Australia: negative nuclear news for 2015


Dave Sweeney, 24 Dec 15 


·         South Australian nuclear Royal Commission: with a surprise announcement in February this initiative has opened the door to all sorts of unfounded and unhelpful pro-nuclear talk. There is a clear need for industry review, but not framed around industry expansion. At best it is a dangerous distraction from the real energy challenges we face – in practise it is a cause for massive community stress and a platform for the promotion of domestic nuclear power and the toxic Trojan horse of international high level radioactive waste dumping.


·         Indian uranium sales: despite a unanimous JSCOT recommendation against any sales at this time due to severe and unresolved safety and security concerns the federal government moved swiftly into override mode with Andrew Robb and Julie Bishop fast-tracking a deal. This dismissal of Parliamentary process and evidence based policy is a shameful retreat from any pretence at nuclear responsibility.


·         Resource curse: Generally this refers to the situation where nations with extensive natural resources find these a constraint rather than an aid to equitable development. In relation to the Australian nuclear free movement it more relates to the fact that we swear and gnash teeth over how little cash and resources we have to cover so many issues. Our movement’s appetite, vision and ideas are not matched by our capacity. That we do so much so well is a profound tribute to people’s passion, smarts, tenacity and generosity – but this planetary benefit for all comes at a personal cost to many.


·         Lack of evidence based assessment: Still no review of the Australian uranium sector post Fukushima as requested by the UN Secretary General, incomplete project applications routinely accepted for fast tracked assessment by state agencies while the federal government talks ‘one stop shop’, no public release of long overdue accident and incidence assessments, JSCOT’s India concerns overridden, absurd and unsubstantiated industry claims re economic benefits and the prospects for future nuclear power accepted and rehashed by politicians and commentators, critics misrepresented or derided as emotional or ill-informed – the nuclear industry’s tiresome pattern continues……

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