Australian cabinet discounted potential security risks with nuclear energy
Sunday, June 11, 2006
|Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Australian nuclear debate
Speaking to the Nine Network, Senator Ellison said when considering energy, security concerns are not an issue. “When you look at sources of energy you don’t look at any potential terrorist threat,” he said.
The justice minister said that cabinet discussed measures for protecting crucial infrastructure but denies that a nuclear power station is any more of a target than the electricity grid or rail system.
Senator Ellison said that restricting the country’s use on nuclear power because of the threat of terrorism was giving in to terrorists. “Energy sources are very important for the future of any community and I think we’re not about to be stymied or restricted in that approach because of any threat of terrorism,”
“I mean, we’re going to continue living in the way we do. Once we change that, the terrorists win,” he said.
Senator Brown accused the government of failing to consider the possibility of nuclear material becoming available to terrorists. “It’s daft to say the least and it’s really pig-ignorant of the dangers of nuclear material coming into the hands of terrorists,” he said.
Senator Brown said he is concerned that the move encourages Indonesia, a country that he claims to have a terrorist problem to build nuclear reactors. “The Government doesn’t understand that their paving the way for nuclear enrichment or reactors in Australia encourages Indonesia, which has plans for up to 12 nuclear reactors and which the Government knows has real problems with terrorism.”
The Greens leader said that there is a possibility a nuclear reactor could become a terrorist target. “It does make the threat of terrorists getting nuclear materials or targeting a reactor real, and it must be a consideration for any inquiry,” he said.
The opposition has also raised concerns about security risks associated with nuclear energy. Stephen Smith said, “We don’t think that the economics are there for nuclear power stations in Australia, let alone the national security risks that go with that and the waste disposal risks that go with that.”