I heard Fran Kelly interview SA premier Mike Rann on Radio National Breakfast a few days ago. Apparently Rann has totally gone over to the nuclear industry and is all enthused about his new interest. I haven’t been able to find a transcript, but a recent interview with him is here.
What with JHo being all enthusiastic about putting 25 or so reactors around Bennelong (yeah, right) and Krudd being all excited about digging much more of the stuff up, I’m a little depressed. Not because I am a hormonal hysteric who’s incapable of rational thought, but because of all the research I did when young (and things like the Fox Report into the Ranger and Jabiluka uranium mines, as well as the fallout from the Maralinga tests, were in the wind). A few things haven’t changed since then:
* The byproducts of the nuclear fuel cycle last for several millennia,
* We don’t have any permanent solution for its storage, so it must be actively managed,
*most “great civilisations” have lasted about two thousand years, max, except for a couple of Chinese dynasties, and we know what their OH & S record is like.
* Therefore, we are creating a huge problem which has to be managed for millenium after millenium, long after our grandchildren are dead (not prematurely, we hope), and after any energy benefit from the toxic waste has been used, and
*. Any major error will render large swathes of country uninhabitable, its food inedible and its water undrinkable for several centuries, if you’re lucky. As wind and water do not respect boundaries, this will have global impacts.
And so on. So I was even more depressed as I listened to Mike witter on.
But Mike will get his way, because he and Kruddy and JHo and the rest of them are so good at portraying themselves as the Hard men who think hard thoughts, and subtly discrediting their opponents. They do it with the little plutonium particle “emotion”, which they drop into their discourse like krypton, rendering the whole environment toxic. As in,
“Well, of course, Fran, nuclear energy is a very emotional issue.”
Bingo! Anyone who disagrees with you is now a hormonal hysteric incapable of rational thought. Whether emotion can have anything to do with which facts are correct and which are not is not a subject for discussion, nor is the idea that becoming emotional about the death of rivers, desertification, clearfell logging and nuclear contamination could be simply a reaction to cold, hard facts. No, real men don’t have emotions, and only real men can be true leaders, as we find out:
(from memory) “We’re the ones willing to make the tough decisions.”
Now whether he actually said tough or hard is moot, but you get the drift, as I did, as indeed I was meant to. But being the wrong-thinking type that I am, I thought this was a bit arse about.
Because in general, the people who want to adopt the nuclear fuel cycle seem to be the ones who are most fearful of adopting renewable energy technologies, and …horror!… using less energy! It’s all about trying to keep business as usual. Let’s not start manufacturing solar cells and windmills and things; digging stuff up and selling it is what we’re good at. That, and using lots and lots of fossil fuels ourselves.
You know, if a pollie suggested actually leaving the uranium in the ground, using less energy, finding a way to run the economy without depending on continuous growth, and doing a serious push with renewables, that would be a tough decision. I think it’s the Ranns and Rudds and Howards who are the fearful ones. ALP pollies are too much in love with the status quo. I wonder Peter Garrett can sleep at night.
Crossposted at Road to Surfdom