As South Australia's economy continues to tank, local business leaders and the state Labor government have snatched at the nuclear option. Leading the hopes for salvation is a proposal for a giant underground waste dump to store some of the world's spent reactor fuel.
As a sagging economy cruelled their electoral chances, right-wing parliamentarians and power-brokers in the South Australian Labor Party decided in late 2014 that it was time to ditch a once fiercely-defended point of policy. The party's remaining opposition to the nuclear fuel cycle would have to go. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill soon came on board, and by March last year the state's Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was under way.
Under the cover of thick clouds and blinding sun, a drone assignation takes place in the Middle East. Interception of internet messages leads US authorities to a 16-year-old Anonymous group member.
"Remembering Fukushima: Resisting nuclear waste dumps!" was the title of a public forum held in Redfern on March 3. About 40 people heard a panel of speakers mark five years since the Fukushima tsumani and nuclear disaster in March 2011 and outline the growing opposition movement to federal government plans for a nuclear waste dump in rural Australia. "The nuclear industry has no place in a safe and sustainable future. Five years since the Fukushima disaster, it is time to break the nuclear chain," forum publicity stated. The forum was organised by Uranium Free NSW.
When veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected British Labour Party leader in September, many commentators in the corporate media and inside the Labour Party establishment warned his anti-austerity and anti-war positions would be a “disaster” for the party — rendering it “unelectable”. Assumed to have no chance at the start of the campaign, his staunch opposition to austerity measures impoverishing millions helped generate a tidal wave of enthusiasm.
The front page headline “Trash and treasure” on the February 16 edition of South Australia's only daily newspaper, The Advertiser, welcomed the recommendation from the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission for a nuclear waste dump in outback SA. The commission had cost a massive tax-payer funded $8 million.
After two decades of failing to secure a nuclear waste dump site in South Australia and the Northern Territory through a top down approach, early last year the federal government initiated a voluntary nomination process calling on landholders to put forward their land for assessment. A shortlist of six was released after 28 sites were nominated around Australia: Hill End in NSW; Omanama in Queensland; Hale in the Northern Territory; Cortlinye and Pinkawillinie in the Kimba region of South Australia; and Barndioota station in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
“Potentially the most widespread and globally synchronous anthropogenic signal is the fallout from nuclear weapons testing.” Repeatedly, over hundreds of thousands of years, glaciers expanded south and north from the polar regions, covering much of the Earth with ice sheets several kilometres deep.
Up to 100 people gathered in Wollongong on December 5 to witness the New South Wales government's costly operation to move 25 tonnes of highly radioactive nuclear waste through Port Kembla to the Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney. After a welcome to country by a prominent traditional land owner and elder, we were addressed by representatives from the Maritime Union of Australia, the South Coast Labour Council and Beyond Nuclear initiative. Overnight and into the early morning, Greenpeace activists on flotillas witnessed the incoming shipment on their flotillas.
More than 2000 People's Climate Marches were held over the weekend of November 27 to 29. In Australia more than 140,000 people took to the streets to show they care, passionately, about climate change. They are also angry at government inaction, as illustrated by the many homemade placards and props. These marches were the biggest national anti-government mobilisations for many years. The Melbourne march — a huge 60,000 people — was the biggest street march there since the anti-Work Choices protests of 2005.