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No new nukes for Ipswich

IPSWICH councillors yesterday backed the city's 23-year-old nuclear-free status as debate over uranium exports, nuclear enrichment and nuclear energy again hit the national agenda.

The city was declared nuclear-free in 1983, but interest in the issue waned over recent years.

Seven of 11 councillors yesterday backed continuation of the nuclear-free stance, two said they'd support a review of the current policy and one was unavailable for comment.

Councillor Paul Tully, who was instrumental in the 1983 initiative, said he remained opposed to nuclear energy and industry.

"Any community in Australia should have serious concerns about it," he said.

"There have been too many nuclear disasters around the world and no government can guarantee there won't be another Chernobyl."

Cr Tully remains national secretary of the Australian Nuclear Free Zone secretariat of 112 anti-nuclear councils across the country.

He was one of dozens arrested in 1989 during protests against a state government plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility at Redbank, along with then Member for Bundamba Bob Gibbs and opposition environment shadow minister Pat Comben.

Also arrested several times in 1989 was current acting mayor Victor Attwood.

"There are too many risks of radiation exposure or accidents," Cr Attwood said.

"I never understood how you could promote something whose waste product has to be looked after for hundreds of thousands of years when the whole story of human civilisation is only about 10,000 years."

Several councillors were open to renewed debate on the issue despite backing the present policy.

David Pahlke and Charlie Pisasale said they favoured a review of the nuclear-free policy. Trevor Nardi was unavailable for comment.

Cr Pahlke said nuclear medicine was already employed at Ipswich Hospital, but West Moreton Health Service area director Pam Lane said it was not being used "at the moment".