Australian news, and some related international items

Australian environmentalists, Aboriginal, medical experts to attend global nuclear conference in Japan

Activists at nuke talkfest,  By DAMIEN McCARTNEY,  Northern Territory News  11 Jan 2012  A PROTESTER and an environmentalist are on their way to a global nuclear conference in Japan. Justin Tutty and the Environment Centre’s Cat Beaton will travel through Fukishima, Yokohama, Hiroshima and Okinawa. The pair will be joined by South Australian traditional owner Peter Watts and Medical Association for the Prevention of War representative in Melbourne, Margaret Bevis.

Mr Tutty said he and Ms Beaton would make a presentation on the role of Australian uranium in the global nuclear cycle. “We will be talking a lot about the link between Ranger Mine uranium and the destroyed Fukishima reactors,” he said.
The group also will meet survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima,and residents around the US military base in Okinawa.

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

A brief rundown on anti nuclear movement against uranium to India, and BHP’s new uranium mine

When one shareholder stated that he had no sympathy for the claims of the Aboriginal custodians in the room because “they are a conquered race,” the Chairman moved on due to time constrains, rather than commenting on the inappropriateness of the remark. 

The 2011 alternative shareholder report, “The Dirty Energy Report” was also launched, and distributed to shareholders

The ALP National Conference started today and runs until Sunday (Darling Harbour, Sydney). Over the last few weeks activists from around the country have been lobbying on the question of uranium sales to India, who is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Guillard has stated publicly that Labours policy of not selling uranium to India will be reassessed at the Conference – a statement made shortly after CHOGM.

A briefing paper for delegates has been drawn up for distribution at the conference (attached)

ICAN have received legal advice  that if  Australia sold uranium to India it would be breaching its obligations under international law Continue reading

December 3, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Poll shows Queenslanders reject uranium mining, and uranium sales to India

Queenslanders reject Julia Gillard’s uranium sales to India, Galaxy Poll finds, by:Steven Scott ,  The Courier-Mail November 21, 2011 PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s plan to allow uranium sales to India has been rejected by a majority of Queensland voters. And only a third of the state’s Labor voters back Ms Gillard’s controversial plan, a Galaxy poll conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail found….

A meeting of left-wing Labor MPs in Canberra yesterday vowed to use the conference to fight against Ms Gillard’s plans to sell uranium to India because it has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It is a sell-out of everything we’ve stood for as a party over the last 40 years,” Left faction convener Doug Cameron said.

About 56 per cent of the state’s voters are opposed to selling uranium to India, according to the poll of 800 people on November 16 and 17. Opposition to the plans is even higher among Labor supporters, with 61 per cent rejecting it. The plans have pitted Ms Gillard against Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who has refused to lift a ban on mining the state’s considerable uranium reserves…..

November 21, 2011 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, politics, Queensland | | Leave a comment

Australia: Northern Territory Government tries to shut down protest against uranium transport

Protesters air uranium transport fears, ABC News, 17 Nov 11 The Northern Territory Government has tried to shut down a protest in Alice Springs. People were meeting to protest about the increased uranium that will pass through the town if the South Australian Olympic Dam is expanded.

The protest comes as dam developers BHP Billiton holds its annual general meeting in Melbourne today. Protester Lauren Mellor says she feels people do not know about the extra uranium that will be travelling through the town.

“We’re protesting here today for the specific reason of the transport risks to people who are along this rail line that the radioactive ore will be carried on up to Darwin,” she said.”So here in Alice Springs we’re at the intersection where this radioactive ore, two trains a day will be coming through our town and putting the lives of people here at risk and also the environment in Alice Springs.”

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear, uranium | | Leave a comment

The dangers of U.S. nuclear powered ships, military equipment, in Darwin

Weigh up all the costs of greater US defence role SMH, Jan Thornley, 14 Nov 11 Your [Sydney Morning Herald’s] front page juxtaposition of disturbing information on the continuing radioactive contamination at Maralinga and the imminent announcement of the US military expanding its presence in Australia should be a warning to us all (”Greens fury at US build-up”, ”Ten years after the all-clear, Maralinga is still toxic”, November 12-13).

