Nuclear submarine option pushed by industry Financial Review by John Kerin, 24 Mar 15, Australia’s peak defence industry group has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reconsider buying or leasing a nuclear submarine fleet to replace the ageing Collins class, saying the absence of a supporting domestic nuclear power industry no longer presents a hurdle.
Australian Industry Group Defence Council chairman Chris Jenkins, who is also the Australian chief of French industry giant Thales, said today’s submarine nuclear power plants were so efficient and required so little maintenance that an onshore nuclear power industry was hardly a requirement.
He said nuclear submarine powerplant technology was constantly improving and you would need a trained workforce but not necessarily a power industry to support it.
The defence council is the peak body representing the’s $8 billion 24,000 strong defence sector. “That’s been said [you need a nuclear power industry] but I think nuclear energy these days is much more modularised than people think….like anything else [the submarine] powerplant is manageable,” Mr Jenkins said.
“The idea of a nuclear industry as a fundamental necessity, I am not convinced, but I did think it was quite a good thing that there was a call for a really deep review from South Australia in to nuclear energy,” Mr Jenkins said.
Mr Jenkins was referring to a royal commission called by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill into the development of nuclear power.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews will deliver the opening address at a major two-day summit on Australia’s Future Submarine, where experts are expected to fiercely debate the competitive evaluation process given ongoing concerns over the future of Adelaide based ASC and jobs in Adelaide……..
the French firm DCNS has offered a diesel powered version of its 5000 tonne Barracuda submarine.The nuclear version of the Barracuda will be in service with the French Navy from 2017.
But its understood DCNS could offer the nuclear version of the Barracuda from around 2030 if Canberra wished to go down that route……..
Mr Jenkins said. “Given the concern over jobs, South Australia should be as keen to know the answer as anyone because it would undoubtedly be the centre of Australia’s nuclear industry,” he said. http://www.afr.com/news/politics/nuclear-submarine-option-pushed-by-industry-20150324-1m5cpx
Dennis Matthews, 20 Mar 15 It’s not difficult to find out that the world’s nuclear waste is not neatly segregated into “military” and “non-military”. The processes that create the waste, such as separating out the various isotopes of uranium, chemical processing prior to this separation, and the processing of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors all occur at facilities that service both the nuclear weapons and the nuclear power industries.
Weatherill’s Royal Commission has been charged with looking into importing nuclear waste but has been explicitly told not to include nuclear use for military or defence purposes. If the Commission doesn’t study the close physical connection between the military and non-military uses then it is closing its mind to one of the reasons why South Australia shouldn’t have anything to do with the nuclear industry.
It’s pretty obvious that Weatherill and the nuclear lobby don’t want to look into this because it would inevitably lead to a result that they don’t want to know about. More the pity for South Australia.
Study says SA plan would lift nuclear latency Sky News , 11 March 2015 South Australian plans for a nuclear industry would take Australia well down the path to a nuclear weapons capability, a new study says.
That’s termed ‘nuclear latency’ – the potential for a country to build atomic bombs.
‘The recent move by the South Australian government to examine nuclear industry development options would contribute significantly to Australia’s own nuclear latency,’ said analyst Michael Malyshev in a paper released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute………
Mr Malyshev said that in the 1960s, US president John F. Kennedy expressed fear that 20-30 countries could develop nuclear weapons in a few years as nuclear knowledge and technology became more widely available.
To keep track, various international watchdogs such as the International Atomic Energy Agency established the concept of nuclear latency.
No developed nation has zero latency and about four dozen countries have significant nuclear latency. Most, including Australia, are also signatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr Malyshev said nuclear watchdogs and other entities, including intelligence services, needed to remain vigilant.
The Australian government faces a moment of truth – will we continue to hide behind the myth of “extended nuclear deterrence”, willing to risk our true security and the incineration of millions in our name, or will we finally step up and get on the right side of history?
Malcolm Fraser was prime minister from 1975 to 1983. Tilman Ruff is Associate Professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health.
2015 is the year to ban nuclear weapons http://www.theage.com.au/comment/2015-is-the-year-to-ban-nuclear-weapons-20150219-13jali.html February 19, 2015 Malcolm Fraser and Tilman Ruff
Australian uranium might end up in the hands of India as part of the country’s nuclear weapons program. Two experts on nuclear power believe the concessions agreed between the two nations could lead to this scenario.
Ronald Walker, a former Australian ambassador and chairman of the international Atomic Energy Agency, said the Abbott government’s deal to sell the country’s uranium to India has “drastically changed” Australia’s longstanding policy on safeguards. He added that the agreement has risked countries playing with nuclear weapons, reports The Guardian.
