Nuclear Information Centre, Conservation Council of South Australia INTRODUCTION The ways in which a country or state can contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons are many and varied. They include direct and indirect, overt and covert, subtle and not so subtle; the line between contributing and not contributing is fuzzy and elusive. What may be ignored at one time may later be seen to be highly significant.
We will concentrate on the obvious and widely acknowledged contributions.
A successful nuclear weapons program requires:
- A pool of knowledge
- A supply of highly trained specialists
- Research and development
- A source of fissionable material
- The facilities for converting the fissionable material into weapons grade
- Testing of guidance and delivery systems, firing mechanisms, various materials, and complete weapons.
We will limit this article to contributions made in the post-war period 1945 to 1965, which constitutes the first phase of South Australia’s contribution to nuclear weapons proliferation.
History will probably record that the second phase started with the discovery of uranium at Beverly east of Mt. Painter (1969), at Honeymoon about 75 km north-west of Broken Hill (1972), and at Olympic Dam on the Roxby Downs station (1975).
The Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs has been exporting to nuclear weapons states since it began production in 1988. Continue reading
In 2011 the Future Fund barred all investments in companies that manufacture anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, but a loophole remains in the policy allowing the Fund to continue investing in nuclear weapon companies.
Congratulations, Costello – now it’s time to give up the nukes Gem Romuld Outreach Coordinator International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons- Australia 5 February 2014Following yesterday’s announcement that former federal treasurer Peter Costello has been appointed Chair of the government-owned Future Fund, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) calls for a review the Fund’s investments in nuclear weapons companies.
Campaigners from ICAN visited the Fund’s Melbourne headquarters today to deliver a congratulatory card to the new Chair. “We’ve visited Peter Costello on the first day of his new job, to call on him to use his new Chairmanship as an opportunity to steer the Fund out of the nuclear weapons industry”, said ICAN spokesperson Gem Romuld. Continue reading
Compensation plea over nuclear test MIKE DUFFY, 7NEWS SYDNEY 21 Jan 14 A veterans’ support group says it is disgusted by the treatment of sailors left sick with cancer after taking part in nuclear tests in the 1950s.
The conscripts claim they’ve been abandoned despite other servicemen receiving healthcare assistance.Over 60 years ago, back in October 1952, an Australian atomic test gave Britain membership to the nuclear club.
‘What no officer wants to face’ The cloud that appeared over the islands of Monte Bello, off Western Australia’s north coast, was proof Britain had the bomb.
Operation Hurricane was a major operation for the Australian Navy, but not everyone involved knew what they were in for.
Michael Rowe was a teenager, a conscripted national serviceman on HMAS Murchison.“When we got there we didn’t know why we were there,” he said.
“Then one morning we were told to assemble on deck we were going to witness the first British atomic bomb explosion. So we did as we were told and assembled on deck in fully protective outfits of sandals and shorts. “Knowing what we know now, they wouldn’t have had us there exposed as we were.”
Since speaking to 7News, Michael has sadly passed away, claimed by a cancer he believed was caused by radiation.
He lobbied for the same healthcare assistance afforded to those veterans judged to be closer to the blast.
Veterans activist Sandy Godfrey said:” These are the forgotten veterans of Australia who have just been ignored by the government.”……..http://aunews.yahoo.com/nsw/a/20893335/veterans-plea/news.yahoo.com/nsw/a/20893335/veterans-plea/
Independent senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon plans to step up pressure this year to ensure those affected by the nuclear tests can be compensated properly.
UK opposed compensation for Maralinga nuclear victims BRENDAN NICHOLSON DEFENCE EDITOR THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 01, 2014 THE Anangu Aboriginal people who inhabited the Maralinga area of South Australia called it ”puyu” or ”black mist” the dirt that rolled across the landscape and sickened, blinded and killed them.
