Archive for the ‘opposition to uranium mining’ Category

Achievements of Australia’s nuclear-free movement in 2018

January 4, 2019

 Dave Sweeney The days roll on and 2018 is in the past tense.

As ever the year saw highs, lows and flatlines. It also saw sustained and successful resistance to the nuclear industry in Australia.

This note is a snapshot, not a definitive list, but I wanted to capture some of our collective efforts and achievements so in a quiet moment we can reflect and recharge – and know that we are making a real difference.

Thanks and solidarity to all – and best wishes for a good break and time with people and in places that freshen the spirit. I look forward to working with you all in season 2019.

Uranium: Less is being ripped and shipped

  • Kakadu: the clean-up of the Ranger site is underway – Mirarr native title of the region was formally recognised – Rio Tinto have accepted their responsibility to clean up – there was a calendar and a series of events around the country to mark twenty years since the Jabiluka blockade
  • uranium remains stalled and actively contested in WA: 2018 saw a decade since then Premier Barnett announced a fast tracked uranium sector that would be “iron ore on steroids” – there are no mines but there is a major legal challenge to the Yeelirrie project, procedural challenge to Mulga Rock and community resistance to the four proposed projects with actions at AgMs, project critiques, Walkatjurra Walkabout and more
  • Qld Labor reaffirmed its opposition to uranium mining at its state conference

Radioactive waste: Under pressure and delayed

 the federal plan for a national waste facility in regional SA is highly contested, behind schedule and increasingly uncertain

  • the issue was pushed ahead of the state election and SA Labor has subsequently adopted a good policy position
  • there is growing civil society awareness and engagement with the issue – especially through our trade union partners
  • the Barngarla people were formally awarded native title over the Kimba sites in June and have taken legal action over deficiencies in the Feds consultation processes
  • Adnyamathanha resistance to the proposed Flinders Ranges site is strong and they have lodged a complaint on the plan with the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • community resistance at both sites is sustained and strong with high levels of engagement and regular actions, events and media profile
  • Federal Labor policy has a long way to go but at its national conference in December Labor moved from a policy position dominated by sites and place to one of standards and process
  • Standing Strong – the story of the successful community fight against the earlier plan for an international radioactive waste dump in SA was launched and learned from
  • there was early and strong opposition to chatter around other potential radioactive waste sites – especially at Brewarrina (NSW) and Leonora (WA)

 

Nuclear weapons: the cold war is reheating and support for a weapons ban grows

 ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – has continued to build on its 2017 Nobel Peace Prize profile

  • there was sustained outreach and awareness initiatives, including a bike ride from Melbourne to Canberra
  • there is growing international support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with more nations signing and ratifying the ban
  • federal Labor committed to sign and ratify the ban treaty at its national conference in Adelaide in December – a major step forward
  • the Peace Boat visited Australian waters and cities in January/February and the Black Mist, Burnt Country Maralinga exhibition continued touring

Broader nuclear free efforts

 ANFA – the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance – had a good gathering in the Adelaide Hills in October and there was clear recognition of the role of First Nation people in the atomic resistance with awards to crew in WA, Aunty Sue in SA and Jeffrey Lee gaining the German based Nuclear Free Future award in the global Resistance category

  • anniversaries were marked with actions, events and reflection – including Fukushima, Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Maralinga
  • people engaged in state and federal processes including Senate Estimates, Senate Inquiries into radioactive waste siting and mine rehabilitation, ARPANSA Codes of Practice and more
  • folks engaged with ALP state and federal conferences, the ACTU Congress, many union forums, SoS, the Sustainable Living Festival and more
  • we remained connected and updated via the efforts of Christina Macpherson, Maelor at ACF, Jim Green at WISE, KA at CCWA and Walkatjurra, WGAR news, 3CR’s Radioactive Show, Understory and more

Looking ahead to 2019 – Another big year ahead folks – and one where we consolidate, defend and grow

 

