Australian news, and some related international items

Confusion in the wording of the South Australia Nuclear Citizens’ Jury question

Jury (1)The question has been worded in two different ways in the Juror’s materials. The two versions were:

(1) Under what circumstances, if any, should SA pursue the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste from other countries?

(2) Under what circumstances, if any, should South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

Differences are (1) inclusion of the word “opportunity” in second version and (2) removal of the words “high level” in the second version.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Lack of balance in the Witness List for Nuclear Citizens’ Jury South Australia October 29-30 ?

Citizens' Jury scrutinyThe Witness list for the 29 -30 Nuclear Citizens’ Jury in Adelaide is posted here on Antinuclear . The organiser DemocrcayCo has yet to publicise this. Meanwhile OUR list is shown with indications of which witnesses are pro nuclear and which are not.

It is interesting to observe that the pronuke and nuclear free witnesses are not always balanced evenly.

On “ECONOMICS” there is, oddly, a clear majority of nuclear-free opinions. It looks as if no-one in the nuclear lobby was game to face questioning on this topic!   DemocracyCo was forced to step in and find a pro nuclear speaker!

On “SAFETY”  (includes general safety, siting and transport) there are just two witnesses who appear to be neutral. The remaining four including the facilitator are pro nuclear.

“CONSENT” is a dodgy one, with only one nuclear-free opinion – three pro nuclear (including the facilitator, and two neutral.

Except for the  “ECONOMICS” section, all the facilitators appear to be pro nuclear .

Now – if I’ve got some of these opinions wrong, I hope that people will send me information to correct this.

Meanwhile – this Citizens Jury will probably go on under thye media radar, as the South Australian Labor Party National Conference is happening at the same time –   where the ALP will be debating changing their nuclear policy, and overturning or weakening the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility Prohibition Act 2000


October 24, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

From No to Now: United civil society call on UN Day for Australia to support a nuclear weapons ban treaty

logo-ICAN Monday 24th October 2016   Organisations representing hundreds of thousands of Australians have joined the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in a call for the Australian Government to support a growing global push to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

In an open letter to foreign minister Julie Bishop ahead of a vote expected in the UN this week the fifty groups have urged Australia to ‘grasp this historic opportunity to outlaw nuclear weapons’ and to support increasing momentum for a UN conference in 2017 to ‘negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons’.

The Australian Government’s opposition to a ban on nuclear weapons is increasingly at odds with the majority of nations, including in our region where ASEAN nations and Pacific Island states have joined New Zealand in strongly supporting moves for a ban.

“We’ve waited a long time for the Nuclear Weapons States to fulfil their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and they have failed,” said former independent Senator for nuclear disarmament Jo Vallentine. “It is time for Australia to do an about-turn and get on to the right side of this historic decision”. Ms Vallentine will take part in a delegation delivering the letter to the Foreign Minister’s Perth office on United Nations day, Monday 24th October, before heading to the UN in New York for the historic vote.

“A 2014 Neilsen poll showed over eighty percent of Australians support a treaty banning nuclear weapons and it is time for the Australian position on this existential issue to move from No to Now”, said ICAN Australia’s Gem Romuld.

Signatories to the open letter comprise union, faith, women’s, public health, environment and international development organisations including the Australian Medical Association, Oxfam Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation, Uniting Justice and the Union of Australian Women, among many others.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Menzies, Australia’s Maralinga shame, Aboriginal impacts – and can it happen again?

One wonders if the interests of a ‘handful of natives’ might on some future occasion again be deemed subordinate to those of the dominant culture.

Each of these explosions generated considerable radioactivity, by means of the initial nuclear reaction and the through dispersion of radioactive particulate colloquially known as ‘fallout’. In addition to British scientific and military personnel, thousands of Australians were exposed to radiation produced by the tests. These included not only those involved in supporting the British testing program, but also Aboriginal people living downwind of the test sites, and other Australians more distant who came into contact with airborne radioactivity.

While less spectacular than the major detonations, the minor trials were more numerous. They also contributed to the lasting contamination of the Maralinga area. As a result of the nearly 600 minor trials, some 830 tons of debris contaminated by about 20 kg of plutonium were deposited in pits which graced the South Australian landscape. An additional 2 kg of plutonium was dispersed over the area. Such an outcome was unfortunate indeed, as plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known; it dissipates more slowly than most radioactive elements. The half-life of plutonium is 24,000 years. At this rate of decay, the Maralinga lands would be contaminated for the next half-million years.

