Australian Labor govt’s actions contradict its uranium policy

Labor recognises that the production of uranium and its use in the nuclear fuel cycle present unique and unprecedented hazards and risks, including:

Threats to human health and the local environment in the mining and milling of uranium, which demand the enforcement of very strict safety procedures.

ETU STATE COUNCIL BANS MEMBERS FROM WORKING IN NUCLEAR INDUSTRY | Coober Pedy Regional Times, 17 July 2010, The science 

The science on this issue is well known and well documented – there is no safe level of radiation. 

The federal ALP, despite its new-found enthusiasm for the nuclear industry, recognizes this in the introduction to its uranium policy: 

Labor recognises that the production of uranium and its use in the nuclear fuel cycle present unique and unprecedented hazards and risks, including:

Threats to human health and the local environment in the mining and milling of uranium, which demand the enforcement of very strict safety procedures.

The generation of products which are usable as the raw materials for nuclear weapons manufacture, which demands the enforcement of effective controls against diversion.

The generation of highly toxic radioactive waste by-products that demand permanently safe disposal methods not currently available. 

The facts are well summarized by two Canadian physicians, Doctors Cathy Vakil and Linda Harvey, in their comprehensive 2009 paper, Human Health Implications of Uranium Mining and Nuclear Power Generation

The scientific community generally agrees that there are no “safe” levels of exposure to ionizing radiation, and that any exposure carries the risk of harm (10). “Acceptable” levels are based on “acceptable harm”.

And 

Uranium mining contaminates air, water and soil. Crushing tons of radioactive rock produces dust, and leaves behind fine radioactive particles subject to wind and water erosion. Radon gas, a potent lung carcinogen, is released continuously from the tailings in perpetuity. Drilling and blasting disrupt and contaminate local aquifers. Water used to control dust and create slurries for uranium extraction becomes contaminated. Tailings containments can leak, leach or fail, releasing radioactive material into local waterways. Various organisms can transport radioactive material away from contaminated sites. These sites remain radioactive for many thousands of years, and will be unsafe to use for most human purposes for that long, as well as being a source of continuing contamination for surrounding populations.

ETU STATE COUNCIL BANS MEMBERS FROM WORKING IN NUCLEAR INDUSTRY | Coober Pedy Regional Times

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