  • Challenges include:
  • the forever struggle of resourcing and capacity
  • pro-nuke voices pushing small modular reactors (SMRs) and seeking to overturn the ban on domestic nuclear power
  • Mineral Council of Australia and others seeking the removal of uranium mining as a ‘trigger’ action in the federal EPBC Act
  • We need to:
  • better braid the uranium story and struggle into the wider dirty energy-fracking- fossil fuel narrative
  • keep Rio Tinto and the regulators focussed and genuine re the best possible rehab outcomes at Ranger and keep the door shut to the uranium sector in WA
  • support affected communities facing radioactive waste dump plans and push federal Labor to adopt a different approach
  • pressure and support federal Labor to follow through on its commitment to sign and ratify the nuclear weapons ban
  • make Australian uranium companies operating overseas – often in jurisdictions with low governance – accountable for their impacts
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South Australia radio talkback reveals the opposition to nuclear waste dumping in that State

October 7, 2018

I am always struck by the fact that opponents of the nuclear industry are very many unpaid people. Just people who care. Some are highly educated academically. Many are not – but then they take the trouble to find out, and speak with the authority of both their local knowledge and wider information.

As for nuclear proponents they’re a small number of paid individuals, with another small number of hangers on who expect financial benefits from the nuclear industry.

Barb Walker shared a post. on  Flinders Local Action Group– more  – https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=flinders%20local%20action%20group
ABC Radio Adelaide Evenings with Peter Goer. Talkback 4 Oct 18. This show was inundated with hundreds of South Australians phoning in and texting about the proposed nuclear waste dump. ALL SAID NO!  Are you listening DIIS and ANSTO !!!??….  IT’S A BIG NO FROM SOUTH AUSTRALIA!!! http://www.abc.net.au/…/adelaide/programs/evenings/evenings…

– (This part is the last half hour of a 3 hour program. To hear it you need to slide the button along to last sixth of the program)

Transcript:Noel Wauchope . Not a perfect transcript, but a good account of what each caller said 

Dave Sweeney on the achievements of Australia’s nuclear-free movement in 2017

December 30, 2017

DAVE SWEENEY | Nuclear Free Campaigner, Australian Conservation Foundation | www.acf.org.au  | @AusConservation

A note to reflect on 2017 which has seen the Australian nuclear free community restrict uranium exports, derail plans for a global high level radioactive waste dump and help advance an international initiative to abolish nuclear weapons and receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Not too shabby!

The end of the calendar year provides a pause to welcome the entrance of new life and to mark and mourn the passing of old.

It is also a time to reflect on our collective efforts and achievements – the below observations are by no means comprehensive but my sense of gratitude, solidarity and respect is.

With all best wish for a refreshing and recharging break.

I look forward to seeing and working with you in season 18,

Uranium:

 A big year of activity that has seen the industry further contested and constrained.

In March the WA state election saw the defeat of the aggressively pro-nuclear Barnett government. WA Labor were elected with a strong no uranium policy but have disappointingly failed to clearly implement this and are allowing four projects to continue to be advanced. All projects remain the focus of community concern and active opposition. The WA Conservation Council and Traditional Owners have taken Supreme Court action to oppose the approval of Cameco’s Yeelirrie project with a decision expected in the first quarter of 2018 and pressure is growing on Vimy Resources, the most enthusiastic uranium hopeful. There are no commercial uranium operations in the West and any wannabe miners face a very tough road.

In November Queensland Labor were returned to government with a strong anti-uranium position and the door remains tightly shut on the uranium sector in the sunshine state.

In the NT further assessment is under way about rehabilitation and clean up options for the contaminated Rum Jungle site and issues around the closure and rehabilitation of the heavily impacted Ranger mine site on Mirarr land in Kakadu moved to centre stage. The era of uranium mining in Kakadu is over: Jabiluka is stopped and stalled, Koongarra is finally and formally part of Kakadu National Park and Ranger has stopped mining and is in the final days of mineral processing. The challenge now is a massive one – to help ensure that the NT and federal governments and Rio Tinto have the commitment, competence and capacity to clean up, exit and transition in the most credible and effective way.

