NGOs united in opposition to uranium mining and nuclear power

Press release - 19 April, 2011
Sydney, Australia — A coalition of 27 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) is today releasing a joint statement reaffirming our united opposition to the nuclear industry. The statement has been endorsed by leading national environmental and public health NGOs, all state conservation councils, and key climate change action groups and networks.

Dr Jim Green from the Choose Nuclear Free project said: "Environmental, public health and climate change groups call on political parties to seriously combat global warming by adopting policies to support the rapid expansion of the renewable energy sector and energy efficiency. We reject nuclear power as it is dirty, dangerous and distracts attention and resources away from existing effective, safe and affordable solutions to climate change."

The group statement also expresses concern about the mismanagement of Australia's radiaoctive waste. Dr Bill Williams, President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War, said: "The federal government's National Radioactive Waste Management Bill 2010 suspends the application of key Indigenous and environmental protections and overrides all state/territory laws. The Bill upholds the strongly contested nomination of a dump site at Muckaty in the Northern Territory − currently the subject of legal action in the Federal Court initiated by Muckaty Traditional Owners."

"The current debate around nuclear is a serious distraction, when there are so many problems with the technology" said Greenpeace Head of Campaigns, Stephen Campbell. "Australia is a country with enormous potential for renewable energy. Nuclear is unsafe, dirty and expensive. Many countries around the world are far in advance of Australia in deploying renewables, and the few nuclear new-builds are massively over-budget and behind schedule."

Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Chair of the Board of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, is promoting the construction of 50 nuclear power reactors in Australia. Over a 50-year lifespan, 50 reactors would:

* produce 75,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste;

* produce 750,000 cubic metres of low level waste and intermediate level waste;

* produce 750 tonnes of plutonium;

* be responsible for 1.8 billion tonnes of low level radioactive tailings waste (assuming the uranium comes from the Olympic Dam mine); and

* be responsible for 430,000 tonnes of depleted uranium waste, a by-product of uranium enrichment.

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