South Pacific Forum Secretariat

Press Statement No. 2/97

Secretary General Expresses South Pacific Forum's Concerns Over High Level Waste Shipments

The Secretary General Hon Ieremia Tabai has reiterated the South Pacific Forum's continuining concern over the use of the region for the shipment of high level nuclear and other hazardous wastes.

Mr. Tabai was reacting to reports that a British-registered ship, Pacific Teal of Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd. with a cargo of vitrified high level nuclear waste on board, has left the French port of Cherbourg bound for Mutsu in Japan. The ship is expected to arrive in Japan early next month.

In a statement today, Secretary General Tabai said the South Pacific Forum is concerned that once again high level waste will be transported through the region.

"The position of the South Pacific Forum is clear on this issue. The use of the region for radioactive and other hazardous waste shipments poses continuining concerns for the South Pacific region.

"Because of this, it is our expectation that such shipments should be carried out in accordance with the highest international safety and security standards in a manner which satisfactorily addresses all contingencies and in full consultation with member countries of the South Pacific Forum," Secretary General Tabai said.

"We are pleased that member countries and the Secretariat are being consulted and more information has been sought from those concerned. We are particularly mindful that the months of November to May is the region's cyclonic season which raises even higher risk as far as safety is concerned."

"As long as there is uncertainty about safety, and the possibility of risk to the environment and peoples of the region, our concerns will continue to be raised with the appropriate authorities," Secretary General Tabai said.


21 January 1997

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