Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

How the Mirrar Aboriginal people, helped by environmentalists stopped uranium mining at Jabiluka

Leave it in the ground: stopping the Jabiluka mine, Red Flag Fleur Taylor, 15 July 2019  “…… The election of John Howard in March 1996 marked the end of 13 years of ALP government…..

Australia’s giant mining companies – major backers of the Coalition – got their wish list. Howard immediately abolished Labor’s three mines policy, and the business pages crowed that “25 new uranium mines” were likely and possible. And in October 1997, then environment minister Robert Hill blew the dust off an environmental impact statement from 1979 that said mining at Jabiluka was safe. Approval of the mine quickly followed.

The Jabiluka uranium deposit, just 20 kilometres from the Ranger uranium mine, is one of the richest in the world. The proposal was to build a massively bigger mine than that at Ranger, which would be underground and therefore more dangerous for the workers. It was projected to produce 19 million tonnes of ore over its lifetime, which would be trucked 22 kilometres through World Heritage listed wetlands.

The Liberals hoped to make a point. After all, if you could put a uranium mine in the middle of a national park in the face of Aboriginal opposition, what couldn’t you do?

The fight immediately began. The traditional owners of the area, the Mirarr, were led by senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula and the CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Jacqui Katona. They were supported by anti-nuclear campaigners around the country, most notably Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as a network of activist groups.

The most important objective was to delay construction of the mine, scheduled to begin in 1998. To do this, the Mirarr called on activists to travel to Jabiluka in order to take part in a blockade of the proposed mine site until the onset of the wet season would make construction impossible.

The blockade was immensely successful. Beginning on 23 March 1998, it continued for eight months, attracted 5,000 protesters and led to 600 arrests at various associated direct actions. Yvonne Margarula was one: she was arrested in May for trespass on her own land after she and two other Aboriginal women entered the Ranger mine site.

The blockade also attracted high-profile environmental and anti-nuclear activists such as Peter Garrett and Bob Brown. This helped signal to activists that this was a serious fight. The sheer length of time the blockade lasted created a fantastic opportunity for the campaign in the cities. Activists were constantly returning from Jabiluka with a renewed determination to fight.

The Jabiluka Action Group was key to building an ongoing city-based campaign in Melbourne, and the campaign was strongest there of any city. It held large – often more than 100-strong – weekly meetings, organised endless relays of buses to the blockade and  took the fight to the bosses and corporations that stood to profit from the mine.

We were determined to map the networks of corporate ownership and power behind the mine. But in the late 1990s, when the internet barely existed, this wasn’t as simple as just looking up a company’s corporate structure on its glossy website. It took serious, time consuming research.

A careful tracing of the linkages of the North Ltd board members showed that they were very well connected – and not one but two of them were members and past chairmen of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) – one of Australia’s leading bosses’ organisations. So our June 1998 protest naturally headed to the Business Council of Australia. We occupied their office, and the two groups of anti-uranium protesters, 3,800 kilometres apart, exchanged messages of solidarity, courtesy of the office phones of the BCA.

We were also staggered to learn that the chairman of a company that owned two uranium mines and was Australia’s biggest exporter of hardwood woodchips was also a member of the Parks Victoria board, the national president of Greening Australia and the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board president!

The EPA, and corporate greenwashing in general, thereby became a target for the campaign. Another target was the Royal Society of Victoria, which made the mistake of inviting Sir Gus Nossal, a famous scientist and longstanding booster for the nuclear industry, to give a dinner address. We surrounded its building, and the organisers, somewhat mystified, cancelled the dinner. This action once again made headline news, helping to keep the issue of the Jabiluka mine in people’s minds.

We held regular protests at the headquarters of North Ltd on Melbourne’s St Kilda Road. On the day that Yvonne Margarula was facing court on her trespass charge, a vigil was held overnight. When we heard she had been found guilty, the protest erupted in fury. Cans of red paint – not water-based – materialised, and the corporate facade of North Ltd received an unscheduled refurbishment. The Herald-Sun went berserk.

