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The Forum > Article Comments > Dumping a nuclear core election promise? > Comments

Dumping a nuclear core election promise? : Comments

By Natalie Wasley, published 14/5/2008

Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has been as secretive as his Coalition predecessors on the issue of nuclear waste management.

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You appear to have misrepresnted the willingness of most aboriginal people at Muckaty - who seem to want a nuclear waste dump.


"The Northern Land Council (NLC) says it is confident a nuclear waste dump will be built at Muckaty Station, north of Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory.

The NLC has nominated the Aboriginal land for the dump and the proposal will now be considered by the Commonwealth.

The nomination allows Commonwealth scientists to test a 1.5 square kilometre area of Muckaty Station. If they then give the go-ahead, the land will host a low-level repository with an above-ground store for intermediate level waste.

The NLC's chairman John Daly says all 70 of the station's Ngapa traditional owners have agreed to give their land over to the Commonwealth for about 200 years.

In return they will get a $12 million package which includes an $11 million charitable trust and a $1 million educational scholarship fund."

You appear to be projecting the concerns of your group on another group of Australians - despite the facts.

If you can prove the people at Muckaty have changed their minds or are still bargaining please show it.

If Rudd is so willing to sell uranium to nuclear armed China and Russia he cannot stand on morality - what do you expect.

Australia could provide an environmental service to the world by preserving nuclear waste were it will do less damage. Or would you prefer Chinese peasants to continue to be exposed to radiation from makeshift Chinese waste dumps?

Basically denying the world a nuclear waste dump is not going to make the biggest uranium users see reason. Those countries - leftwing and rightwing - rely on uranium for their nuclear weapons. The campaign and hopes of Australian greenies, perhaps sadly, is not on their radar.

Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 11:00:28 AM
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For the Rudd government, a feature of their style appears to be that Rudd wants to stick to election promises, (even the big tax cuts - in this climate of inflation).

So - if Rudd is keeping those dubious promises - why not come completely clean on the very sound promise to repeal the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act (CRWMA) 2005 - which is, as Natalie Wasley says "draconian and undemocratic"?

Some of us voted for this Rudd government because of its stand on this nuclear waste issue. We knew that Martin Ferguson, with his undemocratic and anti-environmental views was to be a member of Rudd's cabinet - but we expected Rudd to honour that election promise.

This government got there because of the environmentalists' support. That support could turn to opposition if Martin Ferguson is not put back in his place - (preferably right out of politics)
Christina Macpherson
Posted by ChristinaMac, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 12:31:12 PM
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The greatest sin of the uranium fuel "industry" is the sin of omission.

For 60 years, an incurious public has been kept in the dark about the realities of the toxic mountain that has been created by the uranium processing industry.

So egregious is the situation, I am inclined to think that people like Martin Ferguson simply don't get it. This should be the backdrop for every consideration regarding the use of uranium. It should be the point of departure which precedes every discussion, no matter whether it be about nuclear energy, mining, or indigenous rights.

I suspect that the Powers That Be are only too happy to debate the last three issues, if only - IF ONLY - the subject of the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride is kept well off the radar and out of the public's mind.

Here is a link to the US Department of Energy:

It is somewhat out of date, but here it is admitted that 57,000 steel containers of Uranium Hexafluoride (containing 700,000 tonnes) are still awaiting a brainwave for it's safe disposal. Since it dates all the way back to 1946, we are still waiting.

The cylinders are 12 foot long by 4 foot in diameter. The steel walls are 5/8" thick. The cylinders must be inspected, re-painted and their safety valves tested and replaced on a regular basis.

This stuff cannot simply be buried in a deep hole anywhere. The energy and capital cost of "disarming" it might throw doubt upon the nuclear industry's claims that nuclear power is sufficiently "energy positive" to make it worth the risk.

Add to this the immense amout of ore, mining, diesel, water and electric power to make just ONE set of fuel rods. The clean up? Let's not even contemplate that.
Posted by Chris Shaw, Carisbrook 3464, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 12:52:31 PM
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I agree with your criticism of Ferguson. Ferguson's pro uranium unionist leaning seems to be an outgrowth of his career start as a union official.

But what of Peter Garrett - still Minister of the Environment and Heritage? Garrett had the appearance of being Rudd's right hand man in the election campaign. They looked like inseparable chums.

I described Garrett as a "vote magnet" at the time but also a politician most likely to fall out of a position of power because he isn't one of the Labor old boys/girls. Ferguson is.

If Garrett could put up good arguments against a waste dump he would commendably be doing his job but he appears out of his depth maintaining public support against uranium mining companies, unionist interests and waste storage.


I also agree with the your arguments that the cost of disposal or storage of waste, is completely uneconomic.

Countries and peoples wear this cost either through denial or more commonly they see nuclear power as a dual industry actively or potentially useful for nuclear explosives production ie nukes.

Basically (I think) Australia needs to work out a consistent nuclear policy which is not a deceptive balance:

- of short sighted, low price, uranium sales to potential enemies (China, Russia)


- feel good platitudes ie a "no waste dumps" policy that are not followed up or may have unintended downsides.

I don't think even a Labor Government can escape the vested interests that governed the Coalition's many faced nuclear policy.

We may have different positions (on say, nuclear weapons for Australian independence) but I think we can all agree that the Labor Government should devise highly consistent, well argued and effective nuclear policies.

Peter Coates
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 3:54:40 PM
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Martin Ferguson and Bob Hawke must be the only two people in the Labor Party who want the worlds Nuclear Waste are they crazy or are they receiving a tip or two. What person in their right mind would agree to this even most of the Conservatives do not want this.
Posted by Bronco Lane, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 11:41:55 PM
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