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Stop Plutonium shipments, strengthen the Conventions
20 January 2001
PCRC media release
The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) has called on Pacific governments to take concrete actions to halt the continued plutonium shipments through the Pacific from France to Japan. PCRC Director Motarilavoa Hilda Lini said Pacific countries must strenghten the Raratonga Treaty for a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone and the Waigani Convention on Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes so that the Pacific is not exploited as a highway for 'death shipments' of plutonium.
The Centre said the shipments posed grave danger to the Pacific environment and socio-economic life and were of no benefit at all to Pacific peoples.
"It is urgent that efforts to strengthen the two conventions must begin now to avoid us being exposed to these needless dangers," she stated.
Two vessels the 'Pacific Teal' and 'Pacific Pintail' have left Cherbourg, France for Japan with weapons-usable and hazardous Plutonium/Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel. Whichever route the ships take, they will pass through the Pacific.
Ms Lini said: "Pacific leaders over the years have expressed concern about the dangers of plutonium shipments through the Pacific Ocean to Japan. However we are concerned that our governments position could be compromised by accepting Japan's offer to establish a $US10 million "good will" trust fund to placate concerns about the plutonium shipments threats to Pacific fisheries, tourism and other vital industries. $US10 million is peanuts. It will not cover a tiny fraction of costs incurred by a nuclear accident at sea."
"The damages caused to the environment and other industries would be irreparable," Ms Lini said.
She further stated: "Japan and the nuclear companies are not addressing the real issue, which is that the Pacific people do not want plutonium shipments passing through, and that plutonium shipments should be banned. The international nuclear industry is in trouble. They have not found a solution for the long-term storage of plutonium and high level radioactive wastes which lasts for thousands of years (though many nuclear corporations are still pushing to use the vast "empty" spaces of the Pacific as a dumping ground for nuclear wastes)."
The PCRC is the Secretariat for the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org