Today,the struggle continues to save Australia’s environment, and Australia’s integrity as a democratic and peace loving nation. Many thousands of Australians are aware of the environmental disaster of BHP Billiton’s planned Olympic Dam open cut uranium mine. The campaign against this continues.
Australians continue to press government to uphold its policy of no uranium sales to India, as India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
We continue in the struggle against a radioactive waste dump imposed on traditional Aboriginal land at Muckaty, in the Northern Territory, as the Owners’ legal battle goes on, to stop this.
And, we continue to fight against those grandiose plans secretly being developed, to turn Australia into the world’s nuclear radioactive waste dump.
It would be easy to assume, from the mainstream media coverage, that Australians have lost the anti nuclear battle. But this would be a mistake.
Many small and large victories have resulted from our anti nuclear movement.
A recent success has been the South Australian government’s decision to ban uranium mining in Arkaroola Wilderness. Without a vigourous public outcry in South Australia, uranium mining would have gone ahead there.
Tireless work by Dr Helen Caldicott, and many others have helped to bring about the very strong anti-nuclear public sentiment of Australians. As a result, the major political parties dare not mention nuclear power, and nuclear waste importation ( – even though they have these aims in mind.)
It is hard to measure such success, but it does exist. More concrete examples are there:
1969 – Project for nuclear reactor at Jervis Bay was abandoned
1977 – Australian Labor Party adopted policy of moratorium on uranium mining. While this was watered down in 1982 – to a “one mine” policy, and in 1983-84 to a “3 mine” - the ALP still opposed any new mining.
1980 Sydney pronounced a nuclear free city. This was followed by many other local councils.
1983 Victoria NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES (PROHIBITIONS) ACT
1986 Uranium mining prohibited in New South Wales
1986 Seamens Union boycotted arrival of foreign nuclear warships
1988 Project for uranium mining at Jabiluka was stopped
Nuclear reactors are banned in Queensland and Tasmania
1988 Pangea Resources plan for an international nuclear waste dump in Western Australia was abandoned.
2011 Uranium mining banned in Arkaroola Wilderness
We managed to send Pangea packing …. by Jo Vallentine 1998-9 in Western Australia, we got wind of an international nuclear waste dump destined for sandstone area in south-estern part of W.A., one of the few bits not rich in minerals. A promotional video, made by this international consortium, featuring British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., among others, which fell off the back of a truck in London, into the waiting hands of Friends of the Earth.
Horrified West Australians didn’t believe the spin, nor fall for the juicy carrot of buckets of money, which some politicians were urging us to do. We took to the streets. People who don’t usually support our pro-peace, anti-nuclear stands, joined us in various actions. We got fifty thousand signatures quite quickly. Nor did we buy the line that we had an international responsibility to help the world, by ridding it of its nuclear waste, deep underground in our desert.
Our line always was, always will be, leave uranium in the ground, then you don’t have to wrap yourself into contortions by stating that’s it’s okay to mine and export and trade uranium overseas, but it’s not okay to be responsible for the end product.
Anyway, our message, vis-à-vis Pangea’s, hit a raw nerve. Our then Premier, Liberal conservative Richard Court, was in London for a trade mission. We know he visited BNFL. When he returned to Perth, he moved very fast to introduce legislation banning the import of nuclear waste to Western Australia. Governments of all persuasions since, have held to that ban, to their credit. But then some of them want to start up uranium mining in this state. Very contradictory!
We also said at the time, that Pangea would retire to lick its wounds, to re-group, and to be back with another proposal. Sure enough, same CEO (Charles McCrombie) now heads ARIUS – Association for Regional & International Storage. Is that transparency, or what?