As the Hawke government faced growing pressure for fair compensation for those affected by fallout from the British nuclear bomb test program at Maralinga and Emu fields and the Monte Bello Islands between 1952 and 1963, it ran into strong opposition from United Kingdom officials. Continue reading
Why cabinet sought only a partial clean-up of British nuclear test site Archives give new insight into Hawke government’s response to royal commission on weapons testing in Maralinga region Paul Chadwick theguardian.com, Wednesday 1 January 2014
- Gareth Evans, the energy minister at the time, said ‘a non-confrontational approach’ had been adopted in dealing with the Thatcher government.
The complete rehabilitation of areas of Australia used to test British nuclear weapons may not be possible, the Hawke cabinet was advised in 1986.
Cabinet was warned that a full clean-up may have been more expensive than the British government would be willing to contemplate, according to documents released this week by theNational Archives.
They provide new insights into the Hawke government’s response to the recommendations of the McClelland royal commission into British nuclear tests in Australia. Continue reading
Cabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, ”……….. Decontaminating radioactive sites The McClelland royal commission on British nuclear tests in Australia had recommended that the Maralinga and Emu test sites should be decontaminated to a standard suitable for unrestricted habitation by the traditional owners.
But a technical assessment group found that even the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars would not achieve complete decontamination.
The Resources and Energy Minister, Senator Gareth Evans, recommended that Cabinet consider the lesser option of decontamination sufficient to allow casual access to a larger area than was currently permissible. This option might cost between $20 and $30 million, “much more within the ball park that the UK Government is likely, on present indications, to be prepared to contemplate”.
Cabinet also decided that compensation claims for diseases that might have been caused by radiation would be resisted if the Commonwealth did not believe that a liability existed……….
Traditional owners had been dispersed to Yalata and the Pitjantjatjara lands in South Australia and Coonana in Western Australia. Cabinet allocated an initial $500,000 for projects of lasting and general community benefit…….. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cabinet-papers-198687-the-struggle-for-indigenous-land-rights-20131228-3017r.html
18 December 2013 Following today’s announcement that former federal treasurer Peter Costello will become acting chair of the government-owned Future Fund, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has called on the fund to broaden its policy against investments in controversial weapons.
In 2011 the Future Fund barred all investments in companies that manufacture anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, but a loophole remains in the policy allowing the fund to continue investing in nuclear weapon companies. Although these stocks represent a small portion of the fund’s overall holdings, they pose a significant reputational risk. Continue reading
The bitter reality is that because of its willingness to support and assist deployment, targeting and potential use of US nuclear weapons, Australia is more part of the problem, holding back disarmament, than it is working for the solution”.
NO-NUKE AUSTRALIA THWARTS NUCLEAR FREE WORLD BY NEENA BHANDARI* | IDN-INDEPTH NEWSANALYSIS SYDNEY (IDN) – 17 Dec 13 Australia has been expressing support for a nuclear weapons-free world, but documents obtained by disarmament advocacy group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), reveal that the Australian Government sees the increasing international focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons as “rubbing up against” its reliance on the United States nuclear weapons.
ICAN has obtained declassified diplomatic cables, ministerial briefings and emails under freedom-of-information laws, which show that the Australian Government plans to oppose efforts to ban nuclear weapons. Continue reading
they’ve been treated like second-class citizens.
”This really is disgusting. How is it that these people, subject to the fury of a nuclear blast, aren’t even entitled to a gold card for their medical treatment as other veterans are?”
AUDIO Aussie nuclear veterans ‘disgusted’ by bid failure http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/12/17/aussie-nuclear-veterans-disgusted-bid-failure Australian veterans of British nuclear tests say they’re disgusted by the latest setback to their campaign for compensation. (Transcript from World News Australia Radio) Australia’s Human Rights Commission has decided it can’t consider the case of the 300 veterans because the matter is out of its jurisdiction.
The decision has left the veterans’ lawyers saying it’s the end of their campaign.
