2016: Dave Sweeney sums up the challenges for Australia’s anti-nuclear movement

 

Sweeney, Dave 1Dave Sweeney, 24 Dec 15

Looking ahead:

2016 is shaping up as a very significant year. A federal election always provides colour and movement along with opportunity and threat. Against this backdrop some of our key work will include:

·         SA Royal Commission: the Commission’s interim report is expected on February 15 with a final report by May 6. It is likely that this will be largely supportive of nuclear expansion plans with a chorus line of industry boosters. We need to prepare for a media blitz and ensure there is public contest, support those communities – especially Aboriginal people – most directly affected, and buttress federal Labor’s opposition to domestic nuclear power and international nuclear waste.

 

·         National radioactive waste: the community comment period around the six current sites closes on March 11 (Fukushima’s fifth anniversary). We will continue to support affected communities and provide information and access to resources – including the film Containment.  We need to keep finding ways to advance the long standing civil society call for a detailed, public and independent review of responsible waste management options.

 

·         Uranium: maintain pressure to help ensure ERA transitions from creating to cleaning radioactive mine mess in Kakadu, hold the line against any full project approvals in WA ahead of the March 2017 state election by taking this story from Cottesloe to Canada, track heap leaching plans at Olympic Dam and support calls for action on BHP’s failings in Brazil.

 

·         Federal election/policy: ensure no nuclear policy retreats and oppose moves to fast-track state and federal project approvals through changes to environmental laws and the ‘one stop shop’ At election time we need to remind all politicians that no one has a mandate to radiate.

 

·         Lest we forget: 2016 is a big anniversary year – 5 years since the Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima crisis, 30 years since Chernobyl and 60 years since the creation of the flawed International Atomic Energy Agency. All provide opportunities to reflect and revisit.

 

·         Braid the pieces and tell the story:  join the dots nationally and internationally about how Australian uranium drives local damage and division and fuels global insecurity in the form of risky reactors, nuclear weapons and forever wastes.

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