Australia groups remember Fukushima’s lessons

Japanese anti-nuclear campaigner Kenichi Hasegawa.

About 100 people attended a forum and concert titled, "Remembering Fukushima, Two years on: Time to end the nuclear chain," at the Teachers Federation on March 10.

The forum was addressed by Japanese farmer and anti-nuclear campaigner Kenichi Hasegawa; Peace Boat International member Akira Kawasaki, South Australian Indigenous elder and co-chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) Peter Watts, Illawarra Aboriginal community and ANFA member Dootch Kennedy, Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon, and Uranium Free NSW spokesperson Nat Wasley.

Hasegawa, whose farm was contaminated by nuclear radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, said, "the [Japanese] government hid information from us, so we were exposed to unnecessary high radiation. You can't see, smell or taste radiation, so the people were not sufficiently aware of the danger."

Kawasaki said lessons from the Fukushima experience included that it was a "man-made disaster, not a 'natural' accident”.

"How can we reduce production of greenhouse energy: we can do it without nuclear power? Around 70% of Japanese people support the phase-out of nuclear power.”

Peter Watts told the forum that people near Roxby Downs in South Australia suffered radiation contamination. "The safest place for uranium is in the ground," he said.

Kennedy said: "Maralinga, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were a lesson to the world about how dangerous uranium is. And 40% of the uranium stock in the world is in Australia.

"Fukushima shows the disaster of nuclear power. We need people to come together to fight against war and the nuclear industry.”

Lennon said Fukushima showed the "fatal consequences of a failure of leadership on nuclear power. We need renewable sources of energy, to create new jobs. We need a better, nuclear-free world."

Wasley urged the audience to join the "fight against the nuclear industry until it is stopped”.

“We can build a movement against the whole industry, from uranium mining to nuclear power.

"The NSW Liberal government has recently overturned a 26-year ban on uranium mining in this state. People power can stop uranium mining."

[For more information on the campaign, visit Choose Nuclear Free.]

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