Maralinga British atomic test veteran warns State Government against nuclear expansion in SA, ABC News By Mike Sexton, 22 Aug 15 A veteran of the British atomic tests at Maralinga has warned the South Australian Government against flirting with a nuclear fuel cycle.
Avon Hudson served with the RAAF at Maralinga during the so-called minor trials when radioactive material including plutonium was atomised and, in the process, spread across the sandy desert country.
“It is alright when everything goes okay, but we know they don’t,” he said.
“If we get more and more nuclear power stations then the law of averages is we will see more accidents.” In the 1970s Mr Hudson became a whistleblower by going public with what he knew of the secret trials.
He also became an advocate for the servicemen who had been exposed to radiation during weapons testing in the 1950s and 60s.
He said the men were given little or no protection against the harmful exposure.
“I was handed over like a pick and shovel would be handed over for someone to do a job,” he said.
“[There were] no safeguards, no nothing.”
Mr Hudson estimated of the 8,000 Australian servicemen at Maralinga fewer than 500 remained alive today.
Now in his late seventies he is retired and living in the South Australian town of Balaklava, but continues to agitate against the use of nuclear energy and weapons……..Mr Hudson believed the dangers posed by nuclear energy outweighed the advantages, including the possibility of nuclear fuel being used to manufacture weapons……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-20/veteran-warns-sa-government-against-nuclear-expansion/6711642
Nuclear dump would destroy our land: elder http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/07/09/15/23/elders-students-protest-sa-nuclear-dump Aboriginal elders from across the country have joined scores of university students camping out in a stand against the storing of nuclear waste in Australia.
Protesters from far and wide have set up a tent community at Flinders University in Adelaide in protest against plans for a nuclear waste dump, in South Australia or anywhere else.
At least one SA Liberal senator says it should, with Sean Edwards recently urging the state to cash in by becoming a global player in the spent nuclear fuel recycling industry.
But Mr Buzzacott said a storage facility would destroy the sacred land of the country’s traditional owners. “We’ve lost a lot of sacred sites as it is,” he said. “We don’t want to lose any more. “We’ve been here 40,000 years. We’ve never touched the land – we love the land.”
“……..South Australia has a nuclear industry the government wants to expand. There is uranium enrichment, but that is an economic non-starter, and then there is nuclear power, which is theoretically possible but very expensive and controversial.
The nuclear lobby is driving the idea that if you import other countries’ high-level waste, those countries would pay billions of dollars to get it off their hands. So there is all sorts of nonsense flying around South Australia, especially in the Murdoch press, that these billions of dollars would cover the entire cost of building nuclear reactors and would also allow the abolition of all state taxes.
But even with that sort of propaganda being circulated in the Adelaide Advertiser — a Murdoch tabloid — they found that fewer than one in six South Australians want a high-level nuclear waste dump.
It is a massive challenge, as the royal commission is stacked by pro-nuclear lobbyists. So it will issue a pro-nuclear report and we are doing the best we can to dull their enthusiasm.
We are building a separate campaign against the expansion. Traditional owners held a meeting in Port Augusta in April and this is the starting point to building an ongoing campaign.
A lot of these traditional owners have already experienced a track record of the industries of pollution and lies and they don’t want to be a part of it. They have seen the outrageous divide and rule tactics used by Heathgate against Adnyamathanha traditional owners. Then there is the long history of Olympic Dam uranium mine, and attempts to dump nuclear waste on Aboriginal land despite their ferocious opposition. Or go back to the Maralinga bomb tests in South Australia — there is a lot of history with people still suffering the varied impacts of that.
There is a lot of campaign strength in South Australia. Certainly we are putting in submissions to the royal commission but we don’t want to get sucked into their campaign too much because it is a fraud and the more important thing for us is to build campaigns and support Aboriginal people who want to build campaigns…..” https: //www.greenleft.org.au/node/59400
Big miners need to win hearts and minds in fight against environmental activism, Australian Financial Review, Jennifer Hewett, 3 June 15 The mining industry may have seen off the mining tax it despised but industry executives seem less certain about how to deal with a much more generic threat.
Environmental activism against the mining industry – particularly the coal and coal seam gas industries – is becoming more powerful, sophisticated and effective.