The leadership of the Mirarr people gave this campaign a different focus from other environmental campaigns of the time. It was fundamentally about land rights, sovereignty and the right of Aboriginal communities to veto destructive developments on their land. In Melbourne, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation appointed long-time Aboriginal militant and historian Gary Foley as their representative. Gary worked tirelessly to provoke and educate the many activists who turned up wanting to “support” or “do something” for Aboriginal people.

At a time when “reconciliation” was strongly supported by liberals and much of the left, Foley told us that reconciliation was bullshit. He argued native title (supposedly a key achievement of Keating) was “the most inferior form of land title under British law”, and that the ALP was every bit as racist as One Nation – if not worse. He insisted activists must educate themselves about sovereignty and the struggles happening right here, not just those happening 3,800 kilometres away. The way the Jabiluka Action Group activists approached this challenge was an example of how people’s ideas change. Many came into the campaign primarily as environmental activists, but almost all left as committed fighters for Aboriginal rights.

**********

When the blockade wound down at the onset of the wet season, it was an opportunity to fight on some other fronts. Representatives of the UN World Heritage Committee visited Kakadu in late 1998 and issued a declaration that the World Heritage values of the area were in danger. They called on the government to stop the mine. Yvonne Margarula and Jacqui Katona travelled to Paris to speak to the European Commission about the mine.

John Howard, at the time mired in ministerial scandals and resignations, had called an election for September 1998, and there was hope in some quarters that Labor might win and stop the mine. But Howard scraped back in on only 48.3 percent of the vote, and it was clear that the fight on the ground would have to continue.

In the meantime, an important legal loophole had been identified. North Ltd had failed to secure agreement for the Jabiluka ore to be trucked to the Ranger mine for processing. It turned out the Mirarr did have the right to refuse this, and by exercising this right they would increase the cost of the project by $200 million (the cost of building a new processing plant at Jabiluka). This, combined with the ongoing protests, became a huge problem for the company.

Something we enjoyed doing at the time was monitoring North Ltd’s share price. It started out high when the Liberals took power. But after a year of protest and controversy, it had started to sink. The slump world uranium prices were going through didn’t help. But what the share price correlated to most closely was the major protests – it showed a drop after every single one.

Fund managers everywhere had absorbed the simple message that Jabiluka meant trouble, and early in 1999 this formerly prestigious blue-chip mining stock was described as one of the year’s “dog stocks”. Encouraged by this, the campaign launched its most ambitious action to date – the four-day blockade of North Ltd, from Palm Sunday until Easter Thursday 1999. This was the beginning of the end for the mine. In mid-2000, Rio Tinto bought out the struggling North Ltd. With no appetite for a brawl, the new owners quietly mothballed the Jabiluka project, signing a guarantee with the Mirarr to that effect. The campaign had won.

**********

The Jabiluka campaign was one of those rare things – an outright victory. It was a win not just for the Mirarr people, but for every community threatened by a devastating radioactive mine. And it was a win for humanity as a whole, protected from more of this deadly substance. Our chant – “Hey, North, you’re running out of time! You’re never going to get your Jabiluka mine!” – for once came true.

The victory inspired a neighbouring traditional owner, Jeffrey Lee, single-handedly to challenge the development of the Koongarra uranium deposit, resulting in the cancellation of that entire mining lease. In Melbourne and other cities, the Mirarr resistance inspired sustained and creative campaigning from a wide variety of participants – from vegan Wiccans and revolutionary socialists to doof-doof rave organisers and corporate-philanthropist Women for Mirarr Women. The campaign was chaotic and argumentative, but united by a commitment to challenging corporate power and standing up for Aboriginal sovereignty.

