Australian news, and some related international items

More from David Bradbury – Day 1 at the Lizards Revenge anti uranium festival

As if to make a mockery of the so called autonomy of the recent award of Native Title to his people, Kevin Buzzacott (pictured)  had to get a permit from the police to drive down on a public road from his home to the north here to join the protestors yesterday.

So end of daylight going into music and dance celebration tonight and all is good. Very friendly feeling amongst everyone as people get to know their neighbors in pitched tents next to them. People chatting around camp fires, reviewing their part and impressions of today’s great march to the mine entrance gates where people dressed in very colorful outfits and hairstyles Bollywood and danced their booties off. Some amazing break dancing on the road to a very appreciative audience.

The cops who were thick in presence looked on stoney faced from behind the BHP wire and off to the sides. The cost to the taxpayer for this over policed event must be phenomenal. But we love the Land. We love the country. We know why we are here to protect country and the Future. As Uncle Kevin said at utoday’s press conference, “one bulldozer and 40,000 years is gone”.

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | , | Leave a comment

Police agree on ‘right to protest’ – but block off road 4Km from Olympic Dam uranium mine

Police block mine road to protesters, BY: MARK SCHLIEBS  The Australian July 12, 2012   POLICE will set up roadblocks around BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in outback South Australia, creating further anger and warnings of confrontations with anti-uranium activists who plan to “shut down” mining operations during a five-day protest at the site.

Two roads leading to the Roxby Downs mine, in the state’s remote centre, have been blocked ahead of the first day of the protest on Saturday. The road protesters planned to use has been blocked 4km from the mine’s southern gates.

Only mine workers, emergency services workers and people individually approved by police can use the roads.

Protest organisers had hoped between 200 and 2000 activists would attend the demonstration and a music festival. One organiser, Nectaria Calan, said yesterday the police were being deliberately antagonistic.

“They’re blocking a public road,” she said. “On the one hand, they’re saying we’ve got the right to protest but on the other hand they’ve already made moves to prevent us from doing so.” She said the activists would decide how the protest would proceed once they reached Roxby Downs, but would not rule out blockading the roads.

Hundreds of police reinforcements, including special operations officers, have reportedly been sent to the town….. A company spokeswoman would not confirm whether hundreds of private security contractors had been flown to Roxby Downs but said preparations had been made.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | civil liberties, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, uranium | , , | Leave a comment

The anti uranium rally at Olympic Dam – an issue for all Australians, not just a fringe issue

BHP’s URANIUM FIEFDOM  , 11 July 2012, New Matilda   Olympic Dam has been plagued with faults – but is exempt from public scrutiny. The failure of government and business to ensure the mine’s safety is not a fringe issue, writes Jim Green

BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium and copper mine is a state within a state. It operates under a unique set of laws enshrined in the amended Roxby Downs Indenture Act. That would be unobjectionable except that the Indenture Act allows Olympic Dam wide-ranging exemptions from environmental laws, water management laws and Aboriginal Heritage laws — and for good measure it curtails the application of the Freedom of Information Act.

Hundreds of Australians are protesting the mine this weekend. Their overarching concern might be expressed as what sociologists call “political blockage” — official avenues of grievance resolution are closed so people take matters into their own hands….

 I’ll be at the Olympic Dam convergence for two main reasons. Firstly, out of solidarity with Traditional Owners who are ignored by BHP, ignored by the state and federal governments, and sometimes ignored even by their own people. BHP generously supports Reconcilitation Australia yet holds on tenaciously to its exemptions from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act — that sort of hypocrisy and cant needs to be exposed.

And secondly, I’ll be there because the domestic problems with Australia’s uranium industry are compounded by serious international problems. Australia has uranium export agreements with nuclear weapons states that have no intention of meeting their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty disarmament obligations; countries with a history of secret nuclear weapons research; countries that refuse to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; countries blocking progress on the proposed Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; undemocratic, and secretive states with appalling human rights records.

Both major parties now support the abandonment of previous policies banning uranium exports to countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The federal government is planning to allow uranium sales to a Middle Eastern dictatorship — the United Arab Emirates. The last time Australia went down that path was in late 1978 when the Fraser government was negotiating with the Shah of Iran — a few short months before his overthrow during the Iranian Revolution.

All of these uranium export agreements are accompanied by safeguards inspection regimes that are at best modest, sometimes tokenistic (e.g. China) and sometimes all but non-existent (e.g. Russia).