It ranges from protesters chaining themselves to gates or trees on mining sites to the divestment movement, which has seen groups ranging from the massive Norwegian sovereign wealth fund to Australian universities to French banks get out of fossil fuel investments or financing…….
the potential impact and risk of reputational damage from the level of environmental opposition is growing – making discussion about it a natural feature of the annual conference of the Minerals Council of Australia in Canberra on Wednesday.
LOSING THE PR BATTLE
A lot of frustrated companies belatedly realise they are losing the public relations battle and the support of large sections of the community, ………
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says it has become a “war of ideology” and the industry must not stop pushing back against this sort of attack.
But how best to do so is not so clear to the industry players…. Vanessa Guthrie, chief executive of uranium company Toro Energy, said her 30 years in the nuclear industry had convinced her it was necessary to fight with the heart as well as the head…….
The ability to be more persuasive becomes even more important given the momentum of the global movement to combat climate change by limiting or even closing down the coal industry. That means the protesters’ targets have changed.
Although Guthrie is sure environmental activism will return to her industry, she said uranium was going through a “quiescent” period while coal and coal seam took the heat. For the first time, there were no protesters outside last year’s annual uranium conference……
The companies are now slowly becoming more attuned to the need for this and using social media themselves. But so far there seems little enthusiasm for the sort of people-focused, soft big advertising campaign that helped put the industry’s case against the mining tax. …..
As a sign of the mood of the times, industry fund Auscoal Super, with more than $9 billion in assets and 76,000 mining industry members, says it’s changing its name to Mine Wealth+Wellbeing. Consider it the triumph of marketing over reality.http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/big-miners-need-to-win-hearts-and-minds-in-fight-against-environmental-activism-20150603-ghg1n5
A genuine commitment to volunteerism would require providing affected communities with ample time to deliberate on their willingness to host or live near a facility through publishing the full list of nominated sites.
Although the government stresses that it does not want to impose a nuclear waste facility on any community, there is no guarantee that this Government (or a future one) will not revert to earlier habits of trying to do so. Community consent is in fact not a prerequisite for its siting decision.
WA actually has state legislation in place prohibiting the storage of radioactive waste from outside the state. This means that, although the National Radioactive Waste Management Act gives the Minister the right to override state legislation, the voluntary and democratic aspects of the WA nominations are highly compromised.
Don’t waste the homelands: community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump in WA http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17346
|By Anica Niepraschk , 15 May 2015 Western Australian iron ore company Ginbalbie Metals’ nomination of a section of its land to host Australia’s proposed radioactive waste management facility comes as the third known nomination in WA. The two-month nomination period for the project closed on May 5.Another known nomination comes from a landowner in Leonora, against local opposition but supported by Leonora Shire. The Shire had been keen on nominating freehold land itself but could not identify any suitable land.
The third revealed nomination from WA involves land in Kanpa, near Warburton in the eastern part of the state, and lacks support from the Ngaanyatjarra elders.
Similarly, Ginbalbie Metals’s nomination of a land near Badga station in the mid west of the state faces opposition from the traditional custodians of the land. Neither the local community nor Yalgoo shire had been consulted on the nomination. The site is even subject of a current native title claim by the Widi Native Title Claimant Group. The group expressed its strong opposition to Federal Industry Minister Macfarlane, stating that ‘the proponent has displayed an appalling level of disrespect’ for the traditional owners by failing to consult them. They generally reject radioactive waste dumps and uranium mining on their homelands. Continue reading
Ben 14 May 15 As a resident of the midwest and has lived and worked on and around the area of Badja Station, I am totally against this idea in our back yard.
I as a former employee, have contributed to the success of GML during the exploration stages of the Karrara mining operation.
Thanks to that I got to see and feel this country and now regret the destruction that has already occurred
So I as one individual totally reject GML nominating this area as a facility for radioactive waste storage which will inevitably lead to establishing a much larger facility to accommodate international nuclear waste for avery handsome $$ profit to those involved.
NO PANGEA HERE !!! Please.