It still serves as an inspiration for anti-nuclear and anti-mining campaigns, such as the brave and determined opposition of the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners to the Adani mine. It stands as a great example of how blockades on country can nourish and inspire actions in the cities.  https://redflag.org.au/node/6839

 

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July 18, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear, opposition to nuclear, reference | Leave a comment

Dr Jim Green analyses the Australian super funds’ views about nuclear power

Nuclear war between super funds Online Opinion,   Jim Green – , 11 July 2019 Industry Super Australia (ISA) – a research and advocacy body for Industry SuperFunds – has published a report promoting nuclear power, prompting a sceptical response from Industry Super Holdings, which is controlled by super funds including AustralianSuper, Cbus, Hostplus and HESTA. Most of those super funds are also involved in ISA, so the sector is at war with itself – or perhaps the sceptical response can be read as the sector’s response to the authors of the pro-nuclear report.

The context for this debate is welcome – super funds urging governments to speed up climate action, and considering using some part of their own vast wealth to make needed investments for climate change abatement.

But the ISA report – ‘Modernising Electricity Sectors: A guide to long-run investment decisions’, written by ISA Chief Economist Stephen Anthony and Emeritus Professor Alex Coram from the University of WA – misses the mark on nuclear power.

ISA gives itself some wriggle-room by noting that the views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect those of ISA. And the authors give themselves some wriggle-room: for all their nuclear boosterism, they note that it ‘is unlikely that nuclear offers opportunities for investment in the short term’ and that it should be placed on a ‘watching brief’.

On the other hand, the authors argue that Australia’s lack of experience managing a nuclear power plant ‘pre-empts the ability to make decisions between all major options for emission reduction.’ So Australia should introduce nuclear power in order to make a decision as to whether or not to develop nuclear power? Insofar as there is any logic to that argument, it is dizzyingly circular.

The authors fret that Australia has no capacity to build or operate a nuclear facility and thus lags geographical neighbours such as Indonesia and Vietnam. That’s nonsense. All three countries are in the same position: operating research reactors, no capacity to build power reactors and no serious plans to acquire them from overseas vendors (Vietnam abandoned its quest for nuclear power in 2016, citing excessive costs).

The authors aim to ‘to provide the best analysis possible’ but there isn’t even passing mention of salient issues such as the proliferation and security issues associated with nuclear power, or the industry’s sickening record of mistreating indigenous peoples, or the nuclear waste legacy, or the occasional catastrophic accident costing hundreds of billions of dollars in addition to the human and environmental costs.

Nuclear economics

The authors state that levelised costs of energy are not a good basis for long-term investment or policy decisions, and they prefer grid-level cost estimates (which make allowance for such things as the cost of back-up power). Fine – but the inputs they choose undermine their work. Rubbish in, rubbish out……..

The report ignores the Hinkley Point construction project in the UK (two EPR reactors) as it ‘seems to be an outlier in terms of technology and financial arrangements’. So the authors use the ridiculous EIRP cost estimates for non-existent Generation IV reactors but ignore cost estimates for reactors that are actually under construction … go figure. Hinkley weighs in at a hefty US$10.5 billion per GW. And the ISA report ignores the Vogtle twin-AP1000 project in the US state of Georgia, which is even worse at US$12.3+ billion per GW.

There’s no mention of the V.C. Summer project in South Carolina (two AP1000 reactors), abandoned after the expenditure of at least A$12.9 billion, There’s no mention of the bankruptcy of industry giants Westinghouse and Areva.

The nuclear industry is in crisis – but you wouldn’t know it reading the ISA report. Nuclear lobbyists have themselves repeatedly acknowledged nuclear power’s ‘rapidly accelerating crisis‘, a ‘crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West‘, ‘the crisis that the nuclear industry is presently facing in developed countries‘, while noting that ‘the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies‘ and engaging each other in heated argumentsabout what if anything can be salvaged from the ‘ashes of today’s dying industry’.

