Australia is home to around 35% of the world’s uranium reserves and currently supplies around 20% of the annual global market. Uranium mining is a controversial and contaminating industry that has caused significant environmental and cultural impacts and is strongly contested in Australia. In October 2011 it was confirmed that Australian uranium was inside the Fukushima reactor complex when it melted down. Rocks dug up in Australia are now responsible for radioactive fallout in Japan and beyond. In the shadow of Fukushima many Australian civil society, Aboriginal and community groups are increasing our efforts to transition away from fuelling the high cost, high risk nuclear sector and calling for an energy future that is renewable - not radioactive. At a recent meeting of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance - a network of Aboriginal, environmental and public health organisations that has been active for fifteen years around nuclear concerns and issues - this solidarity message was developed. We send it from our home in Australia with great respect and recognition of your work in India to advance our shared vision of a future free of nuclear threat and contamination.
Solidarity Statement from the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance to the people of India
The Australia Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) made up of Australian Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners and their allies, met from 5-7 October 2012 on the lands of the Arrernte people in Alice Springs.
We are horrified by the violence and repression being experienced by the growing mass movement in India peacefully protesting nuclear reactors on grounds of health, safety and loss of livelihood due to radiation risks.
We send our solidarity, strength and support to the brave people who struggle against the nuclear reactors at Koodankulam, Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana) and we honour and express our profound sympathy for the five people who have died in your struggle since 2010.
We are extremely concerned that from 15 October 2012 the Australian Prime Minister will visit India to discuss selling Australian uranium.
Our Prime Minister is breaking a long held policy by negotiating sales deals with your country which has nuclear weapons but refuses to be part of relevant international treaties.
We commit to redoubling our efforts to stop uranium mining so that poison from our country will not contaminate your sea, your water, your food chain and your gene pool.
We remain determined to stop Australian uranium being exported. Uranium mining causes environmental and cultural damage in Australia, and can lead to long-term damage overseas.
On a good day Australian uranium becomes radioactive waste. On a bad day it becomes fallout.
We pledge to work together to promote and build safe renewable energy power stations, as we work to close the uranium mines in Australia and help in your efforts to close nuclear power stations in India.
Our countries are linked by the ocean, our movements are linked by a history of peaceful protest and we are linked through a shared hope for a nuclear free future.