is the most dangerous and expensive way to spin a turbine.

"The disaster had a start date but no end: the coming generation will inherit the debt and contamination at Fukushima Daiichi, which continues to pour radiation into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean.

"The Australian Greens are particularly concerned about the possible collapse of the Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool. This pool contains Cesium-137 equivalent to ten times the amount released by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies at the Fukushima Daiichi plant sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes.

"While the people of Japan grapple with losing the use of three per cent of its land area, desperate profiteers such as Greg Hall of Toro Energy relish the prospect of Japan reopening its nuclear facilities because that will help revive world uranium prices.

"Toro wants to mine uranium in Wiluna, Western Australia, and elsewhere. It's a company with no proven experience of operating a mine, sitting on a small low-grade deposit hosted in calcrete, which is notoriously difficult to process, remote from transport and port infrastructure. This high cost, high risk gamble is politically unpopular, and in a declining international market. With that fatal catalogue of downside risks, Hall is telling the ASX that the nuclear fuel market has a future. Today's closure at Tomari reminds us it does not."

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