24 March 2023
In response to questioning by the Greens Defence Spokesperson David Shoebridge, the Labor government today refused to disclose how much weapons-grade uranium would be carried on the Virginia class submarines Australia will buy under the AUKUS submarine deal.
According to Ian Lowe, Griffith University Emeritus Professor and radiation and nuclear safety expert, each Virginia class sub carries 200 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, which is nuclear weapons-grade material. This is more than three times the amount of enriched uranium used for the bombing of Hiroshima.
Australian Greens Senator and Defence Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The Albanese government is either astonishingly ignorant or dangerously secretive about its plans to put hundreds of kilograms of weapons grade uranium on board Virginia class submarines in Australian ports.
“It is increasingly clear that the government has no plan to deal with the weapons-grade uranium carried on submarines in our waters, which will then be buried in some unspecified location in Australia.
“Experts have said that each submarine carries up to three times the amount of enriched uranium used for the bombing of Hiroshima, yet Labor is refusing to tell us how it will be safely accommodated near major population centers like Port Kembla and the Illawarra.
“Labor is asking the Australian public to trust them on this secretive deal but they’re refusing to even come clean on how much weapons grade uranium they are bringing into the country.
“The highly enriched uranium carried on Virginia class submarines remains a threat to human and other life for an estimated 1 million years.
“We already know the government is resisting best practice regulation, transparency and oversight of these nuclear submarines, like so many other key problems they are leaving this mess to future generations to solve.
“It’s impossible to plan for nuclear regulation, safety or disposal if we don’t even know how much weapons-grade uranium these submarines will carry.
“Communities like the Illawarra who are being threatened with a nuclear submarine base deserve the truth about this reckless nuclear submarine deal and the Greens will keep demanding answers in Parliament until we get it,” Senator Shoebridge said.
David Shoebridge - Siavosh Sahebi: 0433 212 071