US President Donald Trump's August 8 statement that any threats from North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” should have made us all very worried. But it has grown worse since then.
Nuclear weapons are in the news again, for all the wrong reasons. But the adoption of a new United Nations treaty could kickstart a re-energised effort to abolish these expensive, dangerous and immoral weapons.
On July 7, the UN General Assembly adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the nuclear ban treaty. It was voted in by 122 countries, with only one country voting against.
However, all nine nuclear weapon states, and most nuclear umbrella states, failed to attend the treaty negotiations and boycotted the vote.
South Australian Yankunytjatjara elder and activist Yami Lester, who was blinded as a teenager by dust from the Maralinga nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s, died on July 21 in Alice Springs, aged 75.
His family said his death "leaves an incredible legacy of better global understanding of the devastation of nuclear bombs and for the ongoing battle for recognition of the consequences of them".
The WA state Labor government announced on June 20 that it will not obstruct the construction of the four uranium mines in the state that have already received environmental approval. But it says it will block future proposals.
Toro Energy's Wiluna project, Vimy Resources' Mulga Rock project, and Cameco's Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects were all approved before Labor won the March election. Environmental approval for Yeelirrie was initially denied amid fears several species of subterranean fauna would be made extinct, but it eventually got the nod anyway.
In a statement to the Senate on June 13, the federal government confirmed it will sell uranium to Ukraine despite significant safety and security concerns raised by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).
In February a JSCOT investigation found that existing safeguards were “not sufficient” and there was a risk Australian nuclear material would disappear in Ukraine.
Last November, two-thirds of the 350 members of a South Australian-government initiated Citizens' Jury rejected "under any circumstances" the plan to import high-level nuclear waste from around the world as a money-making venture.
“War aids capitalism, those who support capitalism support war, that is, the philosophy of death and destruction,” Boliva’s left-wing President Evo Morales said on April 18.
Morales warned that humanity was “at risk of disappearing in a nuclear holocaust,” as tensions mount worldwide after US military attacks in Syria and Afghanistan.
“Nuclear power in the United States and Western countries are getting us dangerously closer to a nuclear conflagration.”
The CSIRO will spend $29.7 million on a three-year project to conduct an assessment, separation and treatment of radioactive waste at a CSIRO facility located on Department of Defence land near Woomera, South Australia. The Woomera facility is one of Australia’s largest storage sites for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste.
The Australian government, at the behest of the United States, has decided to boycott major United Nations nuclear disarmament negotiations beginning on March 27. It argues that US nuclear weapons are essential for Australia’s security and therefore should not be prohibited under international law.
To most South Australians, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan for a vast outback dump to host imported high-level nuclear waste is dead, needing only a decent send-off.
Nevertheless, the Premier keeps trying to resurrect the scheme. Why?