Making Radioactive Weather

Uranium St
Source: Australian Conservation Foundation

In a feature in the weekend magazine accompanying the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, scientist Tim Flannery extolled nuclear power as the solution to global warming. Flannery's book, The Weather Makers, was underwritten by businessman Robert Purves, the president of WWF Australia. Clive Hamilton, the Executive Director of the Australia Institute, a centre-left think tank, is critical of Flannery's reliance on individual responsibility and nuclear power as solutions to climate change. Flannery's reliance on individual responsibility "is music to the Government's ears," Hamilton writes. "Alone among Australian environmental advocates, he has declared his support for the development of a nuclear industry. The Prime Minister, John Howard, now regularly buttresses his nuclear push by saying that even some environmentalists 'like Tim Flannery' support nuclear power," Hamilton writes. WWF Australia's CEO and former BP executive, Greg Bourne, has also backed an expansion of uranium mining and nuclear power.


This story may seem almost innocuous to many Americans. After all, it's just one environmental activist in far off Australia out of thousands worldwide supporting the development of nuclear power. But, it's a big deal down under and a boon for the Australian nuclear industry.

Mr. Flannery is a leading voice of environmental thinking in the South Pacific and around the world. His advocacy of nuclear power is a major coup for that industry and for Australia, which controls 24% of the world's exploitable uranium reserves. That is three times the reserves controlled by the USA!

I believe if Australia could sell it's citizens on a significant national commitment to developing nuclear power, they could probably be energy independent and a major seller nuclear fuel to the world within a decade.

The US government dislikes this idea, but it may have no power to prevent it.

There may be awful risks entailed in the nuclear power industry, as witness the continuing devastation and loss of life surrounding Chernoble. However, if I was an Australian, and considering what's at stake for the future of my country's economy, I wonder what I'd think? After all, the US government hasn't initiated any crash programs to de-commisson existing American reactors, or even to protect them from terrorists more effectively. If they are that safe for America, why shouldn't Australians pursue their natural advantage in Uranium ore?

Dick Jones, Director
Progressive Internet Action