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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Mines and Energy
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    New laws to protect Queenslanders from dangers of nuclear energy

    Minister for Mines and Energy
    The Honourable Geoff Wilson

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    New laws to protect Queenslanders from dangers of nuclear energy

    Nuclear facilities, including power stations and radioactive waste dumps, are now banned in Queensland.

    Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the Nuclear Facilities Prohibition Act 2006 came into effect this week.

    “The Act bans nuclear facilities in Queensland in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of each and every one of us,” Mr Wilson said.

    "There is no need for Queensland to go down the path of nuclear power plants or toxic waste dumps when we don’t need to,” Mr Wilson said.

    “Under the new law, a plebiscite would have to be held if the federal government tried to ride roughshod over state laws to build a nuclear facility in Queensland.

    “We won’t let the feds foist nuclear power plants or toxic waste dumps on our state without the wishes of the people who live and work here made known,” Mr Wilson said.

    The Sydney Morning Herald summed it up for readers when it asked: “Do you want a nuclear reactor in your backyard or a solar panel on your roof?”

    Nuclear facilities banned under the Act include:

    ·nuclear reactors (whether used to generate electricity or not);

    ·uranium conversion and enrichment plants;

    ·nuclear fuel fabrication plants;

    ·spent fuel processing plants; and

    ·facilities used to store or dispose of material associated with the nuclear fuel cycle e.g. radioactive waste material.

    Exemptions under the legislation include facilities for the storage or disposal of waste material resulting from research or medical purposes, and the operation of a nuclear-powered vessel.

    Mr Wilson said the circumstances that motivated other countries to pursue nuclear power did not apply in Queensland.

    "Generally, a lack of domestic energy resources and the high cost of importing fuel have pushed countries down the nuclear path, but here in Queensland we have access to abundant, long-term supplies of coal and gas. There is a range of renewable energy supplies being worked on now.

    "We're confident that clean coal technology will provide a similar level of greenhouse abatement to that of nuclear generation and in a shorter timeframe. Why go down a nuclear path when we don’t need to?”

    The Minister said nuclear facilities were already banned under the federal government’s own Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

    “John Howard is beating the drum on nuclear energy now, but his government passed legislation in 1999 to ban the ‘construction or operation’ of nuclear power plants,” Mr Wilson said.

    “After John Howard’s desperate back flip on the weekend, alarm bells should be ringing in every town from Bribie Island to Townsville,” he said.

    “The risks of nuclear generation are too great and far outweigh any potential advantages,” he said.

    The new Act brings Queensland into line with other Australian states that have nuclear prohibition legislation in place.

    Media Inquiries: Ellen McIntyre 3225 1819