Australian news, and some related international items

weapons and war

Now, I am become Death, the , the destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientist and “father of the bomb”

On the morning of 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy” was dropped by the United States on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later the United States dropped a plutonium bomb code-named “Fat Man” on the city of Nagasaki. 140,000 people (almost all civilians) died in Hiroshima either immediately or within a few days. Deaths in Nagasaki were about 74,000. The survivors lived on, some with horrifying burns scars, some to die of radiation-induced illnesses
Following the war, many scientists involved in the atomic bomb project, turned to the “atoms for peace” program – nuclear power. They did this partly out of guilt, partly to continue to be employed. (Where would a nuclear physicist get a job, otherwise? Well, some were happy to continue with nuclear weapons development)

Nuclear weapons are an inevitable by-product of the nuclear power industry

nuke-cycle-weaponsInformation below – from Nuclear Energy Information Service, Illinois’ Nuclear Power Watchdog for 25 Years

“There is no technical demarcation between the military and civilian reactor and there never was one. What has persisted over the decades is just the misconception that such a linkage does not exist.” From the Los Alamos National Laboratory dated August, 1981

In order to get plutonium for weapons, one needs a reactor, whether it is a “research” reactor……. or a commercial reactor

FISSIONABLE MATERIALS: It is the same nuclear fuel cycle with its mining of uranium, milling, enrichment and fuel fabrication stages which readies the uranium ore for use in reactors, whether these reactors are used to create plutonium for bombs or generate electricity. In the end, both reactors produce the plutonium. The only difference between them is the concentration of the various isotopes used in the fuel. Each year a typical 1000 mega-watt (MW) commercial power reactor will produce 300 to 500 pounds of plutonium — enough to build between 25 – 40 Nagasaki-sized atomic bombs.

….…..It takes about 15 pounds of plutonium-239 or uranium-235 to fashion a crude nuclear device. The technology to enrich the isotopes is available for about one million dollars….

….even the most technically advanced nations cannot keep track of their materials and technology. In an inventory taken between October, 1980, and March, 1981, the U.S. government could not account for about 55 pounds of plutonium and 159 pounds of uranium from its weapons facilities. The explanation given for this Missing material was “accounting error” and that the materials were “stuck in the piping.”

“Mechanized civilization has just reached the ultimate stage of barbarism. In a near future, we will have to choose between mass suicide and intelligent use of scientific conquests. This can no longer be simply a prayer; it must become an order which goes upward from the peoples to the governments, an order to make a definitive choice between hell and reason.”Albert Camus August 8, 1945,


Australia has no credibility on peace negotiations, and no true safeguards on its lucrative uranium trade

Australia has long been part of the USA’s nuclear war strategy.  Pine Gap, USA’s secret facility in Central Australia, has since 1966 been  a centre for espionage and for co-ordination of US air strikes. It has been part of America’s “Star Wars” plan to put missiles into space. American congressmen have made $millions from their investments in Defense Department contracts in Pine Gap, and can tour Pine Gap.  But Australian Members of Parliament are denied entry.

In recent months, Australia’s role in the USA’s nuclear war strategy has been stepped up. A new base, at Exmouth. will be added to the Northwest Cape joint communications base, for increased tracking of missiles and satellites, and potentially for cyber warfare. U.S. Military equipment will be stationed in Darwin and Townsville. There will be increased visits from U.S. military ships, and more U.S. military exercises in Australia.

Being part of the American nuclear war machine makes a hypocrisy out of Australia’s supposed posture against nuclear weapons.

As an exporter of uranium, Australia plays a key part in nuclear weapons. There are no effective safeguards against uranium being used for weapons,  – no real barrier between the “peaceful atom” and the “military atom”

Australia’, represented by Kevin Rudd and Gareth Evans, has been posing as a world leader in nuclear disarmament, prominent in developing policy for Nuclear Nonproliferation.

But Australia has now no credibility in pontificating on nuclear disarmament, especially as the Australian government has  agreed to selling uranium to Russia. And, Australia is likely to follow the lead of USA, and sell uranium to India, who refuses to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty

A recent Parliamentary Inquiry into proposed uranium sales to Russia concluded that there were no meaningful safeguards to prevent it being diverted to weapons. The Inquiry recommended against selling uranium to Russia.

There are no independent safeguards inspections in Russia, and even the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) does not carry these out (not since 2001)

Meanwhile Russia, apart from its notorious record of unsafe nuclear facilities, and smuggling of uranium, – Russia is supplying Iran with nuclear technology. But isn’t there a worry that Iran is developing nuclear weapons?

NUCLEAR SAFEGUARDS Over 30 years ago, the Fox inquiry into uranium mining described safeguards as “an illusion of protection”. Nothing has changed. In fact it has got worse.

When it comes to Australia selling uranium – The Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office and its Director General John Carlson give Australians a bland assurance that Australian uranium does not end up in nuclear weapons.

These “safeguards” are a joke. There is no way of tracking Australian uranium as it weaves its way through the intricacies of the nuclear fuel chain. Australia sells uranium to China, with no assurance whatever that this uranium won’t go to China’s weapons program. China has signed the Non Proliferation Treaty, but not signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Australian uranium goes to Taiwan, which has not signed the Non Proliferation Treaty.

There is no doubt that Australia’s uranium industry is contributing to an increasingly nuclear-armed and dangerous Asia, including South Korea, which is now pursuing nuclear technology and nuclear weapons

Latest moves to sell uranium to Saudi Arabia would be  a joke, if not so serious . Australian company Worley parsons was helping construct nuclear power in Egypt.  I hop ethat has stopped – but you never know.

The Australian Safeguards and Non Proliferation Office (ASNO) and its Director General, John Carlson, are ineffectual. ASNO functions a convenient smokescreen for the uranium mining companies, which profit from foreign countries’ hunger for nuclear weapons.

1 Comment »

  1. Nuclear weapons abolition.
    Does the Federal Government support nuclear weapons abolition?
    Is Minister Martin Ferguson not yet aware that nuclear energy sustains nuclear weapons technology and opportunity, notwithstanding any Australian Obligated Nuclear Material (AONM) conditions?


    Comment by Peter Ravine | December 19, 2011 | Reply

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