South Australia remains the nations sole uranium mining state but even the pro-nuclear Royal Commission found that there was no justification for increased mining. The global uranium market remains over-supplied and the commodity price remains deeply depressed. Our planets energy future is renewable, not radioactive and Australia is ripping and shipping less uranium oxide each year. In contrast to the continuing column inches and Mineral Council of Australia drumbeats – the market and the community both continue to have little confidence in, or time for, the uranium sector.

International radioactive waste:

 One of the best news stories of 2018 was the declaration in June that the plan to ship, store and ultimately bury one-third of the world’s high level radioactive waste into South Australia was dead’.

This result is a massive tribute to the sustained efforts, action and advocacy of so many – especially SA Aboriginal communities and representatives who spearheaded the community resistance. The result is also a real validation of the potency of people power over poisoned power. There was deep and well-resourced political, corporate, media and institutional support for the dump plan and this was stopped by the little people stepping up and doing big things. This result has significant international implications as the absence of an Australian based ‘disposal pathway’ makes it harder for aging reactors overseas to gain license extensions.

This is the second time in as many decades that the Australian community has successfully opposed plans to open a global high level radioactive waste dump with Pangea Resources seeking to advance a plan in WA in the late 1990’s. Some of the same players then were also behind the recent SA push and, like liberty, the price of keeping Australia free from being a global dumping ground is eternal vigilance.

National radioactive waste:

The federal government continues to lurch along an increasingly dry gully in its search to find a site to develop a national radioactive waste dump and store. Three sites in South Australia – one in the Flinders Ranges and two near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula – remain the focus. All sites are strongly contested by large numbers of locals and in the Flinders Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners are continuing to lead the campaign. There has been lots of activity with publications, films, songs, exhibitions, rallies, actions, speaking tours, gatherings, public meetings, media events, Canberra trips and much more.

The government faces a set of sustained and significant procedural and community roadblocks in advancing this plan. It has had its eyes off the ball and been playing musical chairs over Ministerial responsibility – the song has now stopped with Matt Canavan in the hot seat. A growing range of groups are advocating a revised approach to responsible waste management based on extended interim storage at the two federal sites where 95% of the waste is currently stored and a detailed examination of the full range of future management options, not simply a search for a remote postcode. Hardly rocket science and set to be an area of key movement focus in 2018.

Nuclear weapons abolition:

Viva ICAN!

Against a backdrop of increasing global nuclear tensions an Australian born initiative has provided hope and a pathway to peace. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was formed in Melbourne a decade ago and ICAN was behind the UN’s adoption of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons earlier this year. The treaty seeks to make nuclear weapons illegal and to challenge and change the ways these weapons are viewed and valued. It is our shared planets best chance to get rid of our worst weapons. In October ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts. Surreal, timely and important. In 2018 work will continue to grow the treaty, including pressuring Australia to sign and ratify.

Along with ICAN’s Nobel there was other external recognition and acknowledgement of the efforts of Australian nuclear free work in 2017 including WA’s Judy Blyth’s commendation in ACF’s Rawlinson Award, respected and beloved Yankunytjatajara elder and prominent anti-nuclear and land rights campaigner Yami Lester was posthumously awarded a SA Environment Award lifetime achievement and the makers of the remarkable Collisions virtual reality film telling a key part of the Martu story won an Emmy Award. And more….congratulations to all.

Of course most of our work is not seeking and does not receive awards. It is done to move Australia away from fuelling and facilitating a trade that disrespects and endangers community and country today and far into the future. It is profound and pivotal – and it is making a real and demonstrable difference and I am proud to work and travel alongside you in this continuing journey.

 

Australian Christians activists face 7 years’ gaol for protest against secret USA spy base Pine Gap

November 25, 2017

An American Spy Base Hidden in Australia’s Outback, NYT   The trials — and the Australian government’s uncompromising prosecution of the protesters — has put a spotlight on a facility that the United States would prefer remain in the shadows.

