27 Jan 2005

Pacific Forum to hold more talks on the shipping of radio-active waste

4:51 pm on 27 January 2005

The Pacific Islands Forum says it's holding a fresh round of discussions with countries involved in shipping radioactive waste.

This month's UN-backed Mauritius Strategy sets down Pacific Islands' demands for a ban on shipping nuclear waste through their waters.

Australia has since declared it will ship spent fuel rods for reprocessing in the United States.

The forum secretary-general, Greg Urwin, says a central concern at the next round of talks will be the potential harm of publicity surrounding any accident.

"The circumstances that might surround an accident involving a vessel carrying such waste which did not result in a release of the waste, but did receive a great deal of publicity; we think that's the kind of circumstance that can do damage to us."

Mr Urwin says another issue is how much information the Forum is told about the shipments.

He says after the discussions the Secretariat will have to ask Forum countries about any action that might then be taken.