Fifty-five years ago we allowed British nuclear weapons tests on Australian soil, which has left this toxic, dangerous legacy for the health of people and the environment. We should be aware of the cloak of secrecy and lack of debate that surrounded the planning and decision making for this sorry chapter in our history. We are entitled to open and transparent information of all potential risks Australia may face by hosting US defence personnel and equipment at facilities here.

Questions must be answered – for example, on the inherent dangers of nuclear-powered and armed vessels in our ports; uranium-based munitions for aircraft and tanks; the use of hazardous depleted uranium weaponry, and the possible adverse effects and ecological harm of the American military escalation in Australia. These questions should be vigorously debated in our Parliament and media as part of an informed, democratic process.


November 14, 2011 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear protest against Obama at Darwin, Australia

Local activists plan Obama protest 10 Nov 11 LOCAL activists angry at US military bases in Australia are planning to protest US President Barack Obama’s trip to Darwin next week. Justin Tutty from Darwin Residents Against War says he expects at least 20 locals to stage a peaceful protest near Parliament when Mr Obama arrives on Thursday.

“Our message is that we don’t want US bases, we don’t want US nuclear warships in Darwin Harbour and we don’t want US troops in Darwin,” Mr Tutty said. There has been speculation Mr Obama will use the visit to make an announcement relating to increasing the US military presence in the Northern Territory.

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith recently foreshadowed increasing the number of joint training exercises with America in Darwin and the US storing more equipment in the city for disaster and humanitarian assistance.

Already the US and Australia jointly run the Pine Gap spy base near Alice Springs in the Northern
Territory. Mr Tutty said there was little information about what a greater US presence in Northern Territory would mean.

“They have talked about a pre-positioning base and we are very sceptical about the nature of the base because of all the lies we have been told about Pine Gap,” Mr Tutty said.”For so many years they told us that Pine Gap was a communications base, but in the last few years it has come out about its offensive role and it was used to direct dozens of attacks on Iraq.”

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Northern Territory, Opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | | 1 Comment

Heavens to Betsy! – Australian Red Cross has gone anti nuclear!

Australian Red Cross Launches a Campaign against Nuclear Weapons,  PopsOp 2 November 2011 | By Anna Rudenko  Greenpeace is known for taking bold and extravagant actions to protect environment and help jumpstart the conversation about ecological dangers, but this organization is not the only one to persuade people to take actions for the planet protection. Australian Red Cross has teamed up with Belgiovane Williams Mackay (BWM) Sydney and digital agency Pollen to launch a social campaign Target Nucler Weapons aiming primarily at younger generation—the aim of this initiative is to start conversation about the legitimacy of the use of nuclear weapon and get more supporters to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of this weapon of massive destruction and advocate for banning it. Continue reading

November 3, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

International and Australian walkers join Aboriginal struggle against uranium mining

Australia: Anti-uranium mine marchers reach Perth Summit County Citizens Voice  November 1, 2011 by Bob BerwynGroups show solidarity with indigenous people, call for halt to mining, By Summit Voice  SUMMIT COUNTY — After nine weeks walking through rain, wind and dust across a big chunk of Australia, 50 protest marchers arrived in Perth to call for an end to uranium mining in Australia.

Footprints for Peace have organized international walks against uranium mining for seven years. On each walk we hear the same stories about the broken promises from the nuclear industry. said march coordinator Marcus Atkinson. “This industry … divides communities and leaves people uncertain and afraid about the future.”

The group has been walking in solidarity with the Traditional Custodians of theWiluna and Yeelirrie areas where uranium mines have been proposed; many are opposed to the mines but have no legal recourse.

