Nuke ban stays

A LONGSTANDING policy against nuclear power stations in Vincent will stay in place and the council will join the anti-nuke “Mayors for Peace” program. 

Vincent council brought in the ban on nuclear materials in July 1995.

It was one of the first acts of the newly formed council under inaugural mayor Jack Marks and for many years the policy was emblazoned on Vincent’s entry statements declaring it a “nuclear free zone”.

It was in response to public concerns over nuclear safety that’d been stoked by the possibility of nuclear weapons testing resuming in the Pacific Ocean.

The policy states: “No nuclear power stations may be built within [Vincent]”, and “no uranium, nuclear waste nor other material connected with the nuclear power industry may be stored in or transported through”.

An exception allowed for “the responsible use of radioisotopes in hospitals”.

Like all policies it gets reviewed as a matter of course every few years and it’s been known for the past couple of reviews that the ban’s unenforceable: The council has no jurisdiction over nuclear materials, which is handled by state and federal government laws.

Given the oddity of an unenforceable policy council CEO David MacLennan recommended they repeal it this week.

Despite only being symbolic councillors decided at the August 23 meeting to keep the policy, with Cr Susan Gontaszewski this week noting “symbolism is important”. 

The policy hasn’t been used in 27 years. Subiaco, Victoria Park and Fremantle councils have similar policies, though that hasn’t stopped ships with nuclear capability docking at Fremantle harbour. 

At Councillor Jonathan Hallett’s suggestion they’ll also join the international anti-nuclear weapon organisation Mayors for Peace. The organisation was started by the then-mayor of Hiroshima Takeshi Araki in 1982 and advocates for elimination of nuclear weapons.

“August is a good month for [the policy review] to come to council,” Cr Hallett said.  The anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were August 6 and 9, and so this is an opportunity for reflection, and remembrance, and action, that the threat of nuclear weapons has not been relegated to that of a bygone era but remains a present and real threat of our times.”

The annual membership fee is 2000 yen, which is about $21. 

by DAVID BELL

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