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SA government: spruiking nuclear power « Previous | |Next »
February 26, 2011

Reports are emerging that parts of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were so damaged and contaminated that it would be even harder to bring the plant under control soon; that the reactor vessel of the No. 3 unit may have been damaged; and that Japanese officials have begun encouraging people to evacuate a larger band of territory around the complex.

Some ministers in the Rann Government in South Australia have become cheerleaders for the nuclear industry in Australia. Thus Tom Koutsantonis, South Australia's Minister for Minerals Resources and Development, recently argued to the Paydirt Uranium conference, that it is now necessary to step up to the plate and argue for nuclear power in Australia.

In doing so he attacked the hysteria around the effects of radiation, given the safety of nuclear reactors in Japan. There were no deaths from radiation unlike the thousands of deaths from the earthquake and the tsunami. South Australia, in his view, should be enriching uranium within 10-30 years and its storage in South Australia.

This is the nuclear industry's spin is good news: despite the events in Japan, nuclear is a safe, affordable and “clean” energy source that does not spew harmful carbons into the environment or rely on foreign producers. It’s nuclear power, or it’s climate change.

Kevin Foley, the ex -Treasurer of SA, then came out and backed Koutsantonis: mine it, enrich it, store the by-product, produce energy, and store the waste. South Australian governments have a long history of spruiking nuclear power plant in SA (at Port Augusta, SA). They reckon it is inevitable, and presumably, they want the commonwealth to subsidize it.

The best that can be said is that the SA Labor Party is now officially divided and that many Labor politicians supported the nuclear industry.

It's a strange time to let the cat out of the bag that the SA Government is behind the push to spruik nuclear power in South Australia, since reports from Japan indicate that there are now abnormal levels of radiation in milk, some vegetables, tap water, sea water and sea food.

My own view is that the nuclear industry is a snake-oil culture of habitual misrepresentation, pervasive wishful thinking, deep denial, and occasional outright deception. For more than 50 years, it has habitually lied about risks and costs while covering up every violation and failure it could. We have seen this once again around the Fukushima disaster.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:07 AM |