Australian news, and some related international items

Marrickville Peace Group (MPG) calls for keeping Australia’s nuclear bans, and particularly emphasises the nuclear waste problem

In brief , the pro nuclear power lobby presents a trouble free new generation front which assumes
just as trouble free social licence. This presentation flies in the face of proven historical fact.

Submission No. 21. to Senate Inquiry This submission argues that the current climate crisis creates an urgent need forAustralia to source its energy from renewable and not nuclear technology. Nuclear energy supply is
deeply flawed when examined wholistically. The safe long term disposal of nuclear waste (HLW)
issue is one to which no country in the world has a satisfactory answer to. It is an issue that will not
go away. The lack of wholistic social licence for nuclear waste disposal renders Australia in an
untenable position both internally and externally/internationally.

I write as a member of Marrickville Peace Group (MPG), situated in the Inner West of Sydney,
Federal Electorate of Grayndler. MPG learns with alarm of the attempt by the LNP to repeat a
pattern, not unknown of the LNP , of setting aside good legislation in order to return Australia to less
enlightened times. MPG objects most strenuously to the move to expand the viability of its current
nuclear technology to cater to the nuclear power industry. . The Private Senators Bill: Environment
and Other Legislation Amendment (Removing Nuclear Energy Prohibitions) Bill 2022) was put
forward by 9 Coalition Senators who have been incentivized by the government signing on to buy
nuclear-powered submarines (according to Senator Matt Canavan.). This promotion of things
nuclear to collateral expansion is arguably one of the more pernicious aspects of the AUKUS deal.

The world is in the grip of a climate crisis, the result of using carbon rich fossil fuels, once though to
be a great boon, as a source of energy. Gradually, since 1896 in fact, when scientist Svante Arrenius
first predicted the greenhouse effect, the world has come to know that climate change is real. Thus
the way we have sourced our energy has brought us to an environmental crisis. The irony is that
nuclear is proposed as counter to the environmental crisis brought about by fossil fuels, when the
disposal of High Level Waste (HLW) is itself a harbinger of deadly waste disposal issues. There is no
proven solution for managing high-level nuclear waste produced in power reactors. No operating
deep underground repository for high-level nuclear waste exists. MPG maintains that the
introduction of nuclear energy into its power mix is a case of replacing one environmental crisis with
another. (Don’t Nuke the Climate Submission Guide)………………………………………………………

The proposal to introduce nuclear power is a long term (and a very costly) project : the average time
to establish a nuclear power station, from planning to operational stage, is between fifteen and
twenty years.. It is not without good reasons that there is an increasing call for the power future to
be renewable and not nuclear.

There is more to the objection to nuclear power than simply the establishment timeframe. | Don’t
nuke the Climate! )

The Glasgow Statement (COP26 2021, signed by 479 international organisations , lists a cluster of
many defective factors associated with nuclear based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) report. The primary summary statement “We need an urgent global shift to
clean and renewable energy and national governments need to actively facilitate and manage the
transition from reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear to renewable energy”.

A summary of criticisms of the nuclear power option include:

  • The nuclear industry has a history of displacing, disrupting and damaging the health and
    rights of workers and communities:
  • It diverts resources away from renewable energy technology;
  • Nuclear is slow, expensive and dangerous.
  • It is not carbon neutral-almost every stage of the nuclear chain requires additional nonnuclear
    energy inputs. And
  • It poses unique security and waste management risks.
  • Nuclear power is unsustainable . Nuclear power relies on uranium mining. Like coal mining
    this causes adverse environmental impacts and puts workers and communities at risk. It is a
    thirsty industry that consumes large volumes of precious water, from uranium mining and
    processing through to reactor cooling. Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats that
    are being exacerbated by climate impacts, including dwindling and warming water sources,
    sea-level rise, drought, jelly-fish swarms and increasing storm severity
  • It is expensive. Nuclear power is now one of the most capital intensive and expensive ways
    to produce electricity and costs continue to rise. (including establishment and decommission
  • Climate threats :Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated
    by climate change. These include dwindling and warming water sources, sea-level rise, storm
    damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum states: “You
    need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive “
  • Nuclear is increasingly vulnerable security risks. – witness current events at the Zaporizhzhia
    power plant in Ukraine.