Perhaps most significant was the secrecy surrounding the testing program. The decision to make the Monte Bello Islands available to the British for their first nuclear test appears to have been made by the Prime Minister alone, without reference to Cabinet, much less Parliament or the Australian public.

text-historyChapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253 “……..In 1950, Labor Prime Minister Clement Atlee sent a top secret personal message to Australian Prime Minister Menzies asking if the Australian government might agree to the testing of a British nuclear weapon at the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia. Menzies agreed in principle, immediately; there is no record of his having consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the matter. A preliminary assessment of the suitability of the proposed test site was conducted in October-November 1950.

Montebello atomic test 1952The Monte Bello site was deemed suitable by British authorities, and in a message to Menzies dated 26 March 1951 Atlee sought formal agreement to conduct the test. Atlee’s letter did not discuss the nature of the proposed test in minute detail. He did, however, see fit to mention the risk of radiation hazards:

6. There is one further aspect which I should mention. The effect of exploding an atomic weapon in the Monte Bello Islands will be to contaminate with radio activity the north-east group and this contamination may spread to others of the islands. The area is not likely to be entirely free from contamination for about three years and we would hope for continuing Australian help in investigating the decay of contamination. During this time the area will be unsafe for human occupation or even for visits by e.g. pearl fishermen who, we understand, at present go there from time to time and suitable measures will need to be taken to keep them away. We should not like the Australian Government to take a decision on the matter without having this aspect of it in their minds (quoted in Australia 1985, p. 13).

Menzies was only too pleased to assist the ‘motherland’, but deferred a response until after the 195 1 federal elections. With the return of his government, preparations for the test, code-named ‘Hurricane’, proceeded. Yet it was not until 19 February 1952 that the Australian public was informed that atomic weapons were to be tested on Australian soil.

Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, reference, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

global-warming1Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded  21 October 2016 by John Abraham

We know the world is warming – no factor can explain it aside from human emissions ofgreenhouse gases. Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true anymore. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 as the hottest year ever record – and we have three more months left to go.

So, just how hot is 2016? Well my early predictions are shown in the graph below. I have taken temperature data from NASA and superimposed my predictions for 2016 – it isn’t even close. And by the way, it doesn’t matter whose data you use (NASANOAAJMA, Hadley Centre) the results are the same. 2016 is going to blow 2015 out of the water.

A few things to note. First, these temperatures are surface temperatures that are taken across the globe. But, you can measure temperatures elsewhere and see the same result. Most importantly, measurements in the oceans, where 93% of the extra heat is stored are the best proof of global warming. I recently coauthored an open-access paper on this very topic which interested readers can get here.

You can measure sea level rise as the heated water expands, you can measure ice loss across the globe, you can measure temperatures in the lower part of the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter where; the story is the same.

What is the big deal? Well first of all, 2016 blows away 2015 which was previously the hottest year ever and that had beaten 2014 as the hottest year ever – call this a three-peat. Three records in a row and the last two are by large margins. Does this mean global warming all of a sudden has gotten worse?

No, surface temperatures fluctuate a lot – you can see that in the figure. Temperatures will go up or down from year to year without apparent reason. This is why we are interested in the long term trends. This is also why we are interested in looking at other measures of warming (especially in the oceans). All of our measurements agree with each other – we know the Earth was warming long before this set of records began falling in 2014.

One thing these temperatures can do is enable us to compare computer models with measurements. We’ve seen that models have done an excellent job of correctly predicting the rate of heating of the Earth. My own research shows that in the oceans, the models are slightly under-predicting the rate of heating.

To compare models and measurements at the Earth’s surface, I’ve borrowed a figure from Dr. Gavin Schmidt of Nasa and I’ve overlaid the 2016 surface temperatures. A star shows where 2016 will be. The star should be compared to the three heavy dashed lines in the figure. The upper and lower dashed lines show the uncertainty in the models and the middle dashed line shows the average.

Click here to read the rest


October 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hey Mr Weatherill- nuclear waste disposal is not an “industry”- it’s just a toxic dump

Weatherill glowClaire Catt, Your Say site, 20 Oct 2016  Weatherill is stating today in the Advertiser he is asking the community ‘its views on the establishment of a nuclear waste disposal industry in SA’.