I hope and wish the Widi people are successful in their claim of native title of this area. It is beautiful country, surrounded by at least six vibrant, active towns / communities well within a 150km radius of the proposed radioactive waste dump as well as numerous exploration (because of the mineral wealth) and tourist activities in the area, not forgetting those living off and trying to protect this area
I object to, and will support anyone against, this proposal.
Melbourne city centre blocked by protests over closure of Indigenous communities – as it happened, Guardian, Helen Davidson @heldavidson 1 May 15 [excellent report and pictures]
Thousands of people joined rallies in towns and cities around Australia and overseas to protest against threatened withdrawal of funding from remote communities Tens of thousands have attended reportedly peaceful rallies across Australia and New Zealand, protesting against the threat of closure of remote communities in Western Australia.
The largest rallies in Melbourne and Sydney began at 4pm, severely disrupting Friday peak hour traffic. The Melbourne rally blocked a major intersection and Flinders st Station. Protesters intend to move to Kings Domain where they will set up a makeshift camp for two nights.
Some protesters in Sydney have moved on to the Redfern Aboriginal tent embassy after thousands walked down Sydney’s George St, delaying some public transport.
Between 500 and 1000 attended a Perth rally, as well as thousands more across Sydney, Canberra, Darwin, Adelaide, Alice Springs, and 1,000 in four New Zealand cities. …..http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2015/may/01/protests-at-proposed-closure-of-remote-indigenous-communities-live
International call not to sell uranium to India http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/international-call-not-sell-uranium-india April 15, 2015
The call comes as Australian nuclear free campaigners join Indigenous landowners affected by uranium projects to present at the World Uranium Symposium in Québec.
The conference takes place against the backdrop of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s trip New Delhi to advance planned uranium sales.
“Canada and Australia should show responsibility restraint and prudence, as India has been criticised widely over the safety, security and transparency of its nuclear industry,” ACF’s Dave Sweeney said. “Australia and Canada should not rush into uranium sales agreements with India while serious concerns about safety and security remain unresolved.”
Australia’s controversial uranium deal with India has been widely criticised, including by former safeguards director John Carlson, who was for two decades head of Australia’s safeguards regime and was a keen nuclear promoter. Mr Carlson has raised concernsthat the new treaty’s administrative arrangements could substantially depart from Australia’s usual safeguards conditions, meaning Australia may be unable to keep track of what happens to uranium supplied to India.
Speaking from Québec ACF’s Dave Sweeney called on the Canadian and Australian governments not to further fuel instability in South Asia by selling uranium into the already volatile region.
“Uranium is not like other minerals. It is the fuel for nuclear weapons and creates carcinogenic waste that lasts for thousands of years,” he said. “Fuelling danger and instability in India is not in the interests of Canada or Australia.”
Canadian company Cameco is behind plans for two controversial uranium mines in Western Australia – Kintyre in the Pilbara and Yeelirrie in the Northern Goldfields, which will be at the forefront of issues raised by the Australian delegation alongside the emerging issues with the South Australian Royal Commission into the nuclear industry.
The Symposium will examine the human and environmental impacts of the industry, with the Australian delegation presenting sessions on the nuclear fuel chain legacy in Australia, Indigenous Rights and the nuclear fuel chain and the intergenerational health impacts of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
The Symposium will be followed by the 5th International Uranium Film Festival, which will feature the Australian film “Protecting Manuwangku”, documenting the successful struggle of Warlmanpa Traditional Owners to stop a national radioactive dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
Follow the tour via the ANFA website and via twitter on #uranium2015.
The Australian delegation includes:
• Barb Shaw, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Alice Springs)
“Nationally we meet once a year with common issues on common ground, we’re now taking that internationally where people are fighting and struggling with the same things we’re facing back at home. My expectations for the next few days is networking and sharing solutions”
• Peter Watts, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Arabunna Nation)
“What we’re digging up at home has consequences for every corner of the globe. I’m devastated that the uranium dug up from our country has such far reaching consequences globally, not just locally”
• Debbie Carmody, Tjuma Pulka Radio Station Kalgoorlie (Anangu/Spinifex)
“People don’t always connect the mining with the end result, for example, what has happened at Fukushima”
• Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation
“People from all around the world are in Canada sharing stories about the dangers and the environmental impacts of all aspects of the nuclear trade. From the land of the maple leaf to the land of the gum leaf, there is no place for the nuclear trade. It is not sustainable and it is not welcome.”
