Submission to the South Australian Government, by Jo Valentine
Tony Serve Blogs 5 August 09
On behalf of the Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia, I make this submission: there should be no expansion of the uranium mining operations of BHP Billiton at Olympic Dam…………….
There are four parts to my argument: 1. Warming 2. Waste 3. Water 4. Weapons
1. WARMING: Since around 2003 -4 the global nuclear industry has positioned itself as part of the solution to climate change. In what has been an unprecedented attempt to fool governments and the public about its merits, and to minimise its dangers, the nuclear industry has been cavalier with the truth, to say the very least.It claims that it is greenhouse friendly, and therefore should be a sought-after energy source for the future. The only part of the nuclear industry’s operations which is not a heavy greenhouse gas emitter is the boiling of the water in the reactor. At every other stage in the chain, from uranium mining, to milling, to transport, to enrichment, to construction of reactors, to re-processing, to storage of waste (probably requiring more transport), to making of weapons, to de-commissioning of reactors, greenhouse gases are emitted. Just take the reactor construction and deconstruction as an example of what is never referred to by the industry’s proponents…………………..
Far from being any part of the answer to global warming, I submit that the nuclear industry is a major contributor to greenhouse emissions. As Storm van Leewen argues: “The Nuclear Industry should commit itself to publish a thorough analysis of the emissions of carbon dioxide and all other greenhouses gases in all processes of the fuel chain before claiming that nuclear energy is carbon free or greenhouse gas free.”
2. Wastes This is a shameful legacy to be leaving future generations – they will have to deal with the folly of this twentieth century failed experiment.
The problem of nuclear waste begins with the uranium mining process……………….
At Olympic Dam, it’s a problem (usually) of high winds sending the tailings blowing in the wind. The proposed expansion would add a further mountain of tailings, which could not be guaranteed against leakages, seepages, windstorms…………….
the storage proposed would cover an area of up to 44 square kms. to a height of up to 65 metres. This toxic mountain will probably leak as all tailings dams/pits do, for the duration of the open pit mine’s life,………..
In the driest state of the driest continent on earth, it is unwise, to put it mildly, to consider expanding the Olympic Dam operations……….
The fact that the water currently taken from GAB is free of charge, adds insult to the injury of water wastage. BHP Billiton plans to increase that water usage to at least 42 million litres per day – this must be rejected outright. ANAWA calls on the S.A. Government to phase out all water extraction from the GAB’s Borefield A as soon as possible.
The nuclear industry generally is a heavy water user. As Tim Flannery says “Coal fired power plants have large water requirements for cooling and steam generation, but these are dwarfed by the water needs of nuclear power.”
………….We believe that the grab for uranium by BHP Billiton and other uranium mining companies is a cynical grab for the grubby dollar while there is some vestige of hope for this ailing industry. It must be seen in light of the fact that this is a declining industry, with less nuclear power being generated each year (mostly due to ageing reactors being de-commissioned, or reactors with major problems being shut down “temporarily”) and the fact that more reactors are shutting down each year than opening, despite all the industry hype. The industry’s projections look rosy, but the new generation IV reactors are still only promises and the facts reveal that, on the other hand, renewable energies are growing at exponential rates, and would be proceeding even faster, if more research and development dollars were put their way, instead of propping up a filthy, failing industry.
Proposed BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Uranium Mine Expansion opposed on a series of logical, economic, environmental and ethical points – former Senator Jo Valentine’s letter to the”authorities” « tony serve blogs