[ASC-media] Media Release: Serious Agenda for a World Free of Nuclear Threat

Australasian Science science at control.com.au
Thu Jul 24 00:19:31 CEST 2008

For immediate release

Serious Agenda for a World Free of Nuclear Threat
Australia should be ³getting serious² about the ³catastrophic potential
damage² of nuclear weapons, according to a public health and infectious
diseases physician. Writing in the August issue of Australasian Science,
published tomorrow, Associate Professor Tilman Ruff of the University of
Melbourne¹s Nossal Institute for Global Health describes the most recent
estimates of the consequences of a regional nuclear war involving just 0.03%
of the explosive power in the world¹s arsenals ­ which is within the
capacity of eight states including Israel, India and Pakistan.
³Apart from immediately incinerating devastation and radioactive fallout
killing tens of millions, global climatic consequences would be unexpectedly
severe and persist for 10 years,² he writes. ³Cooling, with killing frosts
and shortened growing seasons, rainfall decline, monsoon failure and
substantial increase in UV radiation, would combine to slash global food
production. One billion people could starve. Preventing any use of nuclear
weapons is clearly of paramount security concern for every inhabitant on the
A/Prof Ruff, who is also Australian Chair of the International Campaign to
Abolish Nuclear Weapons, says that the Rudd government¹s initiative on
non-proliferation and disarmament ³deserves encouragement and support to
grasp a real opportunity for leadership and integrity by removing the most
urgent threat to global health,² but he says there is ³a lot more that the
Australian government can do...
³Australia should explore ways to denuclearise its military alliances and
not provide facilities or personnel for any possible use of nuclear
weapons,² he writes. ³Australia should withdraw from participation in
missile defenceŠ Uranium mining should be phased outŠ [and] Australia should
work to reduce sharply the proliferation dangers inherent in the nuclear
fuel chain by supporting urgent efforts for multilateral control of uranium
enrichment capacity globallyŠ
³Any R&D on uranium enrichment still being undertaken at Australia¹s nuclear
facility at Lucas Heights should be shut down. Australia should advocate
cessation of civilian and military use of weapons-usable highly enriched
uraniumŠ [and] should promote renewable energy and the creation of an
International Renewable Energy Agency.²

Summaries and quotations of selected passages for reporting or review are
permissible provided AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE is credited as the source
of this story.

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff is available on 0438 099 231.

For a full copy or for permission to reproduce this article (partially or
completely) call the Editor,
Guy Nolch, on (03) 9500 0015 or Senior Correspondent, Peter Pockley, on (02)
9660 6363. 
A photo of A/Prof Ruff is available. 
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