78 African, Caribbean and Pacific Nations call for immediate halt to nuclear shipments

Press release - 19 July, 2002

The armed British nuclear transport ship Pacific Pintail sailing into the Takahama port on the 14/06/02

Japan and the UK were condemned and isolated for their shameful nuclear waste MOX shipment by the 78 nations of the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) Summit in their final Declaration today.

The Nadi Declaration of the Third Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government says:

"We express our strong objection to the transport of nuclear and other hazardous materials through the waters around ACP states. We call for the immediate cessation of such practice, in order to prevent any occurrence of accidents that could seriously threaten their sustainable development and the health of their peoples."

"Greenpeace congratulates and applauds the African Caribbean and Pacific Governments for taking this courageous and strong stance on this issue," said Nuclear campaigner, Angenette Heffernan. "We recognise that many of these countries have donor aid relationships with the shipping nations, but they have gone ahead and expressed their strong opposition, prioritising their concerns over the devastating health and environmental consequences of allowing these shipments to continue. Japan, the UK and Australia can no longer use their aid to force countries into accepting these lethal shipments through their waters."

"This is a huge set-back to British Nuclear Fuels and the Japanese nuclear industry," said Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner, Simon Boxer. "This unequivocal statement by a huge block of nations effectively closes off all their existing shipping routes for nuclear materials. The shipping nations, including Australia, must now recognise that they have to cease their unjustifiable nuclear trade."

Pacific Governments opposed to the shipments are now looking to the Pacific Islands Forum to further their opposition. The Government of Vanuatu has just released a statement, which "condemn(s) future plans to use the Pacific Ocean as a highway for nuclear waste shipments and will be calling on the Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Fiji next month to adopt a stronger position on this critical matter."

"The strong stance taken at this meeting must be translated into effective action at the South Pacific Forum next month," said Heffernan. "The double standards of Australia within the Pacific Islands Forum, as a nuclear waste shipping nation must not be allowed to undermine the resolve of Pacific Island nations at the Forum."

The two ships, Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal, carrying 255 kgs of weapons-usable material were found today by Greenpeace well within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of New Caledonia, at coordinates 20 degrees, 31 minutes South and 163 degrees, 10 minutes East at around 12noon Fiji time [23.22 GMT]. In the last week they have also breached the EEZs of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Solomons, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.