Fukushima silence must end at last

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Fukushima silence must end at last

Media Release: Senator Scott Ludlam, Wednesday September 21st, 2011

The Australian Greens today called for the Senate to finally break the silence around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in the shadow of tomorrow’s high level United Nations meeting on nuclear safety and security.

The Greens nuclear affairs spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, moved an Urgency Motion in the Senate calling for a genuine discussion of the implications of the disaster and Australia’s involvement in the meeting at UN headquarters in New York.

“The IAEA and Japanese authorities have done medical tests on children in three towns near Fukushima. 45 per cent of those surveyed – children up to 15 years old – have had thyroid exposure. Radioactive iodine is something to which children and babies are much more susceptible. Tests on products such as spinach, tea, milk and fish 360 kilometres from the plant show contamination from iodine and caesium.”

“The situation in Japan is dire and no amount of PR spin from the nuclear industry – including uranium mining companies – will convince the Japanese people and people around the world otherwise.”

Senator Ludlam said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said nuclear risks must be re-evaluated when he announced the September 22nd meeting.

“The states strongly invested in nuclear power tried to pressure the Secretary General on this issue, but he stuck to his guns and last week released a study on the implications of the Fukushima disaster. Despite being coordinated by the IAEA – which promotes the use of nuclear power – the study still acknowledged the severity of Fukushima and the threat of international nuclear incidents, the inadequacy of current threat assessments and mitigation planning, the long term impacts of nuclear accidents and radiation release and a series of other problems plaguing the sector.”

Senator Ludlam said the Government had dodged a series of questions about what Australian authorities knew about the extent of the disaster and when they knew it and needed to make amends by taking a serious role in tomorrow’s meeting.

“Nuclear power is deadly, costly and redundant. Technological powerhouses like Germany and Switzerland are leading the way in abandoning it. The Government must decide; Will Australia show leadership on this issue or stay shackled to supporting a moribund and toxic industry?”

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

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