On today’s 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster national environment group the Australian Conservation Foundation has called for the federal government to abandon its plans to sell uranium to Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the sales plan earlier this month.

Environmentalists and community advocates in Perth and Sydney will today hold peaceful presences outside the electoral offices of Ms Bishop and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to highlight concerns over the proposed deal.

“The country that fuelled Fukushima supplying uranium to the land that gave the world Chernobyl is hardly a match made in heaven,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Ukraine’s nuclear sector remains plagued by serious and unresolved safety, security and governance issues.

“Two-thirds of Ukraine’s aging fleet of 15 nuclear reactors will be past its design lifetime use-by date in just four years.”

G7 foreign ministers recently cited the conflict in Ukraine as a source of increased global nuclear insecurity. Pro-Russian militia forces have made armed incursions into Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

“Two years ago Australia prudently suspended uranium sales to Russia,” Dave Sweeney said.

“It makes no sense to now fuel further nuclear instability in this troubled region by starting to sell uranium to Ukraine.

“Thirty years ago today a fire and massive radiation release at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant spewed a radioactive cloud across much of Europe. Five million people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia still live in highly contaminated areas.

“The 30th anniversary of Chernobyl is a time to be reminded of the risks and dangers of the nuclear sector – not a time to ignore history in a bid to promote a risky and radioactive trade deal,” Dave Sweeney said.

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