It’s not an industry he’s proposing, just a dump in the outback. No sophistication there, just enormous risks and costs.

The discussion is bias and manipulated by the Government. Real information about the scale and dangers of this proposal are suppressed and the media is complicit.

The language used by Jay Weatherill is really creepy!

October 24, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

America admits to using depleted uranium weapons in Syria

depleted-uraniumUnited States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria International Coalition to Ban Nuclear Weapons  US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict. 21 October 2016 – ICBUW

The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates – the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.

The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assemblyresolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.

In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US hadconfirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating:“U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that:  “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”

CENTCOM confirms DU use     IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to “an error in reporting down range.”

“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.

Unclear why DU was used  The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored……..

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One Aboriginal family – devastated by Maralinga nuclear bomb testing

hydrogen-bomb-460Chapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253  “…….The security measures taken to restrict access to the testing site were not without flaws. One morning in May 1957, four Aboriginal people, the Milpuddie family, were found by range authorities near the crater formed by the ‘Buffalo 2’ explosion the previous October. ‘Me man, woman, two children and two dogs had set out on foot from the Everard Ranges in the northwest of South Australia, and were unaware that the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Maralinga area had been removed. When authorities discovered them, the family was immediately taken to a decontamination centre at the site, and were required to shower. After this experience, which must have been frightening enough, the family was driven to Yalata.

As one of the site personnel described the experience:

It was a shocking trip down as they had never ridden in a vehicle before and vomited everywhere (Australia 1985, p. 320).

On instructions from the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Supply, the dogs were shot. ‘ne woman was pregnant at the time the family was taken into custody; subsequently, her baby was born dead. Australian authorities went to great lengths to keep the incident secret, but they appear to have been less concerned with the family’s subsequent health. Commenting upon the fact that no-one appears to have taken the time to explain the experience to which the hapless Aborigines were subjected, a team of anthropologists was to comment:

[T]he three remaining members of the family have been subjected to a high degree of stress and unhappiness about the events of twenty-eight years ago (Australia 1985, p. 323)…….

October 24, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, personal stories, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Legal case moves on towards compensation for Sailors exposed to Fukushima radiation

legal actionSailors exposed to Fukushima radiation one step closer to justice, Beyond Nuclear, 23 Oct 16  Lawyers for U.S. sailors suffering illnesses associated with radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe presented oral arguments before the 9th circuit court in Pasadena, CA in September. This follows two victories before the district federal court in San Diego, CA and two legal appeals by TEPCO who is being sued for compensation in this first-of-its-kind case. Determination in this case is expected within 60 days.

According to Nuclear Hotseat, present at the arguments, the sailors are experiencing a number of health impacts including, leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removal, brain cancers and tumors, testicular cancers, thyroid illnesses, stomach complaints, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and still births and birth defects among their children. A number of these maladies are rare for the sailors’ age and condition, and were not present before the relief operation Tomadachi, undertaken by the U.S. in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan. According to statements at a press conference, filmed here by Ecological Options Network, seven people have already died including a child who was riddled with tumors. The number of sailors in the lawsuit is currently 400 and additional plantiffs continue coming forward.

Radiation diseases are so complex, the Veterans Administration cannot figure out how to treat many of the ill. As a result, they are often diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is a catchall meaning they don’t know what the malady is. This type of unclear diagnosis also occurred after the atomic bomb explosions (bura-bura disease) and after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown(vegetative distonia).

Lawyers for the sailors say any delay in the case is a delay of justice and proper health resources for these radiation-affected people. It’s been about 4 years already since the suit began and only judicial and legal wrangling has been undertaken in court. Specifics of the catastrophe, exposure scenarios and health information has not been allowed as of yet. According to plantiffs’ lawyers, this is a ploy by TEPCO to keep case from being heard………

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Royal Commission not clear on toxicity. Corruption in the nuclear waste industry

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINJeffrey Frommelt, Your Say site,   21 Oct 2016

Medical nuclear waste? 45 kg is just over 2litres.

Billions of dollars? Most countries are shutting down their nuclear reactors because of risk of another Chernobyl or Fukashima and the toxicity of byproducts.

