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Chernobyl anniversary a reminder of the true costs of the uranium trade

On the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster the Australian Conservation Foundation has called for a halt to uranium exports and a national debate on the full costs and consequences of Australia’s uranium trade.

On 26 April 1986 deadly radiation spewed from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, damaging and destroying lives, landscapes and hopes across Europe.

This year’s continuing nuclear emergency at the Fukushima reactor complex in Japan further highlights the high cost and high risks of the nuclear trade and Australia’s direct involvement as a uranium supplier.

“On the anniversary of Chernobyl and in the shadow of Fukushima it is no time for the fiction of business-as-usual, rather it is time for a genuine debate and an independent assessment of the true costs of our involvement in this trade,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Australia was a major producer of asbestos until we decided the human and environmental costs were too high and adopted cleaner alternatives. Uranium is the asbestos of the 21st Century – our energy future is renewable not radioactive.”

ACF is urging the government to stop selling uranium and engage in a national debate about whether Australia should continue to play host to this industry that leaves leaking tailings dams at home and fuels leaking reactors overseas.

Specifically, ACF has called on the Federal Government to:

  • Grant no further approvals to Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine in Kakadu
  • Not approve any uranium projects in Western Australia and Queensland, where there are no commercial mines and no bi-partisan political support for uranium mining
  • Grant no further uranium sales agreements
  • Ensure BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam project keeps its uranium product and other radioactive mine waste on site and sells only non-radioactive minerals.

Stop our uranium fuelling the next nuclear crisis