Our part in nuclear fire is fuel for thought

Below is an article by Dave Noonan from ACF which explains the Australian connection to current nuclear disaster in Japan

The nuclear emergency that is compounding the human tragedy of Japan’s earthquake sends a clear warning to Australia to steer clear of the risks of nuclear energy. The terrible human cost of the earthquake in Japan is being made even worse by radiation escaping from damaged nuclear reactors and the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people who live around the nuclear reactor sites.

Amid the growing human tragedy in Japan the state of the nation’s nuclear power reactors has been prominent in media interest and public concern. And with good reason, because no other industrial activity poses the risks of the nuclear trade.

Australia has a direct link to this tragedy because the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that operates the Fukushima reactors, buys and burns Australian uranium. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto sell Australian uranium to Japan from the Olympic Dam and Ranger uranium mines respectively.

The radiation now threatening Japanese communities and the environment could be directly derived from the use of our uranium in their nuclear reactors.

We must act to avoid the ultimate nuclear nightmare and stop fuelling trouble overseas through our uranium sales and dancing with danger closer to home through ill-considered plans for domestic nuclear energy reactors.

Nuclear is a high-cost, high-risk electricity option that has no place in a sustainable energy future.

When things go well we are left with the unresolved management of high-level, long-lived radioactive waste; when they go badly people are left with a disaster such as the current situation in Japan.

Australian companies should not be allowed to push this contested and contaminating industry in developing nations when this sort of situation can occur in a country as rich and technically advanced as Japan. Only this week our Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd announced proposed Australian uranium sales to the Middle East.

No other energy activity poses the hazards and risks that the nuclear trade imposes: unresolved, long lived nuclear waste; links to nuclear weapons production and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and the potential for catastrophic accidents and uncontrolled radiation exposure that can threaten regions with contamination and health effects.

The rising threat of nuclear terrorism means that we may also have to face potential deliberate damage to nuclear reactors in future.

Both Australian and Japanese communities deserve better than to have to face any of these nuclear risks.

Here at home, just as we have had to face climate sceptics and fossil fuel interests trying to prevent Australia addressing the science and the urgency of climate change, unfortunately we now face nuclear advocates and renewable energy sceptics trying to mislead the Australian people and push to take up nuclear reactors rather than adopt a clean and renewable energy future.

The spectre of a nuclear debate will delay and potentially damage Australia’s pathway to a clean, renewable energy future. It will unnecessarily absorb large amounts of political capital, energy and attention. Such an expenditure of time and resources could be better deployed working towards the common goal of a safer, cleaner and fairer Australia.

Nuclear reactors are a discredited agenda that proved to be an electoral liability in an earlier era.

So why are some in the ALP now promoting nuclear energy and pushing to overturn long-term Labor core values and repeated federal election policy commitments that prohibit nuclear power reactors, uranium processing and other stages of the nuclear fuel chain in Australia? We should learn from this nuclear emergency in Japan, move to get Australia out of uranium mining and the hazardous nuclear trade and help our neighbours across the Pacific to recover from the nuclear risks they face.

Let’s call on our political leaders to give assurances that they will avoid making the same nuclear mistakes and get on with delivering a clean, renewable energy future.




Maybe we should think a little harder about our own people who live in the shadow of uranium mining....because there are plenty of health coverups there as well.

What bothers me the most about the whole fukushima thing is that one site has 3 reactors which we have heard a lot about and out of the other three which are supposedly closed down, that is in cold shutdown for many months...one has had a fire. At the other Fukushima site, about 10 km away, there are another four that were having cooling problems and the last of them didn't go into cold shutdown until the 15th March. That's right, we never really heard about them because reactor one, reactor 3 and reactor 2 at the other Fukushima site have been more 'newsworthy' and also due to some confusion between the names of the two plants where they both have a reactor number one, two and so on.

Up the coast a little a bit, in the Oagawa nuclear plant there was a fire in the turbines.

And down the coast in Tokai nuclear plant reactor 2 is still having cooling problems.

The only reactors that the Japanese really want to put in the news and talk about as having failures are the nuclear reactors that are slated for shutdown....not the others that are having cooling (aka moving towards meltdown) problems and can be conveniently covered up by the so very convenient 'radiation from Fukashima' ruse.

We know that there have been other reports of earthquakes where nuclear reactors have suffered from shutdown problems in Japan. This was totally expected.

In Western Tokyo they were reporting a measurement of 800 msv radiation ...at 1 sv you have radiation sickness.

Maybe the readings from individual reactors are within safe standards as announced by that dubious 'at the gate' of the nuclear site measurement they so love)....but when you add up all of these reactors up together...how safe is the total radiation exposure? Where is the little table of information for each reactor and its current venting emission radioactive rate?

And so much for the jetstream carrying radioactive waste over the ocean. What about the change in land sea/ sea land breezes over night time.

Okay...now that I've covered the international situation which is a whole lot more grim than Olympic Dam (not that I would want to diminish our own parochial problems by focussing on an international disaster) ....back to the local perspective....
well you know....uranium mining is bad....and bauxite is just as bad. In fact it might be illuminating (literally) to go and look at the radiation levels around mines and in their communities, and the burning of coal for electricity and mercury in our drinking water and air and soil problems and add that to the whole total cost of living in a mining economy.

Here's a question...do we deny a nation like Japan cheap uranium in order to sell them our more expensive coal?
Wow....profitable moralising over a massively indebted nation where huge numbers of people have just died at a rate that they can't even bury them in.
Maybe we can also benefit financially off the backs of a few developing nations while we're at it with our new no-sell-you uranium policy. Ka-ching.

Over to you Dave.
But before I quit badgering you, one more point...our so-called carbon tax and 'green energy'...welllllllll....maybe you should check out the environmental effecs of solar batteries (not clean) and how much global warming is contributed by a Nevada-size solar plant (direct warming...rather than indirect warming caused by pollution) (not green). It is the dumbest anti-global warming idea ever. How's that for an inconvenient truth?