Sunday, June 18, 2006

Howard’s real nuclear agenda: "Prime Minister John Howard says he is 'yet to be convinced' of the economic and other arguments in favour of nuclear power generation in Australia. 'All I am wanting is this country being open minded enough to look at the alternatives', he said again last week. However, while the PM may have doubts about the financial attractions of nuclear power in Australia, he is plainly as keen as mustard to see Australia’s nuclear industries expand into other areas such as enrichment and the storage of nuclear waste. Details have recently come to light about just how Australia could fit into US President George W Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and how our island continent might become a one stop nuclear shop. And of course, what Dubbya wants, Johnny will bend over backwards to deliver."

"Australia and Canada have been invited to join this [US-led] "partnership" in which Australia’s role would be to mine and enrich uranium for export in the form of fuel rods for nuclear power generation to rapidly expanding economies like India and China. It would then accept the spent fuel rods back for storage. Australia would thus "lease" the nuclear fuel rods to customers."

Howard doesnt want a debate, he wants a smokescreen. Nothing that man says can be believed.

There's no debate, the nuclear debate was ended decades ago. This was nicely illustrated on this morning's Sunday panel discussion on the topic, which sported a number of aged gents advocating nukes: These old fossils backed the wrong horse a long time ago, but they have been wheeled out for one mad final fling in the nuclear cycle. Nuclear power is a failed industry if ever there was one. And if they are going to have a proper debate, can they please stop giving time to industry lobbyists in green drag? Green lipstick on a corporate pig. There is substantial and credible opposition to the nuclear power industry in the form of genuine opponents of nuclear and supporters of renewables, and those are the environmentalists who should be invited and quoted.

Sunday interview with Howard: when asked about dangers of nukes, Howard said that there are dangers elsewhere, as in windpower. I find this a revealing statement. So windpower incinerated 100,000 people in an instant? Or contaminated thousands of hectares in Ukraine rendering them unfit for human habitation? The statement on the face of it is absurd, and shows Howard's basic contempt and low regard for renewables and the environment.

Nuclear power is toxic, costly, dangerous, non-renewable and not the answer. The answer is renewable energy, and we need a 100% commitment to research and development of multiple forms of renewable energy, as well as a carbon tax to make alternatives more competitive, begin the phasing out of coal stations, and provide funds for research and other essential purposes. A carbon tax should be introduced immediately at a low rate with no exemptions, the rate rising gradually over time in order to be more effective in achieving its goals.

Any time or money spent on any nuclear 'debate' or 'inquiry' is simply time and money wasted. If the Labor party had the guts to decisively oppose Howard's initiative, together with the Greens they could crush Howard and the nuclear lobby at the same time.

Further questions for Howard: if Australia develops nuclear power, will it develop nuclear weapons? Will Howard rule that out? If Australia develops nuclear power as we are entitled to under the terms of the NPT, will we support Iran's right to do the same? Or will we rule out participating in any form in any US bombing or sanctions against Iran so long as it complies with the NPT? Or would Australia itself be liable for bombings or sanctions itself if it enriches uranium? Will other countries in the region, eg Indonesia, also go nuclear, and face the same issues?

There might be one benefit of everyone going nuclear, however. It might terminate once and for all the utterly foolish remarks of Downer and Howard about launching 'preemptive strikes' against Indonesia. But nuclear or non-nuclear, terrorists or no terrorists, Australia will not be making any unprovoked military attack on Indonesia, or any neigbouring country, please God. (I'm trying real hard right now to forget about Iraq). In the event that such an order was given, one might hope that the Defence forces would disobey, at least until such time as cabinet or parliament could convene and remove the Ministers responsible. Or perhaps the Governer-General could intervene and have the said Ministers taken into psychiatric care.

On cost alone, nuclear power is ruled out. Uranium ore is a limited resource, and at current rates of consumption is expected to deplete in about 40-50 years, sooner if the industry expands. But as the ore depletes, its price will go up. Australia has about 40% of known uranium ore reserves. A motza could be made in the export business. The whole 'debate' is simply a smokescreen for Howard to lobby for the mining industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Howard doesnt want a debate, he wants a smokescreen. Nothing that man says can be believed." Indeed. Quite simply, the man is a lying rodent.