The low uranium price and the economic turmoil crippling the international nuclear sector mean Western Australian uranium projects are nothing more than a twinkle in the eye of desperate pro-nuclear advocates, the Australian Greens said today.
“If the uranium sector manages to leverage more taxpayer support and get these toxic mines into operation, Western Australians will be stuck with the legacy for all time,” Greens Co-Deputy Leader and nuclear spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said.
“We need to look beyond the hollow promises of a fading industry to the hard reality of developing WA’s four uranium proposals into mines. If all four projects were to open they would produce approximately 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, consume 11.5 billion litres of water every year – for 16 to 20 years - and would leave behind approximately 312 million tonnes of tailings – volatile and dangerous in our environment forever. These mines would see 250 trucks of uranium on our roads every year heading to Port Adelaide or Darwin for export. Nothing about this is worth it.”
“Just as alarming as the risks and impacts on our local environment are the risks we would be exporting to China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and the US.
“Western Australian uranium, without doubt, would become high level radioactive waste in these countries, none of which have long term waste storage plans.
“Our uranium could be sold to at least four countries that produce nuclear weapons, one (India) that is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. If all four mines opened and exported around 130,700 tonnes of uranium it would produce 19, 605 tonnes of high level radioactive waste which would generate enough plutonium to produce 19,605 nuclear weapons.
“The Barnett Government is fixated on trading in toxic materials for an obsolete industry that threatens our environment here at home and overseas, at huge tax payer expense ,” Senator Ludlam said.