Bilbo Taylor, spokesperson for Walk Away from Uranium Mining, said, “Although we are walking into the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, this is not about the Queen or any other heads of government, this is about common people from around the world who have walked together with the indigenous peoples of this land in respect for their sovereign rights, and with a simple message ‘Irati Wanti – uranium, leave it in the ground “

Jocelyn Peyret, from the Resau Sortir du Nucleaire– an anti-nuclear federation of 915 organisation and 54,109 individual members, has been with the walk since the beginning. He has witnessed the way the nuclear industry works both in France and Australia.

“We support the indigenous people in their fight because it’s the same in France,” Peyret said. “They arrive with a lot of money and promises of jobs, but when they’re done, they just leave problems. It’s the same fight. The nuclear industry take’s your land and your future”

“For an indigenous person of North America, it simply means no more exploitation and colonization,” said
Ammon Russell, an indigenous person from the Dine/Navajo reservation in Arizona. “Australians can begin by simply respecting what the original caretakers of this land maintained in culture, language and belief systems.”

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

The growing positive and anti nuclear message of the Occupy Movement

 “The future of the human race requires the co-operation of its members.” 

our planet can no longer withstand the assaults of an increasingly destructive industrial civilisation.

Learning To Shine Through The Ruins, By Vincent Di Stefano, 30 October,2011, “…….The cultural awakening of the 1960s had made many aware of the presence of deepening flaws within industrial civilisation: Of the rampant militarism that had unleashed two unspeakably destructive World Wars; of the atomic slaying of the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; of the slash and burn methods of US imperialism that disgorged blistering gifts of napalm and poisonous defoliants into the wasted landscapes of Indo-China;

……..this abundance and the freedoms it has bestowed appear to have benumbed rather than sharpened our capacity to perceive and to interpret the divided reality that underlies our illusions of comfort and prosperity.

Despite the fact that the Chernobyl melt-down 25 years ago has already cost nearly a million lives , and despite the fact that hot Strontium from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has been detected on the rooftops of houses in Yokohama 250 kilometers away, the nuclear industry, together with its marketing arm, the International Atomic Energy Commission continues to aggressively pursue their deadly interests….. Continue reading

October 31, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Redlight for Yellowcake: National spotlight on WA uranium plan

31 Oct 11 Environment groups from around Australia have joined West Australian trade unions, environment groups and civil society organisations to call for no uranium mining in WA. The groups have submitted a formal submission to the WA Environmental Protection Agency detailing their concerns over plans by Toro Energy for uranium mining near Wiluna in WA’s central desert.

Leading national and international groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation and a number of States and Territory peak environment groups have urged the EPA not to approve the controversial Wiluna uranium mine and to instead support an independent public inquiry into plans for uranium mining in WA.

Public comment on the application for the Wiluna project, planned to be WA’s first uranium mine, closes today. Around two thousand submissions opposing uranium mining have been sent to the EPA. “There is growing national concern about the Barnett governments move to fast track uranium projects in WA,” said Conservation Council of Western Australia nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper. “Many of the groups that support our call have a close experience of the costs and consequences of the nuclear industry and there is growing attention and resistance to this toxic industry in the West”.

The joint groups have identified fundamental deficiencies in the Toro Energy application including in such key areas as water, transport, cumulative pollution impact, Aboriginal heritage and radiation protection. These deficiencies are so significant that they preclude any credible approval of the Wiluna project.

“Many West Australians are opposed or have deep concerns about this planned industry, particularly in the shadow of Fukushima and the EPA should not sign off on this flawed project on the basis of this deficient application,” said Mia Pepper.“Radioactive waste lasts longer than a mining company and a lot longer than a Premier’s assurance. West Australian’s deserve no less than an independent public inquiry into plans for this contested industry.”

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Friends of the Earth call for transparency on proposed Whyalla In Situ Leach uranium trial

14 oct 11, Public submissions for Samphire Uranium’s application for an In Situ Leach trial mine closed yesterday. Better known as the Mullaquana project, the proposed trial site is located 20km from Whyalla, 3.6km from the Upper Spencer Gulf. Samphire Uranium is wholly owned by UraniumSA, a new entrant in the uranium mining industry.

