Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sorry, but you can keep the waste

George Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership is making its footprint large in Australia. Okay, the context is that I am just back from an election campaign nuclear power forum.

Candidate Robin is opposed to the development of nuclear power generation in this country, and was preaching to the converted. Again, the context, our sub-tropical paradise is one of the 18 or so coastal regions slated for one of these wonderful power stations.

Australia is actually blessed with resources and technology which makes nuclear power needless here. We have more than abundant sunshine, and generating levels are still very high when there is cloud cover. We have ample natural gas for generation.

More than that we now have proven technology for smaller, community based generation, based on hybrid solar/gas systems. We also have wind coming out the wazzoo, so to speak.

Interestingly the main motivation for our nuclear debate here is not to develop nuclear power but to justify George W’s aim of turning this country into a nuclear waste dump. Maybe I shouldn’t pick on George here; I think Mr Cheney might have a big role to play in this.

Halliburton recently completed a major rail line through some of the most inhospitable country in the world, Central Australia. In many ways the project ranks as an heroic engineering feat, but will never be an economic winner as a normal railway service.

What is interesting is that along this route are three locations identified as potential nuclear waste dumps; a sort of Ellis Island for the words nuclear garbage. I suspect Cheney’s little enterprise might actually get there return on investment as waste disposal contractors.

Of course, give Halliburton’s record on operating contracts I find the concept appalling, at the very least. But bugger it all! Why should one of the true wonders of the world, not to mention the land inhabited by the Aborigines for 50,000 years or more, become a toxic wasteland for a few million years?

The Brits already rendered massive tracts of Central Australia waste lands from their early nuclear weapons experiments. We know much more now and George and Dick can stick their waste where the sun don’t shine, but I’ll personally lead the charge to ensure they don’t dump it here.


D.K. Raed said...

I did not know you've already had nuke experimentation in your famous interior. Silly me, I always picture it so pristine down there.

It makes me ill to think of Halliburton scheming for more profit by arranging for nuke dumps. Don't let them dip a toe in that (heavy) water!

In addn to the multi-thousand year safe storage problem, there is also the added joy of transporting through all those small towns & environmentally sensitive areas. Accidents can & will happen.

Cartledge said...

Sadly no one here really knows Halliburton/Cheney. At least not the ordinary people, it just doesn't resonate.
The other big issue is that the waste needs to go through one of two major towns (cities perhaps), Adelaide or Darwin.
There are still Australian cases before the British court over tests at a place called Maralinga, from the 50's. Those cases are for people damage, there seems to be no remidy for land damage :(

abi said...

Good luck. But you have to know if the World's Only Superpower wants to make Australia its nuclear waste dump, so it shall be. But on the up-side, I'm sure there'll be a good wad of money in it for you (that is, for the top 1% of the upper 1% of you).

Cartledge said...

I'm thinking peoplepower might have a stake in this one.