Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia: government and industry complicit in Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Australia could have played a role in breaking the vicious cycle of mismanagement in Japan’s nuclear industry by making uranium exports conditional on improved management of nuclear plants and tighter regulation. 

[The Australian uranium industry] has brought shame to all Australians by turning a blind eye to serious problems in customer countries and responding with mock indignation when anyone calls its bluff….

Australia’s role in the Fukushima disaster, March 17, 2012, Green Left, By Jim Green…..Australia’s role There is no dispute that Australian uranium was used in the Fukushima reactors. The mining companies won’t acknowledge that fact — instead they hide behind bogus claims of “commercial confidentiality” and “security”.

But the truth is out. The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office acknowledged in October that: “We can confirm that Australian obligated nuclear material was at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in each of the reactors — maybe five out of six, or it could have been all of them.” It is likely that TEPCO was supplied with uranium from BHP Billiton’s
Olympic Dam mine, ERA’s Ranger mine, and Heathgate’s Beverley mine.

Yuki Tanaka from the Hiroshima Peace Institute noted: “Japan is not
the sole nation responsible for the current nuclear disaster. From the
manufacture of the reactors by GE to provision of uranium by Canada,
Australia and others, many nations are implicated.”

Mirarr senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula said she is “deeply
saddened” that uranium from the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern
Territory has been exported to Japanese nuclear power companies
including TEPCO.

No such humility comes from the uranium companies. They get tetchy at
any suggestion of culpability, with the Australian Uranium Association
(AUA) describing it as “opportunism in the midst of human tragedy” and
“utter nonsense”.

Moreover, the association said: “The Australian uranium industry has
led the global nuclear industry’s efforts to create a framework of
stewardship for the safe and responsible management of uranium
throughout the nuclear fuel cycle.”

Led the effort to create a framework of stewardship for meaningless
rhetoric, more like it.

Here’s an example of the sort of gibberish they come up with: “When
the principle is actively applied, Stewardship becomes a driver for
innovation in the ways we view our businesses and operate them …
Leading companies will see Stewardship not as a compliance issue but
as a means to shape their future operational processes, products,
services and relationships.”

To translate: uranium “stewardship” means flogging off uranium,
counting the money, flogging off more uranium and counting more
money…..

Australia could have played a role in breaking the vicious cycle of mismanagement in Japan’s nuclear industry by making uranium exports conditional on improved management of nuclear plants and tighter regulation. Even a strong public statement of concern would have been
heard by the Japanese utilities (unless it was understood to be
rhetoric for public consumption) and it would have registered in the
Japanese media.

But the uranium industry did nothing. And since the industry is in
denial about its role in fuelling the Fukushima disaster, there is no
reason to believe that it will behave more responsibly in the future.

Successive Australian governments have done nothing about the
unacceptable standards in Japan’s nuclear industry. And since Prime
Minister Julia Gillard said the Fukushima disaster “doesn’t have any
impact on my thinking about uranium exports”, there is no reason to
believe that the government will behave more responsibly in future.

The AUA issued a media release on March 8 titled: “Nuclear industry
takes Fukushima opportunity to demonstrate transparency and
responsibility.”

In fact, the industry has lacked transparency — refusing even to
acknowledge whether it supplied uranium to TEPCO. Nor has the industry
been responsible — it has brought shame to all Australians by turning
a blind eye to serious problems in customer countries and responding
with mock indignation when anyone calls its bluff….
http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/50392

March 19, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster

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