Wednesday, 13 March 2013
I thank the Senate. This motion has one very simple operative clause, which is to call for an urgent review of bilateral so-called safeguards agreements between Australia and its uranium customer countries, including the majority of the world's nuclear weapons states, to ascertain the risk of future nuclear disasters in countries that buy Australian uranium, be it Japan, India, Russia, China or any of the other countries to which we sell uranium. We have a number of Japanese guests from the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, that I visited last year, in Parliament House this afternoon. The message to Australian policymakers could not be clearer. Their region has been depopulated and fisheries, horticultural and agricultural industries have been completely shattered, with 160,000 people still homeless as a result of that disaster. This is on top of the colossal carnage caused by the tsunami along the Pacific coast of Japan. Their message to Australian policymakers is: stop selling uranium.
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Australian uranium is confirmed to have been present in each of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power station on 11 March 2011,
(ii) the disaster is ongoing 2 years later, with continuing radiation leaks, and that 160 000 people remain displaced from their homes with inadequate compensation to resettle,
(iii) decommissioning is expected to take over 40 years at a cost of A$100 billion, and
(iv) approximately 2 000 samples of food and game tested for radiation between April 2012 and January 2013 exceeded the limit for human consumption of radioactive isotopes; and
(b) calls on the Australian Government to undertake an immediate review of all bilateral uranium supply arrangements to assess the risk of future disasters at nuclear power stations in countries to which Australia supplies uranium.