West Australian Church Groups say: “Renewables not Uranium, Minister!”

Church groups in Western Australia have called upon the Hon Bill Marmion, Mines and Petroleum Minister to embrace renewable energies instead of thinking of uranium as the fuel of the future. The group said Mr Marmion’s recent comment was ill-informed and dangerous. All of the groups have expressed deep and abiding concerns about the social and environmental costs of uranium mining and the nuclear industry into which Western Australia’s uranium would be sent.

Spokesperson for the group Rosemary Hudson Miller, Associate General Secretary Justice and Mission, Uniting Church in Western Australia said, “Nuclear technologies that utilise non-renewable resources such as uranium, while at the same time producing toxic by-products that have been proven to interfere with human and ecosystem health, are not a sustainable way of providing energy for human consumption. Renewable energy technologies need to be given primacy instead.

“Given Western Australia’s vast renewable energy resources, broad community support for renewable energy, the rapid development of renewable technologies – including baseload capabilities – and the continued decline of renewable technology prices, it makes social, environmental and economic sense for WA to become a leader in renewable energy rather than in the unsustainable, unpopular and dangerous uranium and nuclear industries.”

The group’s spokesperson Ms Hudson Miller said that they all agreed that there are major problems with both uranium mining and its market, the nuclear energy industry, including:

  • the carbon cost of building and running a nuclear power plant;
  • the high capital costs of building a nuclear power plant;
  • the high maintenance costs of running a nuclear power plant;
  • the difficulties associated with safely decommissioning a nuclear power plant;
  • the environmental and health hazards associated with both nuclear power and uranium mining;
  • the decline of uranium prices;
  • the hazards associated with containing and transporting high levels of radioactivity in mined uranium;
  • the problems of “safe” storage of nuclear waste and by-products from power plants and uranium mines;
  • the nexus between nuclear energy generation and nuclear weapons; and
  • the legacy of nuclear waste for future generations.

Ms Hudson Miller said, “There is no guarantee that Australian uranium will not find its way into contributing towards weapons proliferation, despite our safeguards. Uranium holds numerous risks that we just don’t need to take. The safest energy future for Western Australia is renewable energy.”

In the name of
Anglican EcoCare Commission
Catholic Earthcare Australia
Justice Ecology and Development Office Catholic Archdiocese of Perth
Society of Friends Western Australian Regional Meeting
Social Justice Board Uniting Church in Western Australia

Top image: Bishop Tom Wilmot of the Anglican Diocese of Perth and Rosemary Hudson Miller, Associate General Secretary (Justice and Mission) of the Uniting Church in WA, with representatives from the Uniting Church Social Justice Board, The Council of Churches, Anglican EcoCare Commission, Catholic Earthcare Australia and the Justice Ecology and Development Office Catholic Archdiocese of Perth standing in front of St Bartholemew’s House with its 12 wind turbines and 144 solar panels producing 30kws of their  own electricity.

 

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