— Margaret Pestorius arrived at court last week in her wedding dress, a bright orange-and-cream creation painted with doves, peace signs and suns with faces. “It’s the colors of Easter, so I always think of it as being a resurrection dress,” said Ms. Pestorius, a 53-year-old antiwar activist and devout Catholic, who on Friday was convicted of trespassing at a top-secret military base operated by the United States and hidden in the Australian outback.

Mark Parnell gathers 1835 (and counting) South Australians to sign up to No Nuclear Waste Dump for SA

December 13, 2016

text-no-wastes-south-australia

The Federal Government has selected South Australia for their national nuclear waste dump – saying that Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges is their only option.

This is on top of the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission promoting South Australia as the World’s high level radioactive waste dumping ground.

Constructing a nuclear waste dump in SA is currently illegal and the Greens want it to stay this way.  We ask:

• Is this the best our State can aspire to?

• Is the damage to our State’s reputation worth it?

Radioactive waste is not only dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years, but its storage can never be 100% foolproof.

Last year in the US, a barrel of nuclear waste stored underground at an intermediate waste site in New Mexico ruptured, exposing 22 workers to radiation and costing an estimated $500 million to remediate.

Exposure to radiation can cause serious health problems – including cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema and cataracts – and if it enters the soil can contaminate our food and water.

Add you voice and sign the petition below to call on the South Australian Government to enforce our laws and stop nuclear waste being dumped in SA.


We the undersigned residents of South Australia, call on the Weatherill Labor Government to enforce the Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000, to prevent a nuclear waste dump in South Australia. signatures:http://sagreens.markparnell.org.au/no_waste_dump_for_sa So the current count is 25 to 1833?

South Australian protest against Nuclear Citizens Jury

June 27, 2016

text don't nuclear waste Australia

Nuclear royal commission: Protesters voice opposition to SA waste dump outside citizens’ jury, ABC News, 25 June 16   Anti-nuclear protesters have confronted SA Premier Jay Weatherill on his way into a citizens’ jury which is meeting to consider a controversial proposal to build a nuclear waste dump in the state.

The event at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) was prompted by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, which handed down its findings earlier this year.

The final report by commissioner Kevin Scarce delivered to the SA Government in May made 12 recommendations, including the creation of waste storage sites and the relaxation of federal restrictions on nuclear power.

Tentative findings released in February also urged the creation of a dump with capacity for 138,000 tonnesof spent fuel from the world’s nuclear reactors.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside SAHMRI in Adelaide this morning, shouting out their concerns when the Premier arrived.

Gypsy-Rose Entriken from the Barossa Valley said she was worried about the dangers of transporting nuclear waste. “I’m really worried about what the implications of this long-term dump are going to be, and how it’s going to affect us for the rest of our lives and for generations,” she said.

“How are they going to get it here? There’s so many things that can go wrong.”

The citizens’ jury is made up of 50 people selected from about 1,100 registrations by research organisation newDemocracy Foundation, and is part of a public relations exercise organised by the State Government.

Its job is to decide which elements of the royal commission’s recommendations need to be discussed in more detail…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-25/citizens-jury-to-consider-nuclear-dump-proposal/7543314

Nuclear waste dump p-lan rejected by women and Labor voters – poll reveals

May 19, 2016

text don't nuclear waste Australia

Women and Labor voters opposed to international nuclear waste dump in South Australia, poll finds, Adelaide Now, March 21, 2016  PETER JEAN, POLITICAL REPORTER The Advertiser PREMIER Jay Weatherill will need to win the support of women and his own Labor voters if the State Government decides to back the construction of an international nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia.

The results of a new opinion poll show almost 60 per cent of women and most Labor voters are opposed to a global nuclear waste facility being located in the state.

The ReachTEL Poll of 1077 SA residents conducted on March 10 found that 37 per cent of voters supported of voters supported an international nuclear waste dump, 48.5 per cent were opposed and 14 per cent were undecided….

