Labor-Liberal coalition refuses to study dangers of uranium transport
Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 29 November 2012.
Labor and the Coalition stood united today in their strenuous effort to completely ignore the dangers posed by uranium mining and transport.
Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the major parties “defied logic and decency” by refusing to support an inquiry into the uranium industry moved by the Greens in the Senate today.
“With no fewer than three states pushing for uranium mining we need an inquiry into the existing laws governing the industry; yet the major parties studiously keep their heads in the sand.
“You’d assume Labor and the Coalition would want to know if our regulations properly protect the public from radiation exposure from uranium oxide transport – but it appears that’s not the case.
“You’d assume Labor and the Coalition would have an interest in the preparedness of regional emergency contingency planning and training services – to ensure we are ready if there’s a uranium accident – but we now know they don’t.
“You’d assume Labor and the Coalition would be curious about the frequency and severity of transport and handling accidents involving uranium oxide – but they would prefer to hear no evil and see no evil.
“The history of uranium mining in Australia is long and sordid; littered with accidents, leaks, near misses, and scandals. With the Tory governments of Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland charging down this blind alley, we need an inquiry into this dangerous industry – but Labor and the Coalition would rather remain in blissful ignorance.”
Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302
That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2013:
The role, adequacy and effectiveness of government regulation of uranium oxide transport, including:
a. the mitigation of public radiation exposure from uranium oxide transport;
b. the evaluation of the frequency and severity of transport and handling accidents including the 27 December 2011 train derailment resulting in toxic copper concentrate flowing into the Edith River;
c. the process of issuing and auditing compliance with transport radiation management plans;
d. the resourcing and conduct of transport related aspects of nuclear actions referred under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC);
e. the preparedness and resourcing of regional emergency contingency planning, education and training services;
f. the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency Codes, including the Code of Practice for Safe Transport of Radioactive Material;
g. the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office regulation of the transportation of nuclear material and issuance and auditing of compliance with transport permits;
h. other relevant related matters.