Generation IV concepts

If the ISA report authors are entranced by Generation IV nuclear concepts, as their uncritical use of the EIRP report suggests, why not consider the estimated cost of prototypes under construction rather than ridiculous guestimates offered by nuclear companies? Argentina claims to be a world leader in the development of small modular reactors, but the estimated cost of the one SMR under construction in Argentina has ballooned to an absurd US$21.9 billion / GW. Likewise, estimated construction costs for Russia’s floating nuclear power plant increased more than four-fold and now amount to over US$10 billion / GW.

ISA’s chief economist and report co-author Stephen Anthony told the ABC that nuclear power ‘looks awfully good’. But the only figures in the ISA report that make nuclear look good are the ridiculous guestimates provided by companies involved in Generation IV R&D. Nuclear doesn’t look awfully good to the growing number of countries phasing out nuclear power ‒ a list that now includes Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea. And it doesn’t look awfully good to the nuclear lobbyists pondering what if anything can be salvaged from the ‘ashes of today’s dying industry’ … it looks awful, not awfully good.

A 2015 report by the International Energy Agency and the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency said that ‘generation IV technologies aim to be at least as competitive as generation III technologies … though the additional complexity of these designs, the need to develop a specific supply chain for these reactors and the development of the associated fuel cycles will make this a challenging task.’

The late Michael Mariotte commented on the IEA/OECD report: ‘So, at best the Generation IV reactors are aiming to be as competitive as the current − and economically failing − Generation III reactors. And even realizing that inadequate goal will be ‘challenging.’ The report might as well have recommended to Generation IV developers not to bother.’

Technological neutrality?

A single reactor would be a ‘relatively small investment’, the ISA report states. But cost estimates for all reactors under construction in north America and western Europe range from A$14-24 billion………..

The report discusses the plan for a twin-reactor nuclear plant at Wylfa in Wales, abandoned after the cost estimate increased from A$26.4 billion to A$39.7 billion. The project was abandoned by Hitachi, the ISA authors state, ‘because it was required to carry too much risk relative to the size of the company.’ But staggering British taxpayer subsidies were on offer for Hitachi to proceed with Wylfa. Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark saidthe UK government offered a ‘significant and generous package of potential support that goes beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past’ … which is really saying something since taxpayer subsidies for Hinkley Point are estimated at A$5591 billion.

Evidently the ISA report authors believe that the subsidies on offer for Wylfa needed to be increased again and again until Hitachi finally agreed to go ahead with the project.

Sceptical responses

The New Daily, a publication of Industry Super Holdings, didn’t buy the ISA’s nuclear Kool-Aid. The New Daily article quotes Dr Ziggy Switkowski saying last year that ‘the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed’ and that nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables, with costs rapidly shifting in favour of renewables.

The New Daily also quotes Andrew Richards, CEO of the Energy Users Association of Australia. Richards noted that it would take at least a decade to get a nuclear power plant up and running (20+ years according to economist Prof. John Quiggin) and that governments would need to support insurance, dismantling and disposal costs as the private sector won’t take on those risks.

The Electrical Trades Union condemned the ISA report. ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks said: ‘The ETU has very strong concerns about this ISA report that broadly spruiks nuclear power while using flawed assumptions and poor modelling to write down the capacity of renewables and battery technology.’

Hicks called on partners in the superannuation industry to join in the condemnation of the ISA report ‘that is not only full of holes but would put at risk the very people who industry super represents – union members.’

Hicks continued: ‘This report has been developed without consulting key industry stakeholders or actual members of Industry Super Australia that we have been in contact with. … With the Federal Liberal Government totally incapable of leading on energy policy, we think ISA should take a leading role in energy investment, but it must not try to put our members retirement savings into a deadly industry that does not exist in Australia and is fading around the globe and consistently leads to spiralling costs.’

