Response to the Tentative Findings of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission A Submission by Paul Langley Nuclear Exhaust 16 Mar 16
“……..Gaining Public Trust. Relevant Safety Assurances made by nuclear “experts” in my life time.
In the 1980s, the government of South Australia returned ownership of the Maralinga Lands:
“In 1984, the South Australian Government returned the freehold title for the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands to its Traditional Owners. Concerns over radiological hazards prevented the handback of Section 400.” Source: “Maralinga Tjarutja Lands: handback of Section 400” , The Anangu Lands Paper Tracker, at http://www.papertracker.com.au/archived/maralinga-tjarutja-lands-handback-of-section-400/
As I recall at that time the then Premier, the Late John Bannon, visited the Maralinga Lands, along with Peter Burns and other ARPANSA scientists. Peter wrote a detailed description of the problem at Maralinga in a Saturday Advertiser centre page spread at that time. Mr. Bannon was appalled and surprised at the state of some areas of the lands and though the land was handed back, it was too dangerous to permit the owners to return on a permanent basis.
Full handback was not possible until the 21st century………..
For decades the relevant nuclear experts – especially those under Professor Titterton – had assured Australia and Australians that Maralinga was “perfectly safe”. From the 1950s until 1984. Many individuals who contested the opinion of these experts were threatened with jail for breaching the official secrets act. (Source: Mr Kevin Wakefield, Ex RAN, Monte Bello Island, Mr Terry Toon, Ex Maralinga, Mr Alan Batchelor, Ex Maralinga. Mr John Hutton, Ex Maralinga.) While some ordinary people knew the truth, they were not allowed to tell it. And when they did speak out, they received threats and disbelief. It is reasonable to think, given that the RAN surveyed the Monte Bello Islands until 1975, the same would be true of the Army and Maralinga. Everyone is a Sergeant Schulz on that one.
Well it was not perfectly safe. Was it? This is one of South Australia’s formative experiences with nuclear authorities. Professor Titterton remained entrenched at the Federal level as a nuclear safety “leader” until the era of the Whitlam government.
This is not ancient history. It is for some people like yesterday. The 1984 McClelland Royal Commission records an exchange between Titterton and the Royal Commissioner. In this exchange Titterton admits he could not disclose all he knew about safety to the Safety Committee due to the fact that he was constrained by the secrecy provisions of both the United States and Great Britain. Will history repeat in this regard? What will Jay not be able to say the people of South Australia? Will silence due to “American and British secrecy provisions” reign again? The Royal Commissioner McClelland found that some Australians in authority were akin to Fifth columnists acting more in the interests of foreign lands than they were towards Australia and its people.
This earlier Royal Commission also found that nuclear experts had stated to the effect that the critical interests of “a handful of natives” were not going to “stand in the way of the BritishCommonwealth of Nations.” (Royal Commission, Conclusions, 8.4.38 – 39). Saving the world required some local sacrifice. As far away from the North as possible. The ones closest in are the ones most affected. Shall we do it again Jay W.?
Nuclear history is the art of waiting for historic promises to be exposed for what they are at some future point……..
The proposed repository is a sociological experiment. It will take decades for it to provide the history lesson. A very costly higher education.
“Perfectly Safe”, in the History of South Australia, has been a nuclear science fiction, and anyone can prove it. It has never actually true, and contaminated land remains from the time when the owners were forcibly trucked off it in the 1950s. To be concentrated in camps near the Ceduna sub basin of the Bight Basin, which overlays, in part, the Gawler Craton. Such history lies beneath the apparently solid rock statement made by today’s youngster biologists who claim expertise as nuclear people……” .https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/response-to-the-tentative-findings-of-the-sa-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/