Risk of nuclear weapons building
Walker told a hearing of the parliamentary joint standing committee on treaties that deal with India is different from Australia’s 23 other uranium export deals. He believes the uranium agreement between Australia and India will only cause damage to the non-proliferation regime………. John Carlson, the head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office between 1989 and 2010, shares the same view with Walker. He said it would be inexcusable for Australia to push through with the agreement. According to the provisions of the deal, Australian material can be used to make unsafeguarded plutonium that may potentially end up in India’s nuclear weapon program……..http://au.ibtimes.com/risk-australian-uranium-indian-nuclear-weapons-spark-worries-1421523
A former Australian diplomat and chairman of the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), Ronald Walker, said the agreement to sell uranium to India “drastically changes longstanding policy” on safeguards and risked playing “fast and loose” with nuclear weapons.
It differed substantially from Australia’s 23 other uranium export deals and “would do damage to the non-proliferation regime”, Walker told a hearing of the parliamentary joint standing committee on treaties this week.
The prime minister signed an agreement to make Australia a “long-term, reliable supplier of uranium to India” in Delhi in September, but the terms of the deal are yet to be endorsed by the committee.
Walker’s concerns were echoed by John Carlson, the head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (Asno) between 1989 and 2010, who said proceeding with the agreement would be “inexcusable”.
Its provisions meant Australian material “could be used to produce unsafeguarded plutonium that ends up in India’s nuclear weapon program”, Carlson said………… Continue reading
Lingering impact of British nuclear tests in the Australian outback http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30640338 Jon DonnisonSydney correspondent 1 Jan 2015, “It seems remarkable today but less than 60 years ago, Britain was exploding nuclear bombs in the middle of Australia. In the mid-1950s, seven bombs were tested at Maralinga in the south-west Australian outback. The combined force of the weapons doubled that of the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in World War Two.
In archive video footage, British and Australian soldiers can be seen looking on, wearing short sleeves and shorts and doing little to protect themselves other than turning their backs and covering their eyes with their hands.
Some reported the flashes of the blasts being so bright that they could see the bones of their fingers, like x-rays as they pressed against their faces.Much has been written about the health problems suffered by the servicemen as a result of radiation poisoning.
Far less well-documented is the plight of the Aboriginal people who were living close to Maralinga at the time.
“Every night I cry for them,” Hilary Williams tells me as she sits around a campfire for an impromptu picnic of kangaroo tails laid on for our visit.
Her mother and grandparents all witnessed at least one of the explosions from just a few kilometres away.
Ms Williams said all three of them died young after suffering lung problems.
“It’s so sad. They’re not here anymore,” she said, adding that she had heart problems she believes were also linked to the bombs.Locals around Maralinga spoke about a black mist of radioactive dust over their communities following the explosions.
“A lot of people got sick and died,” said Mima Smart, an aboriginal community leader.
“It was like a cancer on them. People were having lung disease, liver problems, and kidney problems. A lot of them died,” she said, adding that communities around Maralinga have been paid little by way of compensation……….
Robin Matthews, caretaker of the Maralinga Nuclear Test Site. “They thought they’d pick a supposedly uninhabited spot out in the Australian desert. Only they got it wrong. There were people here.”
During the 1960s and 70s, there were several large clean-up operations to try and decontaminate the site. All the test buildings and equipment were destroyed and buried. Large areas of the surface around the blast sites was also scraped up and buried.
But Mr Matthews said the clean-up, as well as the tests themselves, were done very much behind closed doors with a high level of secrecy. “You’ve got to remember that this was during the height of the Cold War. The British were terrified that Russian spies might try and access the site,” he said.
The indigenous communities say many locals involved in the clean-up operation also got sick..
Maralinga has long been declared safe. There are even plans to open up the site to tourism. But it was only a few months ago that the last of the land was finally handed back to the Aboriginal people. Most, though, say they have no desire to return there.
Mima Smart told me she regards Maralinga as sick land. “I don’t want to go back. Too many bad memories.”
And even almost 60 years on, the land still hasn’t recovered. Huge concrete plinths mark the spots where each of the bombs was detonated.
Around each, the blast area would have stretched for several kilometres.The orangey red soil of the outback sparkles strangely green.If you look closely, you can see the ground is covered with what looks like broken glass, where the soil got so hot it literally melted and turned to silicon.
And even after all this time, the natural vegetation still won’t grow back. “The grass here only ever grows a few inches,” said Mr Matthews. “Even the birds and the kangaroos still stay clear of this area.”
More than half a century on, most people here still regard Maralinga as a dark chapter in British Australian history
Hawke government schemed to stymie Maralinga nuclear test compensation, cabinet documents reveal http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/hawke-government-schemed-to-stymie-maralinga-nuclear-test-compensation-cabinet-documents-reveal/story-fni6uo1m-1227171284110 PETER JEAN POLITICAL REPORTER THE ADVERTISER JAN 1, 2015 THE statute of limitations was invoked by the Hawke Government to prevent hundreds of compensation actions being pursued in court by veterans of British nuclear tests in Australia.