In Situ Leach mines pump highly acidic substances into an aquifer to mobilise uranium. The liquid is then pumped out of the aquifer and processed to remove the uranium. The waste liquid is then pumped back into the aquifer.

Two grassroots environmental groups, Friends of the Earth Adelaide and West Mallee Protection, stated in their joint submission that:

“Given the number of risks involved with the proposed Mullaquana trial, particularly the routine contamination of groundwater by heavy metals and radioactive materials associated with In Situ Leach mining…we strongly recommend that this proposal is rejected.”

“Using…questionable, fuzzy logic, attempts are made to argue that low soil productivity and the low quality of groundwater negate potential risks and minimise the impact of contamination…this is essentially saying that it’s okay to pollute soil and groundwater with radioactive materials and heavy metals simply because it is of a lower quality.”

Friends of the Earth Adelaide and West Mallee Protection are calling on PIRSA to reject the application.

“The In Situ Leach method of mining has left numerous sites in Eastern Europe heavily contaminated. In South Australia, there have been over 20 spills at the Beverley In Situ Leach mine. In January 2002 a pipe burst, releasing 62, 000 litres of contaminated water. UraniumSA claim that they have recruited heavily from within this sector,” said Nectaria Calan, of Friends of the Earth Adelaide.

No commercial acid leach mine in the USA has ever been given environmental approval because of the high risk of contamination.

 “Given UraniumSA’s public commitment to transparency, we are calling on the company to commit to making publically available the In Situ data that will be obtained during the trial, and the models they use to obtain it,” stated Ms Calan.

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, technology, uranium | , | Leave a comment

Call for moratorium on uranium mining in Australia

Australian Nuclear Free Alliance calls for a moratorium on uranium mining, 11th October 2011  In the wake of the approval of the Olympic Dam expansion, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining due to the long term impacts associated with the nuclear industry. Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder from Lake Eyre and President of ANFA, addressed a rally at Parliament House in Adelaide yesterday held in response to the approvals announced by the State and Federal government:

“Today is a very sad day, but it’s not over yet. We are not going to rest until the government reverses its decision. We want BHP Billiton out of the desert. If we have to bring this town to a standstill, then so be it.”

South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources Development Tom Koutsantonis said yesterday that the mine will be subject to the most “stringent environmental conditions.”

“If 8 million litres of radioactive waste per day leaking into the underground rock and aquifer, and almost 9 billion tonnes of radioactive waste left in the desert at the mines closure, is acceptable under these conditions, then the South Australian government is setting the bar extremely low,” said ANFA Committee member Nectaria Calan.

“The radioactive waste will remain on Kokatha and Arabunna Country long after the former ‘Big Australian,’ now 76 per cent foreign owned, packs up its business and moves on.”  The expansion means an increase in shipments of uranium oxide and copper concentrate railed through the Northern Territory and shipped out from East Arm wharf on Larrakia land.

Donna Jackson, ANFA co-chair and Larrakia woman said, “the transport and export of these goods puts additional pressures on our emergency services, if we increase the volume, we increase the chance of an accident happening.” “We stand by the Kokatha and Arabunna who oppose this expansion and we repeat our opposition and distress to the approved increase of two trains a day transporting radioactive materials through the NT and out from our Darwin Harbour.”

October 11, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | | Leave a comment

Global unpopularity of nuclear industry, but nuclear leaders do not ‘get it’

People do not like this [nuclear] industry, not because they misunderstand it but because they understand it perfectly well. That is going to be very difficult to fix with little video clips on websites and new fact sheets….

… the magnitude of the disconnect, the dissonance, that exists in the minds of the strongest advocates of the [nuclear] industry. All they need to do is somehow just fix up the image of the industry and everything is going to be fine. I think we will be hearing a lot more of that on the part of the nuclear industry and its supporters in government.

