NEW ZEALAND TO LODGE PROTEST OVER NUCLEAR FUEL SHIP

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (January 22, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Foreign Minister Phil Goff has announced that New Zealand will lodge formal protests with the governments of Japan, France and Britain over two shipments of mixed oxide nuclear fuel that will pass near its waters.

Mr. Goff said while the chance of an accident at sea is small it cannot be discounted.

He said there is also a security risk, saying it is technically possible, although very difficult, to use MOX in the construction of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Goff has welcomed assurances that the shipments will not enter New Zealand's territorial waters or its Exclusive Economic Zone, but he said New Zealand will still lodge formal protests.

Two British ships, carrying mixed oxide nuclear fuel, set off from France on Friday, and are due to arrive in Japan at the end of March.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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