Radioactive shipping not worth the risk

Press Release – Green Party

The grounding of the cargo ship Rena near Tauranga Harbour shows the risks to New Zealand of moving Australian uranium yellowcake through our ports, said the Green Party today.Radioactive shipping not worth the risk

The grounding of the cargo ship Rena near Tauranga Harbour shows the risks to New Zealand of moving Australian uranium yellowcake through our ports, said the Green Party today.

“Thankfully the Rena was not carrying any uranium, although cargo ships regularly come through Tauranga port carrying the radioactive and toxic substance,” said Green Party Marine spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“The Greens do not support the transport of uranium through our ports, but if we are to continue, we need to make coastal shipping safer and to prepare better for accidents.

“The Rena show accidents can happen, even of the risks are low, we need to prepare for the worst.

“We can introduce better regulation for coastal shipping that supports the use of local crews and ships that know New Zealand waters and hazards.

“Furthermore, we can invest in our emergency maritime services so that they have the capacity and resources to respond quickly if accidents do happen.

Western Bay of Plenty Harbour Master Jennifer Roberts stated in a 2010 submission to Government, that the neither the Tauranga Fire Service, nor Port of Tauranga staff had the equipment and training to detect and deal with a yellowcake uranium spill.

“Imagine the international news headlines if we had uranium yellowcake bobbing off the Bay of Plenty coast in nuclear-free New Zealand.

“Although yellowcake uranium is not highly radioactive, leaking of the substance into New Zealand waters would damage our clean, green image,” said Mr Hughes.

For more information Jennifer Roberts’s submission is available here – tauranga_harbour_masters_submission_0.pdf

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