MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Let them eat Yellowcake: National Protests at Uranium Sales to China

Published by MAC on 2006-04-05

Let them eat Yellowcake: National Protests at Uranium Sales to China

From the Newswires

5th April 2006

http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=default&featureview=347

Across Australia today community, environment and peace groups held yellowcake stalls to protest the signing of a deal to sell uranium to China.

“Selling uranium is a crumby idea at the best of times,” said Louise Morris, spokesperson for Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Melbourne. “but we could really get our fingers burnt with this most recent deal.”

China is a nuclear weapons state with around 400 nuclear warheads. For them to have access to a reliable source of cheap and plentiful uranium is just the icing on the cake.

“The half baked assurances that Australian uranium won’t go into nuclear weapons programs are laughable,” said Nat Wasley, spokesperson for Arid Lands Environment Centre - Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Alice Springs

“China loses hundreds of workers to industrial and mining accidents each year, and sees untold environmental damage as a result of these too,” stated Scott Ludlam, spokesperson for Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia. “Adding yellowcake into the mix is just a recipe for disaster.”

Ms Morris concluded by saying, “The major political parties are playing packet mix politics to the mining lobby – just add water to get the instant policy you want.

“But the Australian community have shown time and again that they are willing to turn up the heat to stop nuclear projects, and we will do so again.”

Groups in Alice Springs, Melbourne and Perth tested their recipes today, with Canberra preparing for a "pie on ya face" gallery on Friday and Brisbane keeping their concoctions a secret until Sunday.

Dr Jim Green, Friends of the Earth Nuclear Campaigner: “While the China National Nuclear Corporation busies itself converting Australian uranium into Weapons of Mass Destruction, all that is required under the terms of the agreement is that at some, unspecified part of the nuclear fuel cycle, an equivalent amount of nuclear material is subject to safeguards. Verifying that such a transfer has occurred is easier said than done. As the government’s documents also acknowledge, IAEA inspections of China's facilities are carried out on a "selective" basis.”

"With proposed exports of 10,000 tonnes of uranium per year, the Chinese regime could build 2,000 nuclear weapons per year using Australian uranium - without even breaching the terms of the disgraceful agreement struck between the Howard government and the Chinese regime..."

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