Government documents from 1988 and 1989 released by the National Archives of Australia reveal that cabinet decided to try and invoke time-limit rules to fight court compensation actions launched after 1988. Continue reading
The 16,000 Australian service men involved in the tests were sworn to secrecy by ASIO agents under the threat of jail. The general population was made part a large secret experiment to see whether the human race could survive a nuclear attack.
This book is also a warning for the present. Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to create a nuclear waste dump in central Australia to bring in millions of dollars. The Australian people must be vigilant and active as our governments and politicians cannot be trusted.
Australia’s two decades as a radioactive laboratory https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57965, December 8, 2014 By Coral Wynter The British government, with the complicity of the Menzies government, used Australia as a laboratory to test the short and long-term effects of exposure to radioactivity.
Maralinga: The Chilling Expose of Our Secret Nuclear Shame & Betrayal of Our Troops & Country By Frank Walker Hachette, 2014
Frank Walker, who worked as a journalist for Australian and international publications for 38 years, was talking to his daughter’s university friends one day and discovered they had no idea atomic bombs had been exploded in Australia.
In fact, 12 had ― excluding the 300-600 minor trials at Maralinga, Emu Field, both in the South Australian desert, and Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast.
Walker had been interviewing soldiers, navy and air force victims and decided to expose the veil of secrecy on their ghastly experiences.
The atomic tests began in 1952 and continued until 1957. However, minor trials with dirty radioactive clouds, and uranium and plutonium waste, did not stop until 1963.
The British government, with the total complicity of the then-Menzies government, used Australian land and people as a laboratory to test the short and long-term effects of exposure to radioactivity. Continue reading
Australian support for France’s nuclear force, Islands Business, By Nic Maclellan , 27 Nov In his final press conference during his state visit to Australia, French President Francois Hollande praised the contribution of Australian companies to France’s nuclear strike force. However the full translation of these comments went missing from the transcript published by Prime Minister Abbott’s office.
Standing beside Tony Abbott at a joint press conference in Canberra on 19 November, French President Francois Hollande highlighted the important collaboration of French and Australian corporations in the defence sector.
Speaking in French, he stated: “We are allies as well through our defence industries, because we manufacture – our French and Australian companies manufacture – processes, notably for the most essential equipment for the French strategic force, the French nuclear force, a part of this equipment is manufactured here in Australia.”
Hollande’s endorsement of the contribution by Australian corporations to France’s nuclear strike capacity can be seen on the video released by the French Presidential Palace (quote starts at 9:03 minutes): http://www.elysee.fr/videos/conference-de-presse-conjointe-avec-m-tony-abbott-premier-ministre-de-l-australie/
However, when you go to the English-language transcript of the press conference on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s website, part of the translation is missing. There’s a reference to “France’s strategic strength”, but the words “the French nuclear strike force” are nowhere to be found!
Maybe the word “nuclear” brings back memories of Moruroa Atoll and the Rainbow Warrior, and the tense relationship between the two countries during thirty years of French nuclear testing in the south Pacific.
Hollande’s formal state visit – the first ever by a French President – was supposed to transcend past rivalries. Media coverage of the President’s visit highlighted joint action on trade and terrorism, the emotional link of Villers-Bretonneux and the slaughter of World War One diggers in France. But both governments are reluctant to talk about modern strategic warfare.
France resists international calls for comprehensive disarmament negotiations and maintains a significant nuclear arsenal, with an estimated 300 nuclear warheads. Successive Australian governments also refuse to criticise extended nuclear deterrence. Last October, 155 countries endorsed a New Zealand statement to the United Nations on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war. Canberra refused to sign on and put forward a counter-resolution, a worrying diplomatic stand as we move towards the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, to be held in Vienna on 8-9 December……….http://www.islandsbusiness.com/news/australia/6411/australian-support-for-frances-nuclear-force/
Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.
The protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the federal government’s $101 billion Future Fund invests more than $260 million in foreign companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and that figure has increased by $33 million since last June)…….. Continue reading
Secret Outback nuclear testing site handed back to traditional land owners 50 years after British did HUNDREDS of nuclear tests causing fatal radiation poisoning
- The British nuclear testing site in outback Australia has been returned to its Aboriginal owners
- Seven atomic bombs were detonated on ‘Section 400′ in the 1950s
- There were also about 600 smaller nuclear tests on the area
- The land traditionally belonged to the Maralinga-Tjarutja community
- Britain’s nuclear tests in Australia caused widespread radiation poisoning
- Aborigines and Australian and UK soldiers suffered disease and death
- Radioactive fallout in remote Australia was three time greater than predicted
- Australia spent $100 million cleaning up the traditional lands
- The government held on to the 1782sq km testing range until this week
By CANDACE SUTTON FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and AAP, 6 November 2014……………………Hundreds of nuclear trials were carried out. Britain dropped twelve nuclear bombs at Maralinga, and then went on to test nuclear warheads.
