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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 84


Senator SANDERS(5.40) —The Australian Democrats will oppose these amendments. We are of the opinion that there are no peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It should definitely not be promoted by a government agency. If it were to be promoted by a government agency, it would encounter the same difficulties that were encountered in the United States of America by the then Atomic Energy Commission, which was given the twin goals of promoting and regulating nuclear power. Of course, it could not do so.

In regard to the public education aspect, if the uranium miners themselves, with all the money and resources at their command, cannot convince the people of Australia that uranium mining is good for them and nuclear power is safe, I do not think that even the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation could do it. Of course, the reason they cannot convince the people of Australia-or, in fact, the people of the world-that uranium mining is safe is that it is not. Uranium mining is not safe; the enrichment phase is not safe; the use of nuclear power in any way-either in the peaceful or war aspects-is, of course, not safe. So they are defying common sense. It would be fiscally irresponsible, as well as morally reprehensible, for a government agency to try to promote the use of atomic energy.

We feel that the Opposition's amendments are flying in the face of common sense. Certainly, we do not believe that ANSTO should be put in a position of encouraging and facilitating the commercial application and utilisation of the results of research and development into all aspects of the peaceful uses of the nuclear fuel cycle. There are no peaceful uses of the nuclear fuel cycle.