The Australian Greens condemned the Western Australian Government's approval of the Toro Energy Wiluna Uranium Project today and called on the Federal Government to intervene.
Spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke must use the full range of powers available to him under Commonwealth environmental law to protect the public interest after the spectacular failure of the State Government to do so.
"In the same week the nation's biggest solar power project begins operating in Western Australia, the Barnett Government is digging a radioactive hole for itself. This is a timely reminder of the reasons why the Commonwealth should not delegate its national environmental powers to the States.
"Despite the sorry history of uranium mines in Australia becoming a hazard after closure, the Barnett Government failed to place conditions on closure for Toro Energy's project. Toro has not revealed estimates of future mine closure liability or submitted a final rehabilitation plan. This is remarkable given the company intends for post-closure liability to pass to taxpayers only 10 years after mining ceases, though the consequences of the mine will endure for many centuries. And despite the scarcity of water in the area, the State Government failed to determine a water resource for the life of the mine.
"The market price for uranium has been in free-fall for almost 18 months, 150 nuclear power plants in Europe alone are set for closure, and several countries including Germany, Japan and Switzerland have committed to shutting down their nuclear sectors completely. While the Greenough River Solar project shows the way to the future, the WA Government has its head jammed firmly in the past."