Catholic Religious Australia has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, calling for the Australian Government to ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
It follows Mr Morrison last week declaring that Australia was not seeking to establish nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability as a result of the announced nuclear submarine deal with the United States and the United Kingdom.
CRA believes this declaration can only be guaranteed by the Government ratifying the UN treaty.
While the Government claims that the submarines will be conventionally armed, CRA president Peter Carroll FMS said having nuclear-powered submarines has “crossed a threshold by nuclearising our military for the first time”.
“I fear we will become susceptible to future escalating nuclear development and collaboration with our nuclear-armed allies,” Br Carroll said.
CRA national executive director Anne Walker added: “The development of these submarines will require the use of highly enriched uranium, and its mining and processing carries the threat of diseases in mine workers and nearby inhabitants, as well as long-lasting environmental pollution.”
“Additionally, the nuclear reactors themselves risk becoming nuclear targets and sites of potential nuclear accidents. Even through normal use, nuclear reactors can emit radiological contamination into surrounding air, water and soil.”