26th April marks 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine. Many plant ‘liquidators’ died within days, and massive radioactive releases produced an ongoing three-fold increase in thyroid cancers and other genetic illnesses. Over 5 million people today continue to live in contaminated areas.
Despite this important anniversary, which should be time for reflection and a revisiting of Australia’s role as a uranium exporter, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has signed a deal to sell uranium to the Ukraine.
Commemorations are being held around Australia to remember all whose lives have been impacted by the Chernobyl disaster, or who will be into the future, and to urge the Australian government to stop all uranium exports. We have to stop this toxic nuclear cycle.
“There remain serious containment and waste management issues at Chernobyl and there are very real security concerns about Ukrainian nuclear facilities being targeted in the current conflict with Russia.
Australia has properly suspended uranium sales to Russia – it makes no sense to start selling uranium to Ukraine now.
There can be no nuclear business-as-usual in the shadow of Fukushima – a disaster that was fuelled by Australian uranium.
Following Fukushima the UN Secretary-General called for Australia to have a dedicated risk analysis of the impacts of the uranium sector – this has not happened and needs to.”
Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation Nuclear Free Campaigner