Archive for the ‘religion and ethics’ Category

Australia importing the world’s nuclear wastes? – an ethical case for this

October 27, 2016


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If indeed, the waste importing idea were conditional on a Japanese plan to close down the industry, and help Japan overcome its very serious dilemma, this could be one big move towards halting the global nuclear industry juggernaut, with its undoubted connection to nuclear weapons. Japan could pay a reasonable amount to the waste host country, without being ripped off, without that country expecting to become mega wealthy. That would be one circumstance in which it would be an ethical choice for Australia to import and dispose of nuclear waste.

“Pie in the sky!”  I hear your cry.

Yes, sadly so. Is there any chance that such an ethical decision would ever be made? I doubt it. The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is left with the question of whether or not to support the NFCRC’s plan for a nuclear waste bonanza, or to risk possible State bankruptcy in the event of it all going wrong. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18603

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury: an ethical case for importing nuclear wastes, Online Opinion, Noel Wauchope, 25 Oct 16 The South Australian government will call another Nuclear Citizens’ Jury, on October 29 – 30. This time the jury must answer this question:

Under what circumstances, if any, could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries?

That set me thinking. The main “circumstance” for recommending this “opportunity” is the State Government’s plan to eventually bring in a pot of gold for the State.   There really is no other argument for this project in the Report. In the 320 page report any arguments about Aboriginal issues, safety, environment, health, are aimed at rebutting criticism of the plan. They provide no argument on the plan actually improving health or environment, and are in fact quite defensive about Aboriginal impacts.

However, nuclear lobbyists have for a long time been promoting the idea that Australia has an ethical responsibility to import nuclear wastes. Terry Grieg, of the Australian Nuclear Association expressed it clearly on Robyn Williams’Ockham’s Razor show, in 2013.:….

This ethical argument is supported only by enthusiastic nuclear lobbyists. Even the World Nuclear Association is clear on the question of responsibility for nuclear wastes:

There is clear and unequivocal understanding that each country is ethically and legally responsible for its own wastes, therefore the default position is that all nuclear wastes will be disposed of in each of the 50 or so countries concerned.

So – the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury seems to be left with only one real circumstance under which it has the “opportunity” to store and dispose of nuclear wastes from other countries – the projected financial bonanza.

There are many serious critics of the economic argument, such as in submissions to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission (NFCRC) by Senator Scott Ludlam , by Mothers For A Sustainable South AustraliaDr Mark Diesendorf, and by more recent articles such as the economic briefing by Independent Environment Campaigner, David Noonan. The current South Australian Parliamentary Inquiry has also criticised the economic plan. Senior Liberal MP Rob Lucas, a former state treasurer and the opposition’s Treasury spokesman suggested that:

…we, the taxpayers of South Australia, will be spending tens and maybe hundreds of ­millions of dollars on fool’s gold – fool’s uranium, fool’s nuclear waste dumps…….

Perhaps there IS an ethical argument for South Australia to import nuclear waste. I’m not referring to the uranium lobby’s hope that by Australia importing waste it will make their industry look good, and thus help to save its current decline.…….

At present Japan’s Shinzo Abe government is set on reviving the nuclear industry. However, there is much popular opposition to this, and Japan might well later move to the opposite policy. Interestingly, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in 2013, Japan held a “deliberative poll” – a type of “citizens’ jury’, which resulted in this conclusion:

As a direct result of the deliberative polling process, Japan’s national government has pledged to have zero percent dependency on nuclear energy after 2030.

Here is where an ethical argument comes in. If Japan took the decision to keep its nuclear reactors closed, to close down the two that are now operating, and abandon the nuclear goal, it would still have to solve the radioactive waste problem.

Japan would need help, in many ways, to achieve that goal. It would indeed be an ethical decision for a country such as Australia, to help…….The present plan, for nuclear waste to be imported into South Australia, is based on the idea of helping South East Asian countries to set up their nuclear power projects, by conveniently solving their “back end” problem. It is above all, a plan to the benefit of the global nuclear industry, which is at present in quite a crisis.

If indeed, the waste importing idea were conditional on a Japanese plan to close down the industry, and help Japan overcome its very serious dilemma, this could be one big move towards halting the global nuclear industry juggernaut, with its undoubted connection to nuclear weapons. Japan could pay a reasonable amount to the waste host country, without being ripped off, without that country expecting to become mega wealthy. That would be one circumstance in which it would be an ethical choice for South Australia to import and dispose of nuclear waste.

“Pie in the sky!”  I hear your cry.

Yes, sadly so. Is there any chance that such an ethical decision would ever be made? I doubt it. The Nuclear Citizens’ Jury is left with the question of whether or not to support the NFCRC’s plan for a nuclear waste bonanza, or to risk possible State bankruptcy in the event of it all going wrong. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18603

Nuclear Industry an “unacceptable risk” says Australian Ethical Super

January 6, 2016

 

Logo Australian EthicalAustralian Ethical Super  Dr Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics Research at Australian Ethical. 6 Jan 16 
We agree that the nuclear energy is a complex issue given the need to transition globally to low-emissions power. However, Australian Ethical has a strong negative screen on nuclear power for a range of reasons including:
· frequent association with nuclear weapons manufacture;
· radioactive pollution from uranium mines;
· the intractability of radioactive waste;
· the potential for catastrophic failure of nuclear power stations;
· security risks associated with the operation of nuclear power stations, and with the transport and storage of nuclear waste.
In our view these concerns outweigh the potential climate change benefits of nuclear power. Even with new generation nuclear plants we still consider the level of risk to be unacceptable, particularly given rapid advancements in renewable energy and storage technology.
I hope this information is helpful in explaining our approach.
tinyurl.com/Nuclear-Uranium