Jim Green

With the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl falling on April 26, a debate is brewing over the estimated death toll from the nuclear disaster. The debate has erupted with a heated exchange between prominent British columnist George Monbiot and anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. Monbiot claims the “official death toll” from Chernobyl is 43. Caldicott puts the death toll at 985,000. Someone's wrong. Perhaps they both are.
A poll by Roy Morgan Research several days into the Fukushima nuclear crisis found that 61% of Australians oppose the development of nuclear power in Australia, nearly double the 34% who support it. The growth in support for nuclear power over the past five years has been totally erased — and then some. There was undoubtedly growing support for nuclear power until Fukushima, but the issue had been the subject of a great deal of hype and spin.
Prominent British columnist George Monbiot announced in the British Guardian on March 21 that he now supports nuclear power. That isn't a huge surprise — having previously opposed nuclear power, he announced himself “nuclear-neutral” in 2009.
A nuclear solution.

What's the best mix of electricity supply sources for Australia in the context of growing scientific and public concern about climate change? Energy efficiency and conservation provide the first part of the answer — they can provide large, quick, cheap greenhouse emissions reductions.

Radiation clean-up workers.

How have Australian scientists handled the difficult task of keeping us informed about the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan? Only a few Australian scientists have featured repeatedly in the media.

Scanning centre for residents living close to the quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

There's every likelihood that radioactive by-products of Australian uranium have spewed into the atmosphere from the nuclear reactor plant at Fukushima in Japan.

Traditional owners of Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory have launched a federal court challenge over a proposed nuclear waste dump on their land. A small group of traditional owners signed a deal for $12 million in exchange for roads, housing and infrastructure, but senior elders from all five of the clan groups for Muckaty maintain that they did not consent to the waste dump proposal.
There are three main problems with the nuclear “solution” to climate change — it is a blunt instrument, a dangerous one, and it is unnecessary.
“Integral fast reactors” and other “fourth generation” nuclear power concepts have been gaining attention, in part because of comments by US climate scientist James Hansen.
Nuclear power must be rejected as a climate change abatement strategy for three major reasons: a doubling of nuclear power would reduce global greenhouse emissions by no more than about 5%. A much larger expansion of nuclear power would deplete conventional uranium reserves in a few decades.
The connections between water scarcity, power generation and the federal government’s promotion of nuclear power are worth reflecting on with National Water Week held from October 21-27.
British scientist James Lovelock, famous for his Gaia theory of the earth as a self-regulating organism, was in Adelaide on July 7-8, speaking at the Festival of Ideas. He has researched across a range of disciplines and has much of interest to say. But on the topic of nuclear power, Lovelock is inaccurate and irresponsible.