Murray Silby spoke to some of the veterans, including Avon Hudson “They’ll act with extreme disgust at the government and the Human Rights Commission. I mean we shouldn’t wait on the Human Rights Commission. This should have been addressed by governments of the past, but given the Human Rights heard this I have no time for the Human Rights (Commission) now.”
Avon Hudson says he and his fellow veterans have lost faith in a system that should have protected their rights.”I don’t know anybody that was there when I served there that hasn’t had either cancer or some other illness induced by radiation. Continue reading
NO-NUKE AUSTRALIA THWARTS NUCLEAR FREE WORLD BY NEENA BHANDARI* | IDN-INDEPTH NEWSANALYSIS
SYDNEY (IDN) – 17 Dec 13 “…..Defence cooperation sans nukes possible “To make matters worse, Australia’s increasing military involvement with the US is making particularly the huge and expanding military spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs an even higher priority nuclear target in the event of any war the US gets embroiled in with China or any other nuclear armed state,” Ruff, who is also co-president International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, told IDN.
New Zealand’s healthy and growing defence cooperation with the US makes plain that it is perfectly feasible for countries to have a military relationship with the US which excludes nuclear weapons. “Pursuing such a path would be the best thing Australia could do to actually help in freeing the world from nuclear weapons,” Ruff added.
Advocates for a nuclear free world argue that a global ban on nuclear weapons can be achieved through sustained public pressure and leadership from governments. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who was critical of Australia’s decision not to endorse the humanitarian statement, is of the view that the current Australian Government may wish to please the US even more than the previous government. Continue reading
The Australian Human Rights Commission shot down on Tuesday the nuclear veterans’ last legal avenue on a technicality – after 10 months they have just decided they can’t do anything as they don’t think they have jurisdiction.
Can you imagine finding out that our military personnel, our diggers, were sent into the desert, into the sky and out into our oceans to supervise, watch and secure, the explosion of radioactive nuclear weapons with little more protection than the shirt on their back?
You need not imagine because 61 years ago the Australian government, under the guise of former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies, approved radioactive nuclear weapons to be detonated on Australian soil, and in our oceans, not once but hundreds of times between 1952 and 1963.
The result is a generation of our diggers lost to horrific radiation related cancers and illnesses. Out of the 8000 servicemen sent to Maralinga, Emu Field and the Monte Bello islands, some 2,000 remain living, fighting and suffering amongst us.
To think of the prospect that any human being, let alone our diggers, would be knowingly exposed to the effects of radiation after seeing the consequences of atomic weapons just seven years earlier in Japan is unforgiveable. Continue reading
Australian veterans affected by nuclear testing lose final bid for case to be heard http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-10/veterans-affected-by-british-nuclear-testing-lose-court-bid/5147678 By Sally Block 10 Dec 2013 Australian veterans of British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s have lost their bid to have their case investigated.
About 300 surviving members of the Australian Defence Force applied to the Australian Human Rights Commission to have their case heard.
The veterans were involved in the nuclear tests by the British at Maralinga, Emu Field and Monte Bello islands. Their lawyers argued the Menzies government at the time exposed them to the harmful effects of radiation in full knowledge of the damage to their health and that is a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Commission knocked them back, saying it is out of their jurisdiction to inquire into the acts or practises by the Commonwealth that are alleged. Continue reading
The next conference addressing the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons will be held in Mexico City in February 2014. Australia should strongly support recognition of the following four points being argued by the Red Cross: 1) the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons; 2) the lack of any adequate humanitarian response capacity; 3) the incompatibility of any use of nuclear weapons with the rules of international humanitarian law; and 4) the need for concrete action leading to a prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons and their elimination.
Underlining the horror of nuclear arms http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/11/26/commentary/underlining-the-horror-of-nuclear-arms/#.UpY1NNJwo7o BY RAMESH THAKUR NOV 26, 2013CANBERRA – Because of the unique destructive capacity and uncontrollable effects of nuclear weapons, the almost indescribable horror associated with their use informed the very first resolution of the U.N. General Assembly in 1946 and has been a recurring theme ever since in blue ribbon international commissions, NPT review conferences and preparatory committee meetings, and General Assembly committee debates.
