27 Oct 2003

Nuke shipment passing through the Pacific says Greenpeace

4:59 pm on 27 October 2003

An Australian shipment of radioactive waste is believed to be heading through the south Pacific.

The Environmental activist group, Greenpeace, says it is believed to be the first overseas shipment of used nuclear fuel since 2001.

It says the shipment may cause concern to the Pacific Island states that have declared themselves nuclear-free.

Greenpeace's campaigns manager Danny Kennedy says the ship left Sydney under heavy security early this morning.

Mr Kennedy says the ship headed out on a south easterly bearing and could be heading for the Tonga-Niue gap.

He says the waste - which is bound for France - will be processed into a different form of radioactive material and Australia will receive a similar shipment, perhaps within the next ten years.

Mr Kennedy says the ship is not expected to meet waterborne protesters until the Straits of Magellan.