Australia! Lead the world away from nuclear power – says Naoto Kan

Former Japanese PM Naoto Kan urges Australia to wean world off uranium, focus on renewables http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-22/move-towards-renewables-former-japanese-pm-tells-australia/5691118 By Kate Wild and Xavier La Canna   Japan’s prime minister during the Fukushima disaster says Australia should be trying to wean other countries away from nuclear power, not increase exports of uranium.

Naoto Kan, who was prime minister from June 2010 to August 2011 is in Australia to lobby for a greater use of renewable energy sources.

He said the world was moving away from nuclear power, and Australia should not get in the way of that.

“Rather than looking at making contributions through exporting and making it more possible for more countries to be relying on nuclear power, all countries including Australia should be making efforts to do what can be done to reduce such dependence on nuclear power,” Mr Kan said.

“I hope that Australia can be exporting not uranium or coal for example, but electricity created through renewable sources,” he said.

When he was Japanese PM, representing the Democratic party of Japan, a tsunami caused a nuclear incident in which three nuclear reactors melted down at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and forced widespread evacuations.

“We were very close to the scenario of having to evacuate people in a 250 kilometre radius,” he said.

“This would have included also Tokyo, which would mean 40 per cent of the entire Japanese population – close to 50 million people.”

His party initiated policies to see nuclear power phased out in Japan by the 2030s, but this policy was overturned by the Liberal Democratic Power, which regained office in 2012.

Australia is thought to have the world’s largest uranium resources, and mines exist in the Northern Territory and South Australia, while Queensland recently lifted a 30-year ban on uranium mining.

Western Australia is also looking to develop its uranium industry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will soon travel to India to finalise a deal for Australia to sell uranium to their energy-hungry economy for the first time.

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