Those converging on the mine later this week reflect broader public concerns about uranium mining. Opinion polls are roughly divided on the topic; typically, polls find that a majority of Australians want existing uranium mines to be allowed to run their course but a majority want a ban on new uranium mines. A 2006 Newspoll found even a majority of Coalition voters wanted a ban on new uranium mines, as did more than three-quarters of Labor voters.

Recent polls indicate that two-thirds of Australians oppose uranium sales to nuclear weapons states and two-thirds oppose the plan to sell uranium to India — a country which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and is engaged in a nuclear arms race with Pakistan and China.

These are not fringe concerns.


July 11, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | Leave a comment

South Australia: police ready in force for anti uranium protest at Olympic Damn

“We’d like as many people as possible to show that Australian community does feel marginalised by the decision to build the largest uranium mine in the world and show they care,”

Protesters vow to shut down Olympic Dam, Police reporter Doug Robertson The Advertiser July 07, 2012 HUNDREDS of police will be sent to Roxby Downs as thousands of protesters from around the country attempt to shut down the Olympic Dam uranium mine.

The Desert Liberation Front website has issued an open invitation to more than 10,000 people to attend the six-day protest, music and art festival to be held on the outskirts of the town from next Saturday. It says it will take their protest to “Roxby Downs – gates of hell” to help “shut down the mine”….. More than 1200 protesters have already indicated they will attend while 723 others are seeking transport.

Police sources have told The Advertiser “a couple of hundred officers” will head to Roxby Downs, including STAR Group, mounted police and others on dirt bikes….The protest and festival is named after the Aboriginal Dream Time story of Kalta, a lizard which belongs to the land around Olympic Dam. Desert Liberation Front’s Adelaide-based spokeswoman Nectaria Calan said busloads of supporters were coming from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Continue reading

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | , | Leave a comment

Majority of Australians oppose sale of uranium to India

‘Most Australians against Uranium sale to India’, Hindustan Times, Melbourne, June 05, 2012 The Australian government might have overturned a ban on uranium sale to India but a majority of people in the country still appear opposed to the idea of selling the mineral to New Delhi. In a new survey, a majority of Australians were found to be
against the recent Labor party decision of lifting ban on Uranium sale to India with 61% opposing it.

“More than 60% of Australians say they are against ‘Australia selling uranium to India’, with 39% saying they are ‘strongly against’,” according to the eight annual Lowy Institute poll 2012.

In December 2011, the Australian Labor Party had overturned a ban on the sale of uranium to India following a heated national conference debate.

The results were published by the Lowy institute Poll after a nationally representative opinion survey of 1,005 Australian adults was done……

June 6, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Labor Member of Parliament joins Northern Territory protest against nuclear waste dump plan

March marks five years of nuclear waste push Allyson Horn, May 25, 2012   A protest has marked the fifth anniversary of the proposal to build a nuclear waste facility at Muckaty Station.    More than a hundred people have taken part in a protest against a
proposed nuclear waste facility in the Northern Territory.

Muckaty Station, about 130 kilometres north, of Tennant Creek is the site being considered for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump. Protesters marched along Tennant Creek’s main street, chanting “no dump at Muckaty, don’t waste the Territory”.

It has been five years since the site at Muckaty was first nominated for the facility but protesters say some of traditional owners of the land still have not been consulted about it.

Local MLA Gerry McCarthy stood alongside protesters and reaffirmed his commitment to fight against the dump. He says he would take part in a blockade to stop construction of the facility, if it comes to that. 

Diane Numbin Stokes is a traditional owner from Tennant Creek and a custodian of the land area that includes Muckaty station. She says the land being set aside for the nuclear waste dump is an Aboriginal men’s site, but this does not mean the women can’t voice their concerns. “We don’t want the waste to come to that land,” she said.

A Federal Court challenge against the nomination of the site is yet to be settled.

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Conservation Council opposes Wiliuna uranium mine, Kalgoorlie mayor not enthusiastic, either

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder mayor Ron Yuryevich says he is not opposed to the project as long as the uranium is not transported through residential areas of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Council to challenge Toro’s uranium approval, ABC News May 22, 2012  The Conservation Council is to challenge the approval of Toro Energy’s proposed uranium mine in Western Australia’s northern Goldfields. Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Authority gave the go-ahead for the company’s proposal to develop the mine 30 kilometres from Wiluna. Continue reading

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

ACF calls on Australian government to stop selling uranium for nuclear weapons

Chernobyl anniversary: Time for Australian government action on uranium, 28 April 12,  On the anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident the Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the federal government to improve nuclear safety and stop literally fuelling nuclear insecurity.

