The Australian Greens will today move in the Senate to ban future nuclear waste dumps in the Northern Territory.
Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam will introduce legislation to repeal the Howard government's Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 and is hopeful the Rudd Government will fulfil its election promise and support the move.
"The Greens will be pushing to protect the Northern Territory and particularly indigenous communities like Muckaty near Tennant Creek, which may well get a nuclear waste dump unless this despicable law is repealed."
"At the last election, Labor supported repealing the legislation - so it is time to act on that promise."
Senator Ludlam - who is the Greens spokesperson on nuclear issues - said repealing the Act was an opportunity for Australia to rethink how nuclear waste was generated and contained.
"Radioactive waste can't be dumped, and it can't be made safe - it can only be contained."
"The only answer is not to generate it in the first place, and contain it on site whenever possible.
"Imposing ‘out of sight, out of mind' policies on remote Aboriginal communities is not the answer and harks back the kind of shameful colonial attitude towards remote indigenous communities of the 1950s."
"Transport of nuclear waste for the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney to a dump in the Northern Territory that the current Act allows is no long-term solution for Australia."
Senator Ludlam said the world faced nuclear challenges such as catastrophic nuclear accidents, the theft and black market trade in nuclear materials, the proliferation of nuclear weapons from civilian nuclear programmes in India and North Korea, and an accumulating stock of nuclear waste, meant Australia needed to plan how it would control and eliminate the nuclear cycle.
"News today (Financial Review, p3.) is that the Lucas Heights reactor has a water leak that can't be stopped. This is chilling for nearby residents and shows the assurances of the nuclear industry that the process is safe will always ring hollow."
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