• Gem Romuld, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
• Marcus Atkinson, Footprints for Peace, Anti-nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
Voters reject Premier Jay Weatherill’s agenda to transform the state, Adelaide Advertiser PAUL STARICK THE ADVERTISER MARCH 13, 2015 A majority of respondents reject plans to switch South Australia’s time zone, downgrade hospital emergency departments, create more “super” schools, expand the nuclear industry and overhaul tax…….
Key findings of the survey, which involved people being interviewed at numerous times and locations across metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA, were:
ALMOST 70 per cent opposed furthering SA’s role in the nuclear industry, including a power station, waste dump or enrichment facility…..
the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting radioactive waste storage in SA.
Submission on draft Terms of Reference to the SA Royal Commission on our role in nuclear energy
The draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission are heavily leaning in favour of new nuclear ventures rather than investigating the issue impartially:
The first paragraph includes supportive phrases like:
“whether there is any potential for the expansion”
”any circumstances necessary for such an increase”
“opportunities created by expanding”
“the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate that
increase in activity”
This is balanced by just one cautious phrase:
“any risks … created by expanding”
The other paragraphs of the draft ToR’s show a similar imbalance.
I request that the ToR’s be expanded to explicitly include
Public and Workers’ Health
Impacts on Freedom and Democracy
Nuclear versus Alternative energy sources – comparison of cost and risks
The reasons are in short:
It is well known that the nuclear industry involves severe dangers from radiation exposure. Radiation can not be perceived by any of the human senses. The health consequences of exposure to radiation are,
in most cases, experienced much later when no connection to the exposure is drawn.
Furthermore, nuclear ventures are characterised by the potential for severest nuclear accidents and incidents like The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where hundreds of thousands of inhabitants were incinerated in an instant or slowly died from burns, cancers …
The explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Scientists using mainly epidemiological data have shown that by 2004 already 1 million people had died from the consequences of the accident. This number is growing.
The meltdown of four Fukushima reactors fuelled by Australian uranium.
The resulting contamination of our oceans, especially the Pacific Ocean, is steadily increasing.
Uranium mining in Australia has a deadly impact on mine workers, nearby residents and, most of all, on future generations.
For decades Australian governments have refused to establish a database for uranium mine workers’ health, and the currently partially established database seems skewed like the draft terms of this Royal
It seems mining companies are now using highly sensitive blood tests to detect cancers and weakened defences against cancers early, and then simply terminate employment.
Much worse than the impact on mine workers will be the impact on future generations using contaminated groundwater and/or being exposed to radioactive dust storms dispersing the fine radioactive materials in tailings dams.
This is compounded by the fact that the hazards of radiation and the proper maintenance of radiation hot spots will be forgotten within a few hundred years. Already today local kids and tourists are swimming in contaminated mining dams.
The Impacts on Freedom and Democracy stem mainly from the strong public opposition to any nuclear industries and the subsequent attempts by governments to quell that opposition.
This happened when the French government developed its vast nuclear industry: Widespread opposition and protests were suffocated by horrendous police brutality permanently damaging French democracy.
In South Australia, police brutality led to the locking up of peaceful protesters in a shipping container at the Beverley uranium mine site – in full sun, for hours without water and toilets. This resulted in a
million dollar court verdict against the South Australian government, i.e. the SA taxpayer.
Those responsible for ignoring the public’s opposition to uranium mining and approving the hazardous mine, for brutally suffocating peaceful protests with methods akin to torture, they were neither jailed nor fined.
Another SA example of destructive impacts of nuclear industries on freedom and democracy is the special status of the Olympic Dam mine: A number of public rights have been suspended for the mine.
For example FoI: The SA government is not allowed to pass on information from the mine without the consent of the mine. This is highly relevant when it comes to the frequent accidents and incidents
at the site. I remember two major fires of very large storage ponds for used process chemicals (kerosene and the like) and numerous pipes resulting in a plum of thick smoke passing over SA. There was very
little or no reliable information available about the radioactive contents of the smoke.
