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Clock ticking on Howard’s nuclear agenda

The Federal Government push to expand Australia’s uranium industry has contributed to the global nuclear ‘Doomsday Clock’ ticking closer to midnight.

The prestigious Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which introduced the clock concept in 1947 to convey the perils of the nuclear age, will today move the hands (now set at 11:53pm) closer to midnight.

In its 60 years the Doomsday Clock has become a widely recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to nuclear risks.

“Today the world faces as great a nuclear threat as when Kennedy and Krushchev locked horns over Cuba,” said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“This is not the time to sell uranium to China, India or any other nation with nuclear weapons programs or aspirations, or to talk up domestic nuclear power.”

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists identified the push for more civil nuclear power programs as a factor contributing to its concern about nuclear weapons proliferation.

“There are clear, proven and continuing links between many nations’ civil and military nuclear programs,” said Dave Sweeney.

“Every gram of exported Australian uranium ends up as nuclear waste and has the potential to fuel nuclear weapons. Half a century into the nuclear experiment, no country has found a way to dispose of nuclear waste or deal with its unique security, human and environmental hazards.

“Unlike nuclear weapons and waste, Australia’s nuclear safeguards are not foolproof –- nor are they permanent.

“The clock is ticking on the government’s atomic agenda. The disturbing and destabilising reality of the nuclear trade must be highlighted and halted.”