Although many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their land, more than a thousand were directly affected.
The widespread radioactive fallout of the bombs across the environment, which the local Aboriginal people called ‘puyu’ or ‘black mist’, caused disease and death……..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2822906/Secret-nuclear-testing-site-Australian-outback-known-Section-400-finally-handed-Aboriginal-traditional-land-owners-50-years-British-dropped-atomic-bombs-causing-radiation-poisoning-death.html
Uranium the Silent Killer By Hilary Tyler
http://www.pozible.com/project/187985 The story of the project At the ANFA (Australia Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in Oct 2014 Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests in the 1950’s and 1960’s. See https://ausnukefreealliance.wordpress.com for the meeting statement.
Permission was never sort from the Aboriginal nations.
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we’re all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It’s still around.” Sue Coleman-Haseldine (Kokatha Mula – Ceduna)
From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites.
In November 2014 there will be a 3 week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna, and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fall out and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.
For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see http://www.icanw.org/au/
Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.
“I’ve lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.”
Aunty Martha – Arabana (Lake Eyre) Contact us at: email@example.com
Backgrounder: Why was Maralinga used for secret nuclear tests?SBS News 5 Nov 14 “…….
The nuclear testings lead to widespread dispersion of radioactive material in the local environment. The Anangu Aboriginal people who lived the area called it “puyu” or “black mist”.
UK servicemen, Australian soldiers and civilians, including Indigenous people, were all exposed to radiation. Illnesses reportedly included cancer, blood diseases, eye problems, skin rashes, blindness, vomitting, which are all symptoms of radioactive poisoning.
Between 1953 and 1957, two nuclear devices were detonated at Emu and seven at Maralinga, the Department of Industry reported. According to the Australian Radiationn Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) these “major trials” have largely decayed and are “no longer a significant health risk” as these nuclear devices were conducted at higher altitudes (from balloons).
However, the biggest cause of contamination was from “minor trials”, which were weapons development trials that investigated the performance of various components of a nuclear device. Although minor trials didn’t involve nuclear explosions, they did contain radioactive material.
Since contamination remains on or close to the ground surface, there is a significant health risk for locals. Three sites, Taranaki, TM100/101 (TMs), and Wewak remained highly contaminated with plutonium 40 years later……..
Were victims compensated by the British government?
Aboriginal people exposed to British nuclear tests in South Australia during the 1950s are being told they have no hope of compensation. British firm Hickman and Rose had hoped to represent more than 150 civilians, if a huge class action by 1,000 British veterans had succeeded.
But the class action was blocked – the UK Supreme Court ruling that 60 years after the event their claims were too late, the causes of their illnesses apparently unprovable. (Read the full judgment here)
The Australian Greens’ nuclear spokesman Scott Ludlam said the dangers of radiation are well known and it’s unfair to ask Aboriginal people with scant medical records to prove a direct link between exposure to fallout and subsequent sickness.
“The British courts have blocked the application from Defence personnel and Aboriginal people in central Australia by saying you can’t prove those radiations exposures are what caused your illness,” he said. “Now, we know that ionising radiation is harmful for health – we know that for a fact. The right thing for the British Government to do is make an Act of Grace payment to the people who they injured in their nuclear weapons tests.”
In response, UK Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans Minister of State Mark Francois said: “[The] Ministry of Defence’s position with respect to paying compensation is unchanged. I am sorry to have to send a disappointing reply, but I hope I have explained the reasons for doing so.”……http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/11/05/backgrounder-why-was-maralinga-used-secret-nuclear-tests
British Nuclear Test Site Returned To Aborigines, Yahoo News UK 5 Nov 14 A former British nuclear test site in the depths of the Australian outback has finally been handed back to its Aboriginal owners after more than half a century.
Codenamed Section 400, the secret Cold War atomic weapons testing base was used in the 1950s and 60s and covered 1,782 square kilometres (688 square miles) of remote South Australia.
Now the Australian Government has formally given the site at Maralinga back to its traditional owners, the Maralinga Tjarutja, who hope to turn it into a tourism attraction.
Maralinga Tjarutja general manager Richard Preece says the community is establishing a business to take visitors round the nuclear test sites.
“We’re going to set up bus tours so people can be taken round by Robin (the local caretaker), who is a walking encyclopaedia of Maralinga,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
He added the area still had some contamination but would be safe for visitors if they were escorted………https://uk.news.yahoo.com/british-nuclear-test-returned-aborigines-130655845.html#vPKBkL8