ETU National Industry Coordinator Matthew Murphy accusedI SA of ‘fluffing up the benefits of nuclear power’ and said many of the report’s findings were based on assumptions or numbers with no basis in reality. ‘This report is biased toward nuclear power and against renewables and that clearly bares out in shoddy maths and assumptions like ‘a battery will only run for one hour’ or that the island nation of Australia is not suitable for off-shore wind and tidal power,’ Murphy said.   http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=20399&page=1

July 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Northern New South Wales MP – “NO nuclear power – not on my watch!”

Not on my watch” – MP fuming over backing for nuclear power –   Gold Coast Bulletin, 21 June 19, 

A NORTHERN NSW MP says she will fight tooth and nail against nuclear power after a southern Gold Coast politician said she was open to considering the divisive energy source.

Member for Richmond Justine Elliot pointed to a recent Sky News interview involving Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews, the Member for McPherson.

When asked about nuclear energy in Australia, Ms Andrews said: “I don’t have an issue with it being considered.”

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler seized on the comments and said it was another example of senior Liberals supporting nuclear power.

He asked whether Ms Andrews would “prefer the nuclear plant in Coolangatta, Robina, Burleigh Heads or Palm Beach?”.

“Scott Morrison needs to make his position clear,” he said.

The back-and-forth over the issue prompted Mrs Elliot to weigh in and reaffirm her “longstanding opposition to nuclear power”.

“Our community on the North Coast does have a major issue with nuclear energy and I stand with them in opposing any nuclear power plants in coastal communities like ours on the NSW North Coast,” she said.

“Let me make this very clear to Scott Morrison and the Liberals and Nationals – if you pursue any plans for nuclear energy in our region, our community will fight this every day.”

The Labor MP said she had a clear message for LNP Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“As the local Federal MP my message to the Prime Minister is – no nuclear power – not on my watch,” Mrs Elliot said.

“The Liberal National government needs to come clean on their plans for nuclear power and reassure our community that it won’t become home to a nuclear power plant.

“We know that nuclear power plants need to be built near water so I call on the Liberals and Nationals to rule out any plans for nuclear power in our area.”

Mrs Elliot was adamant the northern NSW community “don’t want it in our area”.

“I stand committed in my opposition to nuclear power and under my watch the North Coast will never become home to a nuclear power plant,” she said.

Mrs Elliot added nuclear power plants could not legally be built in Australia and she said the pressure was on Mr Morrison to “take real action to end the energy crisis that has emerged under the Liberal National Government”.

“So far, all the Liberals and Nationals are promising in energy is expensive new coal-fired power stations and a growing pressure from Ministers such as Karen Andrews, for Australia to pursue even more expensive nuclear power,” she said.

Mrs Elliot’s electorate of Richmond stretches from the Queensland-NSW border to Ballina region in the south

June 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Protestors rally at South Australian Parliament against nuclear waste dump plan

Nuclear protesters converge at Parliament House https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/5745040/nuclear-protesters-converge-at-parliament-house/, Marco Balsamo

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

 Walkatjurra anti-uranium Walkabout completed

The Walkatjurra Walkabout has finished with a storm (literally)! An awesome walk into Leonora with lots of support to keep WA nuclear free.  A successful public meeting the following day having CCWA Director Piers Verstegen come into Leonora to support the community and in particular the three Tjiwarl native title holders, Shirley, Lizzy and Vicky on the court challenge that included a visit to the proposed radioactive waste dump.  You can see photos and read about their adventures here.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Cyclists start 900km journey to Canberra, with Nobel Peace Prize and aim to end nuclear weapons

Nobel Peace Ride: Cyclists carry medal to Canberra, urging end to nuclear weapons, A group of cyclists have set off from Melbourne, bound for Canberra to deliver a message to Australia’s new Foreign Minister on banning nuclear weapons. 2 Sept 18 , SBS News,  By Biwa Kwan, Twenty cyclists have begun a 900km journey to Canberra from Melbourne.