Adjournment speech – Fukushima 6 months on – Australia’s Nuclear Free Alliance Spokesperson Scott Ludlam 14th September 2011 “……..It will be very interesting to see how the democratic aspirations of the people of Japan now play out in the light of the permanent radioactive nightmare that has been unleashed in the Tohoku region of Japan.
If we take a very quick trip around the world, a Washington Post/ABC poll in April 2011 found that 64 per cent of Americans oppose the construction of new reactors, so there are no surprises why the industry is at an absolute standstill there. Support for nuclear power was similar or much lower in countries as varied as Chile at 12 per cent, Thailand at 16½ per cent, Australia at 34 per cent, and the United Kingdom at 35 per cent support.

That, I think, is a problem that has dogged the nuclear industry right from the beginning but to read some of the things they say you would think perhaps they have an image problem. Continue reading

September 17, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, spinbuster | | Leave a comment

Strong opposition to Toro Energy’s application to mine uranium in Western Australia

The Battle To Keep WA Uranium Free,  An application has been lodged to build WA’s first uranium mine in Wiluna. It’s a shonky proposal and lacks community support. New By Jim Green and Mia Pepper, 13 Sept 11, Toro Energy has submitted an application to build Western Australia’s first uranium mine, at Wiluna, the beginning of WA’s iconic Canning Stock Route.

The debate over the proposed uranium mine has far-reaching ramifications. The construction of WA’s first uranium mine is likely to be the thin edge of the wedge whereas a strong show of public opposition can significantly increase the likelihood of keeping WAuranium-free. That, in turn, is important in the context of the national debate over uranium mining.

The WA Labor Opposition reaffirmed its opposition to uranium mining at its state conference in June. Recent legal advice states that an incoming Labor Government may not need to pay compensation to uranium miners if it wins the 2013 election and reinstates the uranium mining ban lifted by the Barnett Government in 2008.

The position of anti-uranium Labor Party members has been bolstered by a strong community campaign led by groups such as the WA Conservation Council and the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA. The August to October Walk Away From Uranium walk from Wiluna to Perth, organised by Footprints for Peace, is drumming up further support for the anti-uranium cause.

Public opinion also supports a ban on uranium mining in WA and nationally. A poll of 400 voters in four marginal Liberal-held WA seats in April found that 46 per cent opposed uranium mining, with 34 per cent in favour and 20 per cent undecided. The poll also found that among swinging voters, support for uranium mining was only 28 per cent. Voters strongly opposed to uranium mining (32 per cent) exceeded those strongly in support (8 per cent) by a factor of four.

At least two WA uranium projects have been delayed this year. In June, Mega Uraniumdelayed a feasibility study for uranium mining at Lake Maitland, and BHP Billiton put on hold the environmental approvals process for its Yeelirrie uranium project because it did not meet internal standards. The West Australian reported in June that Toro’s Wiluna project “will have to overcome weak investor sentiment in the face of a depressed uranium price and opposition to uranium mining”……

But the greatest problem with uranium mined from Wiluna — or anywhere else — is that in the best-case scenario it will end up as high-level nuclear waste. At worst it will end up as fissile material in nuclear weapons or spewing from a nuclear disaster such as that unfolding in Fukushima, Japan.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Australian unions join Aboriginal opposition to nuclear waste dump



the unions were quite clear about not wanting nuclear material on highways or railway tracks. “All it takes is one accident, one ruptured container,”..“It’s simply not worth the risk and Territorians don’t need this in their backyard.”..

a legal challenge to the Federal Government’s waste dump plans at Muckaty will be heard in October.

Unions pledge support to oppose nuke waste dump –  ,  – Tennant & District Times,19 April 11,TRADE union officials from across Australia have pledged support to traditional owners who oppose the construction of a nuclear waste dump on their land. Continue reading

August 23, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | | Leave a comment