The demolition material is similar to the uncooled reactor materials at Chernobyl or Fukashima. A high percentage is depleted uranium. The Gulf War used depleted uranium as armour piercing ordinance and anyone who came into any contact with depleted uranium by inhalation. Ingestion, cut or lesion contact got “Gulf Syndrome”.

Elevated risk of thyroid cancer but statistics in Veteran Affairs is confidential. Fukashima also has swayed medical stats like most large chemical catastrophes. ( Hiroshima, Bophal, etc) The cleanup at Chernobyl was allegedly by volunteer helicopter pilots who knew they would die and 17yo military conscripts, who coincidently were all dead within 12 months. Nuclear waste can be Carbon 14 or toxic, yet the RC does not clarify how toxic any transported or stored waste will be.

Oh and I just read that a comparable “Toxic Nuclear Waste Storage Facility” overseas was recently closed because of corruption in the upper management. Almost sounds like Australia’s banks except no one was ever caught or prosecuted. Trust? When is the plutonium Maralinga going to be stored safely?
I am confident that a select few will be paid billions and a few or maybe two meaningful or fulfilling safe jobs will be created. ….

October 24, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA clamp down on press freedom: prison for environmental documentary film-makers

civil-liberty-2smFlag-USADocumentary film-makers face decades in prison for taping oil pipeline protests

Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel face felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press, Guardian,  , 23 Oct 16,  Two documentary film-makers are facing decades in prison for recording US oil pipeline protests, with serious felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press.

The controversial prosecutions of Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel are moving forward after a judge in North Dakota rejected “riot” charges filed againstDemocracy Now! host Amy Goodman for her high-profile reporting at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

But authorities in other parts of North Dakota and in Washington state have continued to target other film-makers over their recent reporting on similar demonstrations, raising concerns that the lesser-known journalists are not getting the same kind of public support and national attention. Continue reading

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Like South Australians, South Africans are wary of a foolish nuclear plan

antnuke-relevantThe time for us to stand up and put South Africa first is now. We have to oppose the nuclear deal now. We have to stand up and defend the integrity of the Treasury team now..

Nuclear deal is nothing but a fool’s gamble with our future  Times Live 23 Oct 16 

nukefools-dayflag-S.AfricaJay Naidoo opposes the Zuma cabinet’s controversial power plans. Here’s why.

At the heart of the cancerous rot in our state is the greed of a predatory faction. In their unceasing efforts to enrich themselves, they are targeting the management of mega-projects, our state-owned enterprises, government procurements and, in particular, the proposed nuclear deal.

This is a nuclear deal that we don’t need. The proposal has little to do with our energy security, given that our growth projections have been torpedoed by a rudderless leadership and policy uncertainty and do not match the energy requirements of our future economy.

It brings no long-term benefits of job creation or local industrial development – this in a country where already one in four South Africans are formally unemployed.  A more efficient economy is one that is first and foremost based on reducing waste (demand), then on diversity in its sources (supply).

Going with the nuclear option – at a time when most of the industrialised world is abandoning fossil fuels and nuclear energy – with all its inherent environmental threats and risks, is a fool’s gamble. We see major global financial investment rapidly switching to the renewables industry, specifically to solar-based solutions.

One has to ask: which serious observer can believe there is no political agenda in pushing nuclear energy so strongly? Continue reading

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Physics conference accepts “nonsense” paper for lecture

nukefools-dayThe International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics will be held on 17-18 November in Atlanta, Georgia,

Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference New Zealand professor asked to present his work at US event on nuclear physics despite it containing gibberish all through the copy, Guardian, , 22 Oct 16 A nonsensical academic paper on nuclear physics written only by iOS autocomplete has been accepted for a scientific conference.

Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.

“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.

“The text really does not make any sense.” Continue reading

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Electric car charging stations for Adelaide in 2017 – says Mayor

solar-power-carAdelaide City Council ‘leads the way’ with rollout of 40 electric car charging stations in 2017, ABC News, 23 Oct 16  By Candice Prosser  Electric cars are the way of the future and Adelaide will lead the nation in developing infrastructure to encourage more of them, Adelaide’s Lord Mayor says.

The Adelaide City Council has announced it will roll out 40 electric charging stations throughout the city in 2017 in addition to the four charging points it currently has in two CBD car parks.

