NGOS AND CHURCHES IN FIJI OPPOSE PLUTONIUM SHIPS

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MEDIA RELEASE

August 11, 1999

Non-government and church organizations in Fiji have protested against a nuclear delegation visiting Suva, as two shiploads of plutonium MOX fuel are heading towards the South Pacific region on the way to Japan.

The non-government and church organizations are concerned that British, French and Japanese nuclear officials are lobbying quietly to promote dozens more plutonium shipments in coming years.

An advertisement from church and community groups in today's Fiji Times (below) calls for a halt of all nuclear waste shipments through the Pacific. The advertisement is signed by the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, Fiji Council of Churches, Pacific Conference of Churches, Greenpeace Pacific and other women's, environment and human rights groups in Fiji.

Mrs. Losena Salabula of Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) stated: "A nuclear delegation from Britain, France and Japan is currently visiting Fiji to promote their deadly trade. We are not reassured by their claims that the plutonium ships cannot sink, or that the canisters carrying radioactive wastes can never be breached. Britain, France and Japan should halt all transport of plutonium and high level radioactive wastes through the South Pacific".

Students and community groups will leaflet a meeting at the Japanese Embassy in Suva today to highlight the presence of the nuclear waste lobbyists. The delegation touring the region includes representatives of:

The delegation is visiting the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau, in an attempt to lobby Pacific governments to support the transport of plutonium and other nuclear wastes through the region. The South Pacific Forum has joined governments in the Caribbean and Africa and express its concern over transboundary shipments of nuclear waste.

Text of advertisement (Fiji Times, Wednesday 11 August)

Keep our Pacific Ocean nuclear free!

PLUTONIUM SHIPS ON THE WAY TO SOUTH PACIFIC

Two ships carrying plutonium MOX fuel will soon travel through the South Pacific on their way from Europe to Japan. The Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal will pass between Australia and New Zealand, and then through the Exclusive Economic Zones of South Pacific island nations.

Today, a high-powered (radioactive) delegation from Japan, France and the United Kingdom is visiting Suva, to try convince Pacific Island governments that those shipments are harmless. We, the undersigned, say RUBBISH!

As non-government, church and community organizations in Fiji, we are opposed to the shipment of plutonium and other radioactive wastes through our region.

We are concerned about potential hazards to our environment, economy and health.

We join the members of the South Pacific Forum (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Nauru, Vanuatu and Niue), to call on Japan, France and the United Kingdom to halt all nuclear shipments through our waters.

We ask our South Pacific governments to work together to end all nuclear shipments through our region, by strengthening the Rarotonga Treaty for a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, and the 1995 Waigani Convention on radioactive and hazardous wastes.

We want to be nuclear free!

Endorsed by:

For further information, contact Pacific Concerns Resource Centre on (679) 304649 or Greenpeace on (679) 312861

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times).

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