Further, Aboriginal heritage protection and certain environmental regulations have been suspended for the Olympic Dam uranium mine.
And finally, the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting radioactive waste storage in SA.
Minister approves uranium mine threat to National Park The states peak environment group, the Conservation Council of WA, has condemned the decision by Environment Minister Albert Jacob to approve the Kintyre uranium mine proposal in an excised area from WA’s biggest National Park, Karlamilyi.
Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council said “The Kintyre uranium proposal directly threatens the unique desert environment of the Karlamilyi National Park, the intricate water network of the Karlamilyi River water catchment and many endangered and threatened species.”
“This decision shows a weakening of standards for environmental protection and is a reminder that uranium and other environmentally significant and dangerous projects must retain Federal oversight under the EPBC Act, something both Governments are trying axe.”
Mia Pepper, Nuclear Free Campaigner of the Conservation Council of WA said “In an attempt to gain public support for uranium this Government is desperately trying to ‘normalise’ uranium. But uranium is not like any other mineral; it is radioactive and poses a significant and long term risk to the environment and public health. It is the asbestos of the 21st century and we cannot afford to treat it like any other mineral.”
“This decision is just one of many still needed before construction could begin at the proposed mine. This is a bad deal but not a done deal and we will continue to explore every avenue possible to challenge this uranium proposal.”
“Cameco the proponent of the Kintyre uranium mine has a shocking operating record overseas we will be watching their every move here and internationally, uniting with other communities that have been negatively impacted by this company.” Ms Pepper concluded.
Community opposition to Yeelirrie uranium mining should influence EPA’s assessment of Cameco’s plans
Conservation council highlights opposition to Yeelirrie uranium mine bid http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-10/conservation-council-highlights-opposition-to/5957632
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is currently assessing the company’s plans to mine uranium at Yeelirrie, an open pit mine site 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna.
The EPA approved a similar proposal for the same project submitted by BHP Billiton in 2010, before it was sold to Cameco in 2012.
The council’s Mia Pepper said a public inquiry into the project was needed.
She said traditional owners and locals in the area had opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for 40 years.
“Yeelirrie in the traditional language means place of death which is a strong indication about local knowledge and there’s also white communities there that have opposed the project for over 40 years,” she said.
Red Cross research shows 80% of Australians want legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons
Aussies Want Nuclear Weapons Ban – NFP Report http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/12/aussies-want-nuclear-weapons-ban-nfp-report#, December 2, 2014 More than 80 per cent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons, according to new research on attitudes towards nuclear weapons released by Australian Red Cross.
The survey found an overwhelming majority – 84 per cent – of the 1,001 Australians interviewed in the nation-wide survey feel the world would be a safer place if there were no nuclear weapons.
“A resounding 88 per cent said there would be no winners in a nuclear war given the devastating humanitarian consequences that would result. People over 65 were significantly more likely to feel there would be no winners in a nuclear war,” Australian Red Cross said.
“The message from the Australian community is clear,” Australian Red Cross’ CEO Robert Tickner said.
“It’s time for the international community to create a treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons and ensure they are not passed as an inheritance of horror to future generations.
“Even a limited nuclear war would have immense human, environmental and agricultural destructive consequences transcending national boundaries. This situation would be beyond the power of governments and aid agencies to respond with any meaningful humanitarian assistance.”
Since their first use in Hiroshima in August 1945, Red Cross Red Crescent has voiced deep humanitarian concerns about nuclear weapons.
“While other weapons such as chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions have been conclusively dealt with by international treaties, nuclear weapons have not,” the humanitarian NFP said.
“The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has been appealing to Governments to prohibit the use of and eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement for some time.
Movement representatives – including Australian Red Cross delegates – will join Governments and non-governmental organisations from around the world on 8 and 9 December when they come together in Vienna to further examine the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
Key Survey Findings
· 81 per cent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons.
· 84 per cent feel the world would be a safer place if there were no nuclear weapons.
· 88 per cent said there would be no winners in a nuclear war given the devastating humanitarian consequences.
· 43 per cent rate the risk of an accidental explosion or intentional use of a nuclear weapon as high or medium.