Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor was always intended as a step towards nuclear weapons, AND IT STILL IS

 Canberra hoped that aiding Britain might be a step toward its own bomb.

Australia took tentative steps to go it alone. This included the Lucas Heights nuclear plant on Sydney’s southern fringe. Still Australia’s only reactor, it began its life researching, among other things, nuclear weapons

“We have the people, the knowledge, the history, the uranium and we still have Lucas Heights.”

Australia’s secret plans to have its own nuclear arsenal, AMERICA. Russia. China. Britain. The world’s most powerful countries all have nuclear arsenals — and few people know Australia was almost one of them, Benedict Brook@BenedictBrook,  news.com.au, JULY 11, 2017 “…….A military expert has told news.com.au, that top secret plans were so advanced Australia was considered “top of the pile” of countries expected to acquire its own nuclear arsenal

It was 60 years ago that the last nuclear bomb was detonated in Australia, a British weapon at the Maralinga test site in South Australia.

If you look closely, evidence of Australia’s plans for its own nuke remain. A few hours south of Sydney, at picturesque Jervis Bay, a small road leads into the bush. By a boat ramp is a large car park.

However, this was never designed to be a place for tourists’ vehicles. Rather, it is the unfinished foundations of Australia’s first commercial nuclear power station.

The public were told it would revolutionise the country’s energy needs. The truth was it would enrich uranium for Australia’s atomic bombs.

Associate Professor Wayne Reynolds is a defence and foreign policy expert at the University of Newcastle and author of the book Australia’s Bid for the Atomic Bomb….. “We wanted to have a navy; in WWII we wanted access to heavy bombers; and so we wanted nuclear weapons. We wanted to maintain a strategic leading edge.”

Australia didn’t want to go it alone. During WWII, British and Australian experts had worked alongside their American counterparts on the Manhattan Project to build the world’s first atomic bomb.

The expectation was that the US would share the results with its allies.

“In 1946, the Americans changed that calculation by announcing they would not share any of the technology or weapons,” says Prof Reynolds. “Britain and Australia were cut out from the club”……. Many in the government harboured a desire for a joint “Empire” bomb produced between Australia, Britain, Canada and South Africa.

Despite the UK’s ownership of the bombs it detonated at Maralinga, Canberra hoped aiding Britain might be a step toward its own bomb.  Certainly, no one underestimated Australia’s atom ambitions. “German, Italy, the Netherlands — all wanted nuclear weapons but Australia was top of the list because of our uranium resources, our scientists and our enrichment program,” Prof Reynolds says.

Australia took tentative steps to go it alone. This included the Lucas Heights nuclear plant on Sydney’s southern fringe. Still Australia’s only reactor, it began its life researching, among other things, nuclear weapons…..

In the early 1960s, the Menzies Government was discussing with the US the top secret “SEATO plan 4” which could have seen American bombs on Australian soil.

“This were absolutely not known by the public and plan 4 was only declassified thirty years later,” says Prof Reynolds.

…..In 1968, ex-RAAF pilot Gorton became Prime Minister. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was already in the works. However, a big supporter of a homegrown nuclear deterrent, Gorton wanted to Australia to be on the “brink of manufacture” of a weapon, says Prof Reynolds…….

Gough Whitlam formally ended Australia’s atom ambitions by signing onto the NPT and tying the country’s security to the US…….

Prof Reynolds says it is unlikely Australia would seek to host nuclear bombs — its own or others. But history warns you to never say never.

“Historically, we’ve gone with the major powers. But if this unravels we might need a capability down here,” he says.”  “We have the people, the knowledge, the history, the uranium and we still have Lucas Heights.”  benedict.brook@news.com.au   http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/australias-secret-plans-to-have-its-own-nuclear-arsenal/news-story/2bcac85b0f2cbe3f7e377217d6ef999b?platform=hootsuite

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August 5, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war

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