On 26 April 1986, a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in the Ukraine melted down and spewed radioactive materials across Europe and beyond. The human, environmental and economic impacts of the accident were profound and continue.

“Chernobyl literally exploded the myth of the ‘peaceful atom’ and caused many nations to reconsider the risks and costs of nuclear power,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“On the anniversary of Chernobyl and in the continuing shadow of Fukushima it is important Australia also reviews and reconsiders the costs and consequences of our involvement in the global nuclear trade as a significant supplier of uranium – the basic fuel for both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.”

Last year it was confirmed in the federal Parliament that Australian uranium was in the failed Fukushima reactor and is now causing contamination in Japan.  However the federal government has failed to act on calls – including from the UN Secretary General – to review the industry.

ACF has called for the federal government to learn from Chernobyl and Fukushima and:

  • ·         Commission an independent assessment of the environmental and social impacts of uranium mining in Australia (as recommended in the UN review into the Fukushima crisis)
  • ·         Stop selling uranium to nuclear weapon states pending an independent review of importing countries’ compliance with international disarmament obligations
  • ·         Strengthen international and multi-lateral initiatives by including specific performance requirements and review mechanisms in new and existing Agreements and contracts

“Uranium is the asbestos of the 21st Century: like asbestos, the product works, but at too high a cost – and like asbestos Australia will one day stop mining and supplying it. In the meantime we need to step up to our responsibilities and review and address the impacts of the uranium trade. To fail to do so is to fail to learn from the lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima and to fail to stop the next nuclear disaster,” Mr Sweeney said.

April 28, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | Leave a comment

Aboriginal protest against Muckaty nuclear waste dump stops traffic in Tennant Creek

Muckaty protest brings town’s traffic to a halt 05 Apr, 2012 AN impromptu protest staged by Muckaty traditional owners on Monday brought highway traffic to a halt.

The women, many in traditional body paint, rallied outside the Northern Land Council office in Paterson Street to reiterate the stand they have taken since their land was first nominated as a site for the Federal Government’s national radioactive waste dump.

“We do not want a nuclear dump on our land,” Bunny Nabarula said.

“We have always said ‘no’ and we mean ‘no.’ The Government needs to get this message because we are not ever going to change our mind.”

Lawyers representing traditional owners who have challenged the nomination of Muckaty faced the Commonwealth Government and Northern Land Council in the Federal Court in Melbourne last week.

After a two-day hearing the matter was adjourned with a trial date to be set next month.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Protest in Darwin – the beginning, not the end, of the fight against Muckaty nuclear waste dump

Even if the Federal Court dismisses the action from the traditional owners, the fight to stop the waste dump going ahead will not end

Darwin protest against Muckaty waste dump  9 News  Mar 20 2012  Federal government plans to build a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory amount to “radioactive racism” and ignore the wishes of indigenous people, a protest has been told. Continue reading

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear rallies across Australia on 11th March

Australian Rallies Remember Fukushima Disaster, Voice of America, Phil Mercer 11 March,  Sydney Hundreds of anti-nuclear demonstrators have converged on the Australian headquarters of global mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to

mark one year since Japan’s nuclear crisis. The 500-strong march Sunday through southern Melbourne called for an end to uranium mining in Australia.

Rallies have been held across Australia to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The rallies are also part of a national day of action to end uranium mining in Australia. There were events in Sydney, and in Melbourne a protest included
speeches and performances by representatives of the expatriate Japanese community as well as Australia’s Indigenous communities, who are worried about the effects of mining near tribal lands.

There was a minute’s silence for the victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe. The rally was followed by a march past the headquarters of Australia’s largest uranium miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

The Australian Conservation Foundation is demanding an independent review of the costs and consequences of Australia’s uranium trade and insists that the nuclear power industry has lost public confidence and credibility following the Fukushima disaster. Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney says Australia must abandon its exports of uranium.

“We have 40 per cent of the world’s uranium in Australia.  We supply 20 per cent of the global market and this is the basic fuel for nuclear power, it is the basic fuel for nuclear weapons,” he said. “On a good day it becomes high-level radioactive waste and on a bad day it become Fukushima fallout and I think the question for Australia is do we want to continue to do that?”…….

March 12, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | Leave a comment

Protests against Serco – involved in nuclear weapons, as well as detention centres

Occupy protests target Serco, THE AUSTRALIAN, AAP March 09, 2012 A SERIES of protests have been held across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth against multi-national British services company Serco, which runs Australia’s immigration detention and other public facilities…… private firms such as Serco were not transparent, nor as accountable as government entities, and were more concerned with shareholder profits than responsible public service.