September 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protesters against national radioactive waste dump march on Joy Baluch AM Bridge

Marco Balsamo www.transcontinental.com.au/profile/605/marco-balsamo

PROTEST: ‘Hundreds of people from across the state came together to rally 
against the proposed national radioactive waste management facility. …

‘ The rally was organised by the Barngarla people, just two days after
the Supreme Court of South Australia granted an interlocutory injunction
on the community postal ballot.

Barngarla man Harry Dare said it was important for people of all backgrounds
to stand together against the facility.

‘“United we can fight. We can’t fight singularly,” Mr Dare said. …

Adnyamathanha woman Candace Champion was among the guest speakers,
calling on the government to listen to the opinions of the traditional owners.

‘“I do not want to bring a child into this world knowing that I’m going to leave them
more burdens and heartbreak than blessings and a safe environment,” she said.

‘“You can study your whole life in a classroom, but my family have
studied, witnessed, watched and grown on that land for 60,000 years.”’

Read more of Marco Balsamo‘s interesting reportback:
www.transcontinental.com.au/story/5596675/standing-up-against-nuclear/?cs=5812

August 26, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Despite weather extremes the grand Walkatjurra Walkabout against uranium mining presses on

K-A Garlick at Nuclear Free WA, 15 Aug 18 The Walkatjurra Walkabout have survived the first 10 days of the protest walk in freezing overnight temperatures and long hot walking days. Walking strong a group of 55 people gathered at Yeelirrie to support Traditional Owners, Aunty Shirley, Lizzie Wonyabong and Vicky Abdhullah in their 40-year struggle to stop the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine.

The three women have shared stories of the area where they and their families grew up on. and their ancestors grew up.   The group was joined by Youno Downs Station, who shared stories of the history of uranium exploration and company intimidation over the years they have lived on the pastoralist station.  “Water is what the company is after, they (Cameco) need up to 10 millions of litres of water and they want us to give it to them!” ……. to be continued!

August 15, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Sunshine Coast environment and population must not be put at risk by nuclear power stations

OUR SAY: Nuclear move not for Coast, Sunshine Coast Daily by CRAIG WARHURST, 6th Jul 2018 

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Queensland | Leave a comment

Launch of film “protecting Country”

Protecting Country

 

Alexander Hayes   After three years of listening, a huge trip across country, countless hours spent editing and many community consultations we are thankful to be releasing today the Protecting Country film which was produced by Bruce Hammond and features Aboriginal leaders in their stand against the continued genocide of uranium mining, testing and dumping in Australia –

“…Protecting Country is an independently produced film bringing the voices of the contemporary Adnyamathanha, Gurindji, Tanganekald, Yankunytjatjara Anunga, Mirning, Narunnga Aboriginal Australian people forward who are united in their stand AGAINST the present and planned uranium mining and nuclear dump activities in South Australia. Bruce Hammond, an Aboriginal Tanganekald man with ties to the coast in the lower South East of South Australia and the central desert regions of Finke and Alice Springs in conjunction with Alexander Hayes & Magali McDuffie from Ngikalikarra Media brought the ‘Protecting Country’ documentary film on a screening road trip across Australia –

June 22, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

A journey to the heart of the anti-nuclear resistance in Australia: Radioactive Exposure Tour 2018

 NUCLEAR  MONITOR  – A PUBLICATION OF WORLD INFORMATION SERVICE ON ENERGY (WISE)   AND THE NUCLEAR INFORMATION & RESOURCE SERVICE (NIRS  Author: Ray Acheson ‒ Director, Reaching Critical Will, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)   NM859.4719, May 2018 

Looking at a map of South Australia’s nuclear landscape, the land is scarred. Uranium mines and weapon test sites, coupled with indications of where the government is currently proposing to site nuclear waste dumps, leave their marks across the desert. But amidst the devastation these poisonous activities have left on the land and its people, there is fierce resistance and boundless hope.

