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Australia must not fuel the next Chernobyl

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 26 Apr 2013

On the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, and with the sarcophagus around the ruined reactor falling apart, the Greens have thrown a spotlight on the declining uranium trade.

"The global economic crisis is delaying efforts to deal with the ongoing disaster of the ruined Chernobyl power plant. The sarcophagus built over the reactor has been crumbling for years. The neighbouring town of Pripyat remains abandoned and the surrounding areas uninhabitable due to persistent deadly levels of radiation almost three decades on.

"The Greens oppose uranium sales because the industry has refused to learn its lesson. To take one example, China is following the precise path of the former Soviet Union in building multiple reactor types in a huge hurry, with a poor safety culture and zero tolerance approach to whistleblowers and investigative journalists.

"In February this year a 600sqm section of the roof over the turbine hall at Chernobyl collapsed under the weight of snow. A new steel and concrete enclosure to encase the sarcophagus is under construction and on recent estimates will cost 2.3 billion US dollars. It is desperately needed now but won't be completed until 2015 at the earliest.

"Estimates of the deaths caused by the Chernobyl disaster range into the hundreds of thousands. As the sarcophagus disintegrates, it breathes new vigour into that deadly legacy."

Senator Ludlam has released:

A research paper on the situation at Chernobyl today and its ongoing costs: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/chernobyl

A compendium of nuclear sector's accident history: http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/sites/default/files/ltfs-full.pdf

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