In Australia, the saga of nuclear waste disposal is long and unsatisfactory. It is characterized by a
high level of dysfunctionality……………………………………………….

THE REALITY OF EXTERNAL INTERESTS was dramatically revealed in the late 90’s when a closely
guarded secret in the form of a consortium Pangea Resources (80% owned by British Nuclear Fuels
Limited (BNFL) had been conducting research and discussions about establishing an international
high-level nuclear waste repository in Australia. A corporate video was leaked to Friends of the Earth
(UK) in the late 1990s. Until this video was leaked, Australians had no idea that we were being
targeted as the world’s nuclear dump. ……………………………………………..

The Friends of the Earth Australia site reveals also there is a list of very prominent politicians / expoliticians
supporting the development of a high level nuclear waste dump in Australia to take waste
from overseas include: Liberal Senator Judith Troeth called for Australia to build nuclear power
reactors and for the high-level waste to be dumped at Muckaty in the NT; former Prime Minister
Bob Hawke ;former foreign minister Alexander Downer; former foreign minister Gareth Evans .
Liberal/National Coalition Senators refused to support a Senate motion opposing an international
nuclear dump in May 2006. In 2005 Martin Ferguson responded to Bob Hawke’s call for Australia to
establish a high level waste dump by saying: “In scientific terms Bob Hawke is right. Australia
internationally could be regarded as a good place to actually bury it deep in the ground”.


The Minerals Council (TMC) is clearly supportive of the return to nuclear proposal : Removing the
Prohibition on Nuclear Power.

What is interesting is the selectivity of the MC’s arguments, which are summarised below :
Nuclear energy is zero emissions baseload energy. Fact check : nuclear reactors do not produce air
pollution or carbon dioxide while operating BUT : When it comes to nuclear, uranium extraction,
transport and processing produces emissions. The long and complex construction process of nuclear
power plants also releases CO2, as does the demolition of decommissioned sites.

Nuclear power is affordable ; Fact check The cost of wind and solar PV has decreased by 70-90 %
while nuclear costs have increased by 33%. (Don’t Nuke the Climate Submission guide. Op.cit.)

Nuclear power is safe, Fact check : For whom is it safe ? Of all the claims of the Nuclear lobby, this
surely is the hardest to sell .

Furthermore some aspects of this claim e.g. The risk of accidents in nuclear power plants is low and
declining. The consequences of an accident or terrorist attack are minimal. It is remarkable that the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says exactly the opposite: “Nuclear power plants
have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat.”

Further, in referring to the “well publicized accidents” the Minerals Council deftly highlights “no
radiation fatalities” of two of the three. In the public mind it surely would loom large that there re
huge consequences to nuclear accidents, of which, as of 2014, there have been over 100 serious
nuclear accidents..the definition of which is : “an event that has led to significant consequences to
people, the environment or the facility. Examples include lethal effects to individuals, large
radioactivity release to the environment, reactor core melt.

TMC has a sales pitch which minimizes to the point of denial.
Nuclear power produces low waste : Fact check :This is a strangely deceptive claim. The “low” refers
merely to volume, NOT TO TOXICITY. The half Life of Plutonium is 24,000 years and of Uranium 238
is 4.5 billion years As argued above in some detail, Nuclear power produces High Level Waste (HLW)
which the world simply does not know, in real terms, how to deal with. Australia has no facility for
HLW. Reprocessing is in line to become a congested international waiting line. Given the possibility
of a wrong turn politically, Australia is a prime target for HLW dumping. The Removing Nuclear
Energy Prohibition Bill is an invitation to the world to focus on Australia as a nuclear waste dump…………

In brief , the pro nuclear power lobby presents a trouble free new generation front which assumes
just as trouble free social licence. This presentation flies in the face of proven historical fact.


February 25, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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