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said South Australians were increasingly aware of the risks posed by the project, including the damage it could do to the state’s reputation.

“I think people are increasingly wise to the projects that are jobs-rich, versus those that are expensive, likely to involve a large upfront government subsidy and won’t produce long-term jobs,’’ Mr Oquist said.

“Those industries that are jobs-intensive are potentially put at risk by South Australia’s brand being threatened by a global nuclear waste dump.’’….. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/women-and-labor-voters-opposed-to-international-nuclear-waste-dump-in-south-australia-poll-finds/news-story/35d4ad38cadbaae4798ca89e91c74f5f

Advocacy Group against Nuclear waste dumping- NO Dump Alliance – launched

May 19, 2016

logo No Dump Alliance

Advocacy group protests against high-level nuclear waste dump in SA, saying it poses great health, environment and financial risks  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-16/nuclear-dump-protesters-warn-of-cultural-genocide-in-sa/7419406 May 16, 2016  Erin Jones The Advertiser

A NEW advocacy group will lobby against a high-level nuclear waste dump being built in SA.

The No Dump Alliance group launched on Monday and already has the support of several groups, including the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, the Maritime Union of Australia and SA Aboriginal Congress.

The group formed after the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission earlier this month recommended the state urgently pursue the opportunity of a nuclear dump.

The No Dump Alliance believes the proposal shows a lack of respect for traditional owners, who opposed the dump and said it could pose significant health, environment and financial risks.

Candice Champion is a Adnyamathanha woman from the Flinders Ranges who said a nuclear storage facility could pose many risks to her community.

“As a young Adnyamathanha woman my family will be affected by this nuclear dump, which is bringing about a lot of anxiety and mental health issues to my family and community,” Ms Champion said.

“These places are of quality and significance to me and people continue to discount the Adnyamathanha voice which is frustrating and disheartening.

“We want to be able to invest in our future generations and be able to pass something over that is important and pristine, not something posing any risks.”

SA Aboriginal Congress chairman Tauto Sansbury said the group must have a united front and it was not just an “Aboriginal fight” to protect the land.

“This will be a united front to protect SA and make sure it continues to grow from other opportunities, apart from being the international dumping ground,” Mr Sansbury said.

“I believe we’re going to win this because this is not just about an Aboriginal fight … it’s everyone’s fight.”

The State Government will use a jury of 350 randomly selected South Australians to make recommendations to it in November on whether to proceed with the plan for a nuclear waste dump.

The jury was part of a six-step process to unfold over the next seven months, culminating in a firm Government position being outlined to State Parliament.

Premier Jay Weatherill has previously stressed the project could not proceed without broad political and community support.

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

December 24, 2015

 

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.

Radioactive waste delivery to Malcolm Turnbull (fake – from Greenpeace )

October 31, 2015

Wastes to Turnbull 15

Greenpeace delivers fake nuclear waste to Malcolm Turnbull’s office, By Georgina Mitchell Celsius, 30 Oct 15The environmental group turned up to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate office in Sydney on Thursday equipped with a truck, white suits and six yellow barrels painted with radioactive symbols to deliver a message that nuclear waste is everyone’s problem.

On Wednesday, Mr Turnbull said Australia could plausibly mine uranium, sell it overseas for use in nuclear power stations, then take it back as waste.

This proposition was abhorrent to Greenpeace, who said the waste would impact Australia for “literally thousands of years”.

“The new Prime Minister has given some significant signals that his government is more interested in science and good policy than his predecessor, but the nuclear thought bubble is just plain wrong headed,” said Emma Gibson, Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s head of program.

“If the government really wants to boost the Australian economy, how about making us a world leader in solar power and the renewables industry?

“Mr Turnbull has indicated that he wants to lead a government focused on innovation, but nuclear power is heavy old tech. We need to move towards clean, modern solutions to our energy needs, like solar power and other renewables,” she said…..http://www.celsius.news/story/3456818/greenpeace-delivers-fake-nuclear-waste-to-malcolm-turnbulls-office/?cs=4695