BHP Billiton risking an unnecessary nuclear exposure

The nuclear plans of the world’s biggest miner will be under the spotlight with ACF set to quiz the Board of BHP Billiton at the company’s annual meeting in Adelaide.

ACF will question the Board of BHP Billiton at their AGM about corporate and shareholder exposure to nuclear risks through proposed expansion of uranium exports from the Olympic Dam mine – 560km north of Adelaide.

David Noonan, ACF Nuclear Free Campaigner, says BHP Billiton faces significant risks to corporate reputation and to shareholder interests in proposed uranium exports including the potential for off shore processing of a radioactive copper concentrate to China from the major Olympic Dam mine expansion.

ACF will question how BHP can effectively manage the risks associated with the high level nuclear waste and plutonium being proposed to be produced in nuclear reactors in China using uranium from Olympic Dam.

“These nuclear risks are increased in the case of China, a country which lacks the conventional transparency and accountability standards that we take for granted in developed countries,” said Noonan.

“BHP Billiton talk of ‘product stewardship’ for uranium but has not seriously addressed their responsibility and exposure to increasing nuclear proliferation and insecurity, the threat of nuclear terrorism, ongoing risk of nuclear accidents and the unresolved global issue of nuclear waste management,” he added.

“ACF is urging the Board of BHP Billiton to prepare a plan for the Olympic Dam mine expansion that protects shareholders’ interests by avoiding nuclear risks and retaining all uranium and radioactive wastes on site rather than irresponsibly spreading it around the globe.”

“Nuclear safeguards offer little more than an illusion of protection. We owe more to our neighbours in the developing world than to profit off their nuclear exposure,” said Noonan.