Speaking at the Electric Vehicle Expo at Elder Park, Lord Mayor Martin Haese said the infrastructure would be free to all users. “At this point in time the council needs to show leadership — we are very much in a changing environment whereby we’re forecasting the growth and sales of electric vehicles over the next few years is just going to grow exponentially,” he said. “Adelaide has a goal to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025 and electric vehicles are an important part of that story.

“We want to be a smart city, we want to send a very clear signal to everyone that technology and the knowledge economy is important to our future. “We believe electric vehicles do both.”

The Lord Mayor said he expected electric vehicles to become increasingly more popular.

“Electric vehicles are very important, they are going to become incredibly commonplace much sooner than what we think,” he said.

“We’ve currently got about 700 electric vehicles registered in South Australia, we’ve got some 22,000 hybrid vehicles registered in South Australia and those numbers are going to grow exponentially.”

The council is also offering residents and businesses $5,000 to install their own charging points and will consider installing faster super chargers around the city in the future……..

October 23, 2016 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

The role of Professor Ernest Titterton in deceiving Australians about nuclear weapons testing

text-historyChapter 16: A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia  Published in:  Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5(Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253

“……….Another factor which underlay Australian deference during the course of the testing program was the role of Sir Ernest Titterton. A British physicist, Titterton had worked in the United States on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first nuclear weapon.

After the war, he held a position at the British Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and in 1950 he was appointed to the Chair of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University. Among Titterton’s earliest tasks in Australia was that of an adviser to the British scientific team at the first Monte Bello tests. In 1956, the Australian government established an Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee (AWTSC) responsible for monitoring the British testing program to ensure that the safety of the Australian environment and population were not jeopardised. To this end, it was to review British test proposals, provide expert advice to the Australian government, and to monitor the outcome of tests. Titterton was a foundation member of the Committee and later, its Chairman.

While Menzies had envisaged that the Committee would act as an independent, objective body, evidence suggests that it was more sensitive to the needs of the British testing program than to its Australian constituents.

Members tended to be drawn from the nuclear weapons fraternity, as was Titterton; from the Defence establishment, from the Commonwealth Department of Supply, from the Commonwealth X-Ray and Radium Laboratory, and from the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Although the expertise of these individuals is beyond dispute, one wonders if they may have been too closely identified with the ‘atomic establishment’ to provide independent critical advice. The nuclear weapons fraternity have often been criticised as a rather cavalier lot; no less a person than General Leslie Groves, who headed the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic bomb, has been quoted as having said ‘Radiation death is a very pleasant way to die’ (Ball 1986, p. 8). In retrospect, the Australian safety committee suffered from the absence of biologists and environmental scientists in its ranks……..

In 1960, the British advised the AWTSC that ‘long lived fissile elements’ and ‘a toxic material’ would be used in the ‘Vixen B’ tests. Titterton requested that the materials be named, and later announced ‘They have answered everything we asked.’ The substances in question were not disclosed (Australia 1985, p. 414). In recommending that the Australian government agree to the tests, he appears to have been either insufficiently informed of the hazards at hand, or to have failed to communicate those hazards to the Safety Committee, and through it, to the Australian government. Earlier, before the Totem tests, he had reassured the Australian Prime Minister that

the time of firing will be chosen so that any risk to health due to radioactive contamination in our cities, or in fact to any human beings, is impossible. . . . [N]o habitations or living beings will suffer injury to health from the effects of the atomic explosions proposed for the trials (quoted in Australia 1985, p. 467).

There were other examples of Titterton’s role in filtering information to the Australian authorities, a role which has been described as ‘pivotal’ (Australia 1985, p. 513). He proposed that he be advised informally of certain details of proposed experiments. In one instance, he advised the British that ‘It would perhaps be wise to make it quite clear that the fission yield in all cases is zero’, knowing that this would be a misrepresentation of fact (Australia 1985, p. 519). Years later, the Royal Commission suggested that Titterton may have been more a de facto member of the British Atomic Weapons Research Establishment than a custodian of the Australian public interest.

The Royal Commission’s indictment of Titterton would be damning:

Titterton played a political as well as a safety role in the testing program, especially in the minor trials. He was prepared to conceal information from the Australian Government and his fellow Committee members if he believed to do so would suit the interests of the United Kingdom Government and the testing program (Australia 1985, p. 526)………

October 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies, weapons and war | Leave a comment