Jim Green

The appointment of nuclear power advocate Alan Finkel as Australia's next Chief Scientist led to speculation that the federal government might be softening up Australians for the introduction of nuclear power.

But that speculation is likely misplaced. Finkel is not the first Chief Scientist to support nuclear power. It goes with the turf: boys like toys and Chief Scientists like nuclear power. Finkel's comments were actually quite nuanced and at least as supportive of renewables as nuclear power.

Ten years ago, the uranium price was on an upward swing. South Australians were dazzled by the prospect of becoming the 'Saudi Arabia of the South' because of the state's large uranium deposits and the prospect of a global nuclear power renaissance.

Those comparisons didn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny — Australia would need to supply global uranium demand 31 times over to match Saudi oil revenue.

Warren Mundine, head of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council, has waged war against environmental groups in recent opinion pieces in the Fairfax and Murdoch media.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke is urging Australia to become the world's nuclear waste dump. But he has little hope of succeeding.

March 11 was the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan and the meltdowns, explosions and fires at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The impacts of the nuclear disaster have been horrendous. More than 100,000 people are still homeless and some will never be able to return.

Homeless, jobless, separated from friends and family, the toll on people's health and mental well-being has been significant — one indication being a sharp rise in suicide rates. One farmer’s suicide note simply read: “I wish there wasn’t a nuclear plant.”

Warren Mundine, a member and former National President of the ALP, and co-convener of the Australian Uranium Association’s Indigenous Dialogue Group, has been promoting the nuclear industry recently. Unfortunately he turns a blind eye to the industry's crude racism, a problem that ought to be core business for the Indigenous Dialogue Group.

The nuclear industry has been responsible for some of the crudest racism in Australia's history. This racism dates from the British nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s but it can still be seen today.

The British government conducted 12 nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s, most of them at Maralinga in South Australia. Permission was not sought from affected Aboriginal groups such as the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Tjarutja and Kokatha. Thousands of people were adversely affected and the impact on Aboriginal people was particularly profound.

These are interesting times in the uranium sector. The mining companies have had a few wins in the 14 months since the Fukushima disaster, but they've had more losses.

Bill Repard, organiser of the Paydirt Uranium Conference held in Adelaide in February, put on a brave face with this claim: The sector's hiccups in the wake of Fukushima are now over with, the global development of new nuclear power stations continues unabated, and the Australian sector has literally commenced a U-turn in every sense.

Four Muckaty traditional owners — Penny Phillips, Jeannie Sambo, Kylie Sambo and Delvine Spiteri — visited Melbourne on June 25 to attend a federal court hearing concerning the nomination of Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, for a national nuclear waste dump.

A nuclear war using as few as 100 weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that the lives of more than a billion people would be at risk, according to research findings released in April by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and its Australian affiliate, the Medical Association for Prevention of War.


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