Friends of the Earth Australia has been running Radioactive Exposure Tours for the past thirty years.Designed to bring people from around Australia to meet local activists at various nuclear sites, the Rad Tour provides a unique opportunity to learn about the land, the people, and the nuclear industry in the most up-front and personal way.

This year’s tour featured visits to uranium mines, bomb test legacy sites, and proposed radioactive waste dumps on Arabunna, Adnyamathanha, and Kokatha land in South Australia, and introduced urban-based activists to those directly confronting the nuclear industry out in country. It brought together about 30 people including campaigners from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Reaching Critical Will, environmental activists with Friends of the Earth Australia and other organisations, and interested students and others looking to learn about the land, the people, and the industries operating out in the desert.

The journey of ten days takes us to many places and introduces us to many people, but can be loosely grouped into three tragic themes: bombing, mining, and dumping.  Each of these aspects of the nuclear chain is stained with racism, militarism, and capitalism. Each represents a piece of a dirty, dangerous, but ultimately dying nuclear industry. And each has been and continues to be met with fierce resistance from local communities, including Traditional Owners of the land.

Testing the bomb   The first two days of the trip are spent driving from  Melbourne to Adelaide to Port Augusta. We pick up activists along the way, before finally heading out to the desert. Our first big stop on the Tour is a confrontation  with the atomic bomb. Continue reading

May 12, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Time for South Australians, ALL Australians, to rally against nuclear waste dumping in beautiful Flinders Ranges

Anti-nuclear protesters increase fight against radioactive dump being established in SA
The Advertiser Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, Sunday Mail (SA) May 5, 2018
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/antinuclear-protesters-increase-fight-against-radioactive-dump-being-established-in-sa/news-story/55f7c369b17f03c747c1de824428b4df

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners will increase their fight to stop South Australia from becoming the nation’s radioactive waste ground, ahead of a final vote by the community.

Hundreds of postcards will be sent to Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan demanding cultural heritage sites, agricultural land and the environment be protected from nuclear waste.

The Federal Government is expected to decide in the coming months whether to build a low-level and intermediate-level waste facility at Kimba or Barndioota, in the Flinders Ranges.

The two-year site selection process has divided both communities, those in favour believed it would create economic opportunities, while those opposed said it would jeopardise industries.

Conservation SA nuclear waste campaigner Mara Bonacci said the government needed to be more transparent about the facility ahead of an August 20 community ballot.

“There is division in both communities, whether it’s people who are pro-nuclear waste or anti-nuclear, they both want what’s best for the community,” Ms Bonacci said.

But the pro-waste people are saying it will create lots of jobs, but we haven’t got any clarity around the numbers or if they’re full-time.

“We also want to know what number the Minister wants in a community vote to show ‘broad community support’ for the facility.”

Before the government decides on the successful site, residents from both communities will be given a final chance to accept or reject the proposal.

The ballot will be held less than a week after findings of a Senate Inquiry into the site-selection process are to be released, on August 14.

Mr Canavan told the Sunday Mail the government would provide more detailed information on the project’s design, job creation, cost, community benefits and safety, ahead of the ballot.

He said a nuclear waste facility would not be imposed on an unwilling community and it would need “broad community support” – although no arbitrary figure was provided.

“As we have always said, a range of factors will be used to determine broad community support, including the results of a public ballot, public and private submissions, and feedback from stakeholders during community discussions, including neighbours, councils and local groups,” Mr Canavan said. “The consultation process is engaging people on all sides of the discussion, and all views – supportive, neutral and opposed – are taken into account.”

The ballot will include residents of the Flinders Ranges Council and within a 50km radius of the Barnidoota site, and the Kimba District Council.

May 7, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Two years of community resistance

Sunday 29th April 2018 marked two years since then Minister Frydenberg selected Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges as a possible site to dump and store Australia’s radioactive waste.

