United front against uranium mining, exports and nuclear energy

May 8, 2006

Australia’s major environment groups have today reaffirmed their united opposition to uranium mining and exports, and to nuclear energy as a solution to climate change, on the eve of the Federal Environment Minister’s report to the United Nations on Australia’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a communiqué released today, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, The Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation and 13 other groups have spelt out the environment movements’ opposition to all aspects of the nuclear industry.

“Support for uranium mining and its export means support for a dangerous and environmentally destructive process to generate nuclear energy and develop nuclear weapons,” The Wilderness Society’s national campaigns director Alec Marr said.

“Total opposition to this lies at the heart of the Australian environment movement.”

The groups also moved to clear the air on recent misleading claims that nuclear energy would help solve the problems of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

“Nuclear energy is no solution to climate change. Even if there was a doubling of global nuclear energy output by 2050 it would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Chief Executive Steve Shallhorn said.

“Nuclear power poses unacceptable proliferation and security risks, it is not clean, it is not cheap, and there is no solution to the intractable problem of nuclear waste.

Four or five countries have developed nuclear weapons using their ‘peaceful’ nuclear facilities – India, Israel, South Africa, Pakistan and possibly North Korea.

“The adverse environmental impacts of uranium mining in Australia have been significant. The prosecution of ERA, majority owned by Rio Tinto, over its operations at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu highlights the risks,” ACF Executive Director Don Henry said.

“Australia can immediately move to achieve affordable deep cuts in greenhouse pollution by adopting national laws requiring emissions reductions, and strongly promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

The “Joint Australian Environment Groups’ communique on the nuclear industry and climate change” has been signed by The Wilderness Society, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace Australia-Pacific, Nature Conservation Council NSW, Total Environment Centre, Conservation Council of SA, Conservation Council of WA, Friends of the Earth, Environment Centre North Territory, AIDWATCH, Environs Kimberley, Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra, Queensland Conservation Council, Australian Toxics Network, Environment Victoria, Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Further enquiries:

Alec Marr, TWS, 0417 229 670
Steve Shallhorn, CEO Greenpeace, 0400 514 727
Josh Meadows, ACF Media Officer, 0439 342 992



Australian Environment Groups communique on the nuclear industry

Joint Australian Environment Groups communique on the nuclear industry
and climate change
Media Statement
8 May, 2006

1. The Australian non-government environment sector is united in its opposition to all aspects of the nuclear industry including uranium mining, uranium enrichment, nuclear power, nuclear weapons and the creation and disposal of radioactive waste.

2. Every aspect of the nuclear industry is dirty, dangerous and enormously costly to workers and communities; to the environment and future generations; as well as financially. There are no adequate safeguards to prevent nuclear proliferation, or to contain radioactive waste for the thousands of years required, or to prevent the use of nuclear facilities and materials as terrorism targets.

3. The Australian non-government environment sector reaffirms its considered conclusion that nuclear power offers no solution to the unfolding global warming crisis. The nuclear industry and some politicians have seized on climate change to try to resuscitate the nuclear industry, but are ignoring fatal flaws inherent in nuclear energy that rule it out as an effective or ethically acceptable response. By continuing to hold up nuclear as an effective response to global warming, proponents merely distract attention and resources away from existing effective, safe and affordable solutions to rising greenhouse emissions and consequent climate change.

4. The Australian non-government environment sector calls on all political parties to reject uranium mining, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons and radioactive waste dumps in Australia and to work towards their elimination globally. The creation of more high-level radioactive waste must cease and existing stockpiles must be stored as safely as possible in surface facilities close to the site of production.

5. The Australian non-government environment sector calls on all political parties to seriously combat global warming by adopting policies in support of the rapid expansion of the renewable energy sector and a concerted Australia-wide program of energy efficiency. These programs and technologies should also be exported widely around the world to help other countries, especially developing nations.

6. The Australian non-government environment sector acknowledges the strong and growing concern of the Australian community over global warming and the community's strong support for real measures to combat global warming, and commits to working with and for the community to ensure governments of all persuasions take responsible and timely action to prevent BOTH catastrophic climate change AND contamination of the planet by radioactive waste and nuclear weapons.

Signatories, 8 May, 2006:
The Wilderness Society
Australian Conservation Foundation
Greenpeace Australia-Pacific
Nature Conservation Council NSW
Total Environment Centre
Conservation Council of SA
Conservation Council of WA
Friends of the Earth

Environment Centre North Territory
Environs Kimberley
Conservation Council of the South
East Region and Canberra
Queensland Conservation Council
Australian Toxics Network
Environment Victoria
Australian Marine Conservation