Nations Condemn Nuclear Shipments
ENS Correspondents, July 22, 2002
NADI, Fiji, July 19, 2002 (ENS) - Japan and the United Kingdom were
denounced for ongoing plutonium waste shipments through the Pacific
Ocean by the 78 nations of the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) Summit
in their final declaration Friday.
The leaders called for an immediate end to the shipments that have
entered the Exclusive Economic Zones of five Pacific nations this week.
The Nadi Declaration of the Third Summit of ACP Heads of State and
Government says, "We express our strong objection to the transport
of nuclear and other hazardous materials through the waters around ACP
states. We call for the immediate cessation of such practice, in order
to prevent any occurrence of accidents that could seriously threaten
their sustainable development and the health of their peoples."
Summit host Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase asked African and Caribbean
delegates to join their Pacific counterparts in expressing outrage and
opposition to those who are so willing to put the Pacific and its peoples
He said the Pacific people's close relationship to the ocean is the
reason why they are so adamantly opposed to actions that expose them
to threats of pollution, hazardous wastes, and destructive effects of
The two ships, Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal, carrying 255 kgs of
weapons-usable material were found Friday by Greenpeace well within
the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of New Caledonia, at coordinates the
group reports as 20 degrees, 31 minutes South and 163 degrees, 10 minutes
East at around 12 noon Fiji time.
In the last week the two ships have also breached the EEZs of the Federated
States of Micronesia, the Solomons, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Vanuatu's
Deputy Prime Minister Serge Vohor said it is time to put a full stop
to these shipments.
"Greenpeace congratulates and applauds the African Caribbean and
Pacific Governments for taking this courageous and strong stance on
this issue," said nuclear campaigner, Angenette Heffernan.
"We recognize that many of these countries have donor aid relationships
with the shipping nations, but they have gone ahead and expressed their
strong opposition, prioritizing their concerns over the devastating
health and environmental consequences of allowing these shipments to
continue. Japan, the UK and Australia can no longer use their aid to
force countries into accepting these lethal shipments through their
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. which operates the two ships, routinely
issues assurances that the waste shipments are safe. They carry spent
nuclear fuel from Japan to the UK for reprocessing over routes that
are kept secret. Plans are in the works to return the material in the
form of mixed plutonium-uranium oxide (MOX) fuel back to Japan for the
generation of electricity.