Serco made a pre-tax profit of Stg262.2 million ($391.9 million) on revenue of Stg4.64 billion ($6.94 billion) last financial year.m Its international services include everything from running public and private transport, to aviation, military and nuclear weapons
contracts, detention centres, prisons and schools….

March 10, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Australian non government organisations’ message to Japan

Statement from Australian National Nuclear Free movement  Representatives from the following non-government environment and health organisations met over the weekend of March 3-4 2012: Environment Centre NT, Conservation Council of Western Australia, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Friends of the Earth, Japanese for Peace, Medical Association for the Prevention of War, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Footprints for Peace, Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, Yellowcake Road Collective. The meeting sends this message of support to the people of Japan.

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that lead to the ongoing nuclear emergency at Fukushima, we wish to express our profound sympathy for the people of Japan.

A senior Australian Government official acknowledged last year that “Australian-obligated nuclear material was at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in each of the reactors”[1]. In light of this we express our deep sorrow that uranium from Australia bought by TEPCO is contaminating your sea, water, food chain and community.

On a good day uranium from Australia becomes radioactive waste. On a bad day it becomes nuclear fallout. The human impacts of the Fukushima nuclear emergency are wide ranging and long term. We regret that around 100,000 radiation refugees are displaced by the disaster and unable to return to their homes.

We cannot stop earthquakes and tsunamis. We can – and must – stop nuclear dangers.

Despite the ongoing emergency at Fukushima Australian governments at state and federal levels are pushing ahead with this toxic industry. The two biggest uranium mines in this country: Olympic Dam and Ranger have plans in place for new developments, exploration proposals continue and the Federal Government is working to advance uranium sales deals to India, China and United Arab Emirates.

We are determined to stop sales of uranium from Australia. Uranium mining causes environmental and cultural damage in Australia and leads to long-term damage overseas. Continue reading

March 8, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Adelaide uranium conference disrupted by anti nuclear protestors

Protesters disrupt uranium conference THE AUSTRALIAN   AAP February 28, 2012  ANTI-NUCLEAR protesters have disrupted a uranium conference in Adelaide, with the small group calling for a halt to uranium mining.

A lone protester wearing white protective overalls and a mask stood at the back of the Paydirt conference during opening speeches today and called for SA’s uranium to be left in the ground. He said South Australians did not want the waste generated by uranium mining. Several others joined him chanting similar slogans before being
removed as SA Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis completed his address.

Mr Koutsantonis said the State Government strongly supported the development of the state’s uranium resources, including the world’s largest deposit at Olympic Dam. But he also maintained the Government’s decision to ban all
exploration, including the search for uranium, in the environmentally sensitive Arkaroola Sanctuary in the Flinders Rangers was the right one….

…   If we had not banned mining in Arkaroola, I think this room would have been full of young protesters,” Mr Koutsantonis said. “I think we would have galvanised a whole generation against uranium mining.”

February 29, 2012 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia | , | Leave a comment

Australia’s uranium industry facing a doubtful future

Uranium Sector Hit by Mining Safety Fears  Oil Price, By Dave Forest , 10 January 2011    “…..  the Electrical Trades Union of Queensland and the Northern Territory is banning its members from working in any nuclear-related facilities. Including uranium mines and nuclear power stations.

The Union is worried about the health dangers of uranium and nuclear power. In an anti-uranium video released by the group, the narrator notes, “This is dangerous stuff. It has no place in society.”

Union spokesman Peter Simpson further says, “We are sending a clear message to the industry and the wider community that vested interests in the uranium and nuclear industries are trying to hoodwink us about this dangerous product and industry.”…..  a group of this stature taking such a heavy-handed stance against uranium cannot be ignored.

Ultimately, this could be a setback for the Aussie uranium business. Particularly if other workers follow the electricians’ suit.

In the bigger picture, the Union’s move illustrates the huge challenges the world faces in bringing on new uranium supplies. Right or wrong, the radioactive metal will always be viewed in a more cautious light by workers, local communities and governments.

Anti-uranium protests are inevitable, and will probably slow or stop completely some of the world’s yellowcake projects. One more hurdle for an industry that’s already having a hard time finding new, economic deposits in order to meet global demand. …. exploration and development companies will need to think hard about what projects they pursue. Not only are size, grade and infrastructure a consideration. Companies will also have to think about the surrounding communities, the attitudes of the regional populace, and the stance of host governments when it comes to uranium.

Throw all of these factors in the mix, and it’s going to be extra tough to make new mines.

January 18, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | 1 Comment