Members of the Flinders Local Action Group, No Dump Alliance and Don’t Dump on SA spent the weekend at the Adnyamathanha-run Wilpena Pound and in Hawker to raise awareness of the issue with locals and tourists alike.

Overseas visitors were surprised and horrified to learn about the federal government’s proposal to put a radioactive waste facility in the area and were happy to sign postcards being collected to send to Minister Matt Canavan to show their opposition to a nuclear waste dump in SA.

The cited employment and economic opportunities are modest: some short-term fencing and  construction work and just 12 to 15 longer term security and maintenance jobs. In contrast, the South Australian Tourism Commission states that visitor expenditure in the Flinders Ranges is $415 million p.a. with 1,400 jobs directly in the tourism industry and 1,300 indirect jobs – a total employment impact of 2,700 people.

Current federal Minister Matt Canavan recently announced that an AEC community vote for a planned waste dump and store would begin on August 20th. This is despite the fact that there is currently a Senate Inquiry examining the flawed and divisive site selection process and exhibits no regard for recommendations which may arise from the inquiry that will not report to parliament until mid-August. The Minister has not clarified what constitutes ‘broad community support’ despite repeated community requests.

Minister Canavan recently visited the area but failed to consult with the Adnyamathanha people.  In response, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) released a short video message to the Minister.

Regina McKenzie, Adnyamathanha woman who lives next door to the proposed site, said “it’s been two years of the government not listening, they turn deaf ears towards the whole Adnyamathanha Nation who say no to the waste dump. We say no waste dump in our country”.

Greg Bannon, chair of the Flinders Local Action Group, said “this fight has been going since the site was shortlisted. For two years, the government has had a continual presence in district. The process has dragged on, but the government needs to know that we are committed to stopping this proposal. They have using a site selection model that has been tried and failed for years: forcing a radioactive waste dump on a remote community.”

Leading civil society organisations including environment, public health, Indigenous, trade union and faith groups all support an expert, open and independent inquiry into the full range of radioactive waste management options.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

20 years’ anniversary of Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners blockade of Jabiluka

Guardian 2nd April 2018, One of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important
anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at
Jabiluka in Kakadu national park.

This was the moment at which push would
come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits.
The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power:
on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for
self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners,
particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula. They
were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an
international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and
researchers.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/03/20-years-on-from-the-jabiluka-mine-protest-we-can-find-hope-in-its-success

April 4, 2018 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste issue highlighted in Port Augusta ahead of state election

Mara Bonacci, 5 March 2018    On Saturday 3rd March, members of Adelaide-based group Don’t Dump on SA joined Adnyamathanha and Barngarla people and members of the Flinders Local Action Group (FLAG) on the Princes Highway in Port Augusta to highlight concerns over the Federal government’s plan to site a radioactive waste facility in South Australia.

The lively and colourful event involved a giant inflatable radioactive waste barrel, music, free cuppas and a lime green three-headed kangaroo. It received a positive response and lots of encouragement from locals and passing traffic.

Locals who stopped for a chat were given showbag-style information packs and encouraged to send a submission to the federal Senate Inquiry into the selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia. An online submission template can be found athttps://nowastedump.good.do/wastedumpsenateinquiry/submission/.

Barngarla woman Linda Dare said “We’re here today to tell people that we don’t want a radioactive waste facility in South Australia. We want people to support us in the fight to stop it”.

FLAG member and Hawker GP, Dr Susi Andersson, said “The federal government is treating this as an issue for the local people only, but many people visit and care about the Flinders Ranges and don’t want a dump there.  I feel the broader community need to know about and discuss this issue”.

In response to earlier federal moves to dump radioactive waste in SA our Parliament passed the Nuclear Waste Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000. The objects of this Act are “to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this state.”

In the lead up to the state election on 17 March, people concerned about the imposition of a nuclear waste facility in SA are being encouraged to vote for parties who will defend this legislation. Information can be found at https://www.ourfuturesa.org.au/scorecard.

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment