It’s being predicted that Australians will soon accept that nuclear power is the answer to many climate change problems. President of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Ziggy Switkowski, says there has already been a shift in perception on the issue, with about half of the population now open to the idea.
Dr Switkowski has told ABC2’s News Breakfast the WA Government’s decision to lift a ban on uranium mining is another step in the right direction.
(From ABC News – Australians will accept nuclear power)
In another odd twist Australians are being told via the news how they currently think on ‘nuclear’ and ‘uranium mining’, by none other than one of the industry flagships ANSTO, which a few months ago was running a similar PR stunt for the kids holidays entitled…’Fun with Radiation’. Is this a research body or a public think speak forum for modifying and shaping the consensus view of what public opinion is, thereby recruiting acceptance for activities which have not actually been assessed or measured, but at least the supposed forums for news and opinion have been exposed in advance with public relations either as a tool to modify, construct opinion or fore warn the public about imminent actions irrespective of the sudden and unexplained policy turn-arounds, announced these days by such captains of industry? So yes the uranium rush has been given a pat on the back and making better news copy now states, major parties, and the federal government are all aboard on this strategy to export below wholesale vast amounts on energy and materials from Australia.
But lets remind ourselves of a couple of issues before we get too radioactive or nuclear focused. In order perhaps of importance:
1/ Prominent Hill/Roxby Downs is the largest open cut uranium mine and it draws most contentiously one quarter of the great artesian basis waters. This is a major disturbance with implications for natural springs, wildlife habitation and the parching of the sensitive ecosystems of the interior. This alone negates the value of that mine in ‘Australian’ terms, but this is not about Australia is it Ziggy?
2/ In-situ leaching is the mode of mining at Beverley and the now approved 4 mile mine to its west. In-situ leaching represents a hazard to the same aquifers from contamination and it must be noted such risk is exacerbated when such mines are located on fault lines (Paralana) which these both are.
3/ Australia is ignoring its own considerations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation agreement in allowing the states free management of uranium mining. China and Korea are consortium to major projects and safeguards seemingly do not apply. In terms of rogue trading and flagrant enviro-vandalism, it is proven in the Marathon Resources exploration of Arkaroola and the same episode shows that waste disposal while occuring is both unsafe and not legislatively considered.
Such is the unspoken costs and risks of uranium to Australia, the media does not expose the rampant damage already underway, because uranium exports like all exports is a foregone conclusion as accepted policy, irrespective of the negative social, environmental and economic effects. If such were measured even crudely and weighed into decision making (based on the well being of Australia as a geography and a nation), the ALP three mines policy would not have been abandoned and a commission of enquiry would be made into the scaling down or closure of the Roxby Downs mine which is the prime culprit in terms of immediate damaging effect.
And as for the demise of the Carpenter government and the sudden uranium rush in the west?
JAPANESE and Canadian mining giants have made a $500 million bet on a change of government in Western Australia after agreeing to buy Rio Tinto’s vast uranium deposit in the Pilbara region of the state.
The state Labor Government remains vehemently opposed to uranium mining, but with an election expected in October, the sale of Rio Tinto’s Kintyre uranium deposit sets up a major political brawl.
Under the deal unveiled yesterday, and which is expected to be completed next month, Canada’s Cameco and Japan’s Mitsubishi Development will pay $US496million ($519million) to buy the deposit, which could be worth up to $5 billion at current uranium oxide prices.
Cameco noted yesterday: “Australian governments and political parties generally are becoming more supportive of uranium development.
Source ‘Japanese and Canadian miners $500m bet on uranium’
So while the spin doctors and governments construct a rosy picture through the media we remain aware that public relations is designed to distort the truth, and in this situation considerable costs and risks have been left out of the equation and these most certainly should be examined critically in the interests of all Australians.
Film maker David Bradbury, takes us on a sobering tour of the secretive and non-accountable Nuclear Industry, and presents a convincing case that Roxby Downs in South Australia, should be shut down and cleaned up, while the boards of BHP and OZ Minerals and Canberra, contemplate in expanding an already dangerous situation. The documentary “Hard Rain”, exposes the folly of the nuclear industry which then must expose the folly of the Australian politicians that lend support to the contamination arising from the industry.
ANSTO Kids propaganda published earlier in the year ‘Radiation can be fun’ Fairfax Leader July 2008
Rudd silent on nuclear pact role ( or…why Roxby, Beverley and Nuclear Waste have been dropped by ALP as social policy issues)
The ABC reported on the emergence of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and the jeopardisation of existing treaties: Expanded nuclear deal may lead to new global relationship (20 July, 2007):
Democrats Leader Senator Lyn Allison says the Prime Minister doesn’t have a mandate to engage in the new nuclear group or broaden its current agreement with Washington.
I think it’s breathtaking to thing that whilst nuclear reactor leaks radiation like a sieve in Japan that our Government is pushing so hard towards the nuclear fuel cycle for Australia.