Premier Jay Weatherill
South Australia is blessed with more sunlight than most parts of the world.
Over 30 percent of the state's power is already generated by renewable energy.
Public opinion, if social media is anything to go by, is firmly in favour of expanding the state's renewable energy sector and rejecting unsustainable alternatives, including nuclear.
Despite this, the South Australian State Government, seemingly lured by the potential revenue a nuclear waste dump would provide, has initiated a Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
Worryingly, the government appointed former military man Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN (Rtd) to the position of Royal Commissioner, casting immediate doubt on the independence of any recommendations made. Rear Admiral Scarce has previoulsy revealed publicly his support for development of the nuclear industry.
Dangerous and expensive
The Fukushima disaster in Japan is just one of dozens of nuclear accidents in recent times and precipitated a global rethink on the nuclear industry with respect to safety. As Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Council wrote in The Guardian back in February:
"The 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have seen popular acceptance of nuclear power recede – in Japan over 50 reactors remain mothballed or idle, while conservative politicians in Germany are leading the charge to end nuclear power supply by 2022. The sector is flatlining in the US and even France is looking to cut the atom’s share of the French energy sector by 25% over the next decade. China, and to a lesser extent India, remain the only bright spots in the pro-nuclear firmament but even these are contested and eclipsed by plans for growth in renewables."
With countries at the forefront of the nuclear industry questioning the industy's future, why is the Weatherill Government courting an industry that has the potential to put our people and our environment at risk?
You can help us convince Premier Weatherill to abandon any plans for a nuclear waste dump and an expanded nuclear industry in South Australia. Send the Premier our letter (below) adding your details to the form top right.
Thanks for standing up for a clean and safe South Australia!
Premier Jay Weatherill, Port Adelaide MPs & Mayor Gary Johanson
Exports of dangerous "yellowcake" uranium through Port Adelaide are about to increase seven- fold, putting the health and wellbeing of local residents at risk.
About 5000 tonnes of uranium oxide is currently shipped out of Port Adelaide per year. The Olympic Dam expansion and the development of new West Australian mines is set to increase exports to about 37,000 tonnes a year.
The nuclear lobby and mining companies claim exposure to uranium poses no threat to human health. However, independent studies show that normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and other systems can be negatively affected by uranium exposure.
Further, studies on human DNA have shown an increased occurence of cancers especially lung cancer, after exposure to uranium.
It's because of such risks that Fremantle Council has banned uranium exports through its port. Their policy states:
"No uranium, nuclear waste nor other material connected with the nuclear power industry may be stored or transported in or through the municipality."
The pro-mining Coalition government in WA has told the Australian that it would not consider shipping the uranium out of its ports "because they are either surrounded by residential areas or do not have container facilities".
However, the Barnett government seems happy to allow uranium mining as long as the dangerous substance is transported to South Australia and shipped out of Port Adelaide!
The recent spill of uranium and copper concentrate into the Edith River in the Northern Territory following a train derailment, reveals the chance of an accident is a real possibility.
More concering, an exemption from the SA government’s SafeWork department allowed the toxic material to be transported from Oz Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in wagons covered only by tarpaulins rather than in the sealed containers normally required.
If this is any indication of the potential risks and poor safety standards, an increase of uranium exports through Port Adelaide must be stopped as they have been in Western Australia.
In March 2011 the Daiichi nuclear reactor in Fukushima was hit by a massive earthquake and Tsunami, sending it into meltdown. The fallout from this event is likely to be felt in Japan for many years with radiation from the disaster being detected up to 50kms from the plant.
An accident in South Australia is unlikely to be as serious but the health risks exist.
Companies involved in the mining of uranium have the lucrative Indian market in their sights after the Federal Government scrapped its policy preventing the shipping of uranium to the world's second largest country.
The chief of India's nuclear program has applauded the federal Labor government for lifting restrictions on uranium sales to India saying that it would free up its current uranium stocks for use in its nuclear weapons program.
If you are concerned that Australian uranium could be used in nuclear weapons manufacturing and unsafe reactors send the letter of opposition below to local, state and federal politicians now!
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