Given the presently stalled nuclear disarmament agenda, the most productive way forward for both committed state and civil society actors to generate political momentum for the cause may be to emphasize the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. The only way to guarantee their non-use ever is their total, irreversible and verifiable elimination under effective international control.
On Oct. 21, speaking in the U.N. General Assembly’s First Committee on behalf of 123 countries and the Holy See, New Zealand’s outgoing disarmament ambassador Dell Higgie issued a statement on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
It noted that the broad participation at the March 2013 Oslo Conference, with attendance by 128 states (but not one nuclear-armed state nor most who shelter under their nuclear umbrellas), the ICRC, and several U,N, and civil society humanitarian organizations, reflected the recognition that the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are a major global concern. Yet no country or international body has the capacity to address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation or provide adequate assistance to victims.
Intriguingly because of their close relations on so many issues, on the same occasion Australia’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Peter Woolcott, issued a parallel statement on behalf of 17 countries, mainly those protected by U.S. nuclear weapons under extended nuclear deterrence (Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, etc.).
Japan was the only country to sign both statements. The Australia statement emphasized “both the security and the humanitarian dimensions of the nuclear weapons debate.”
It is not clear that the different Australian position was actually ever signed off by the minister in the last Labor government, as opposed to being official Australian policy as determined and articulated by the bureaucracy. Continue reading
The electromagnetic pulse and ionization of the atmosphere resulting from the high-yield nuclear bomb Bravo was clearly associated with Adelaide earthquake.
The Castle Bravo nuclear explosion of 1954. Part 1: Bobby 1′s Blog 21 Nov 13 In the Adelaide, Australia earthquake in the early morning of March 1, 1954, residents of Adelaide, Australia were awakened to a violent shaking in their beds. When they went outside, they saw a brilliant glow in the east. The United States had just set off the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb on Bikini Island, 3,600 miles away.On March 1, 1954, the detonation of an estimated 15 megaton thermonuclear weapon, known as “Bravo” took place – as part of the “Castle” test series. According to the U.S. Radiochemistry Society, “the Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history ….the yield of Bravo dramatically exceeded predictions, being about 2.5 times higher than the best guess and almost double the estimated maximum possible yield (6 Mt predicted, estimated yield range 4-8 Mt).” The bomb was over 1000 times more powerful than those exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Bravo crater in the atoll reef had a diameter of 6,510 ft, with a depth of 250 ft. The cloud top rose and peaked at 130,000 feet (almost 40 km) after only six minutes. Eight minutes after the test the cloud had reached its full dimensions with a diameter of 100 km, a stem 7 km thick, and a cloud bottom rising above 55,000 feet (16.5 km), and after 10 minutes had a diameter of more than 60 miles.
The radioactive fallout from Bravo covered the planet, including the Southern Hemisphere. It was a fission-fusion-fission bomb, designed to release high levels of radioactivity. Its yield was 15 megatons, but it released almost seven times as much radiation than the Russian Tsar Bomba, which had a yield of 50 megatons. Continue reading
LEST WE FORGET NUCLEAR VETERANS HTTP://GREENS.ORG.AU/NEWS/LEST-WE-FORGET-NUCLEAR-VETERANS Between 1952 and 1963, approximately 16,000 Australian civilians and serviceman were exposed to nuclear fallout when British nuclear weapons were tested at the Montebello Islands in Western Australia, Maralinga and Emu fields in South Australia, and over the Christmas and Malden Islands.
“Today Australians mark the sacrifice, suffering and deaths of our servicemen and women in all wars, but unfortunately some of our veterans have been forgotten,” said Australian Greens spokesperson on nuclear policy, Senator Scott Ludlam.
“We are running out of time to exercise our duty of care to the 1892 Australian nuclear veterans that are denied Gold Card health care costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at less than $30m per year. Continue reading