Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s anti-nuclear movement ready for a big battle.

Anti-nuke campaigners prepare for a new battle,  Mark Ludlow and Julie Hare, AFR Sep 16, 2021 ,

Veterans of the protest movement of the 1970s and 1980s are appalled at the Morrison government’s decision to sign up for nuclear-powered submarines, saying it is a slippery slope towards a nuclear energy industry in Australia.

Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, who first campaigned against nuclear warships visiting Tasmania in the 1970s, said the Australian public had been blindsided by the move.

Former Greens Leader Bob Brown says there will be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear submarines. Dominic Lorrimer.

“I think it’s very cowardly what the government’s done,” Dr Brown told The Australian Financial Review. “It’s made a decision without reference to the public, knowing the public would oppose it.

“In some ways, nuclear submarines are worse than nuclear power stations because the public gets no say. There has been no public consultation on this announcement.”

The government’s new defence deal with the United States and Britain was announced early on Thursday morning, with nuclear submarines expected to be made in Adelaide in the next 15 to 20 years.

Dr Brown, who was leader of the Australian Greens between 2005 and 2012, said supporters of a nuclear energy industry would use the submarine deal to once again push their cause, especially as Australia moves away from fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

‘There is a big stoush coming’

But he warned environmental and anti-nuclear campaigners would be re-energised by the decision, which would match any battles to fight uranium mining or radioactive waste dumps in the 1980s.

“Australia is not putting its toe in, but jumping into this. There is no dividing line. I think there will be enormous opposition to this. There is a big stoush coming,” he said.

“What are the people of Balmoral in Sydney going to think about nuclear

submarines parking at the bottom of their street? Or, indeed, everybody in Sydney.”

Dr Brown, who fasted for a week in 1976 on top of Mount Wellington in Hobart in protest against the arrival of the nuclear-powered warship USS Enterprise, called on capital cities to ban the new subs from docking.

The Nuclear Disarmament Party was at its most active in the 1980s, rallying against uranium mining and nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The party contested seven federal elections between 1984 and 2007, electing Jo Vallentine as a senator for Western Australia in 1984. (She later defected to the Greens).

It attracted star candidate and Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett in 1984. He polled 9.6 per cent in NSW but was unsuccessful in winning a Senate seat…………

Queensland Conservation Council director Dave Copeman said the nuclear submarine announcement was “trading a bad idea for something worse” and could set a dangerous precedent.

“Australians don’t want nuclear power in Australia. It’s unsafe, expensive, uninsurable and creates radioactive waste that has 10,000-plus-year half-lives,” Mr Copeman said.

“While the Prime Minister said the announcement ‘does not signal a move towards domestic nuclear power’, seriously concerning questions remain, like how and where the radioactive nuclear waste from these submarines will be managed and stored.”

The QCC called on the Palaszczuk government to ban nuclear power and mining in Queensland.

The trilateral deal to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide will increase Australia’s risk factor as a terrorist target, could prove to be a slippery slope towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons and will be viewed with hostility by other countries in the region, according to a leading expert on nuclear non-proliferation.

Tilman Ruff, who co-founded the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, said there is a global movement to reduce the amount highly enriched uranium in circulation which, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be repurposed for nuclear weapons.

Dr Ruff, from Melbourne University, said the submarines to be constructed in Australia were based on old technology that was developed in the US in the 1950s and which had been shared with the UK in 1958.

“This is very old technology. The US has undertaken a pretty significant global effort over several administrations to try and reduce the amount of highly enriched uranium in civilian applications around the world,” Dr Ruff said.

Currently, are 174 nuclear ships and submarines in service across the world, he said.

“It has significant implications for Australia. It will be viewed with great hostility and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a sharp rebuke from China and also raised the potential for a significant change in our relationship with New Zealand,” Dr Ruff said.

“But I fear might be a kind of slippery slope towards Australia potentially acquiring nuclear weapons itself.”

He said the best way Australia could clearly and unambiguously signal that it would not go down this path would be to become a signatory to the treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons.   https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/anti-nuke-campaigners-prepare-for-new-battle-20210916-p58s99

September 18, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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