A Hard Rain

Further to my recent post on whether or not Australia should furtherDavid Bradbury in Brisbane, 15 April 2007 embrace uranium and the nuclear fuel industries, today I attended a screening of A Hard Rain, which is the new documentary by Australian film maker David Bradbury, who also managed to get along to answer a few questions at the end of the film.

David Bradbury has a long career of political documentaries, and it’s no surprise that this film is strongly anti-nuclear. It goes through the full range of arguments surrounding nuclear, including newer arguments like climate change, the oldest like nuclear weapons, and many others regarding uranium mining, nuclear power stations and depleted uranium.

There is some added urgency amongst peace and environmental activists at present with the Labor Party’s federal conference due to debate a change to their policy to allow an expansion in the number of uranium mines in Australia.

I must say I find the lack of attention in the media/public debate on the dangers of nuclear weapon proliferation somewhat perplexing. I can understand people finding all the claim and counter-claim confusing about how expensive or not and how safe or not nuclear waste and nuclear power is. But I can’t see how anyone can think having more nuclear weapons in the world is a good idea.

One of the many Committees I’m on is the Treaties Committee, which last year examined the Treaty allowing Australia to export uranium to China, a country with a long history in producing nuclear weapons. Even if Australian uranium doesn’t make its way directly into Chinese nuclear weapons, it is pretty obvious that it frees up China’s own uranium reserves to be used for that purpose – and that’s assuming you think the nuclear safeguards are adequate. I was also quite surprised at the evidence showing how flimsy the non-proliferation protections are, even if you ignore the extreme lack of transparency in China. (There’s a good summary of these issues in this document from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War). However, I was the only one on the Committee who dissented from adopting the Treaty, which is yet another reason why I think the chances of the Labor Party deciding not to support expanded uranium mining are virtually zero.

I should hasten to add that you should still let them know if you happen to be very unhappy with such an idea.

If you live in Brisbane and want to see A Hard Rain, it is being screened on Monday April 23 at 7pm at the Balmoral Cinema in Oxford St Bulimba – organised by the Qld Nuclear Free Alliance.

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23 Comments

  1. Ray Bradbury has been around a long time,and his film could only be of interest to those who are not yet convinced.Seeing how much Labor is hogging the limelight,the non TV camera addicts in their ranks would be the only ones who would sit down to watch it,and perhaps they are almost there anyway.See McMullans latest use by date address to the nation.Others yet unconvinced are simply too busy being that,that is, they have convinced themselves that being too busy is them.

  2. Senator Bartlett made a very fair and balanced speech at the launch of David Bradbury’s (almost completed) documentary ‘A Hard Rain’ this afternoon.

    David Bradbury has been twice nominated for Oscars. This latest film is available through the Frontline Films website. If you have an opinion about Uranium, you should go to the Balmoral Cinema (one of the only Brisbane ye olde cinemas left!) on Monday 23rd April, and have a look at this film (see review here: http://www.springhillvoice.com)

    (Note: this comment was transferred from another post to this one by a website editor)

  3. I still think you should be a Greenie Andrew.

    Just as our Uranium frees up China’s so our lack of supply would be taken up by another country.

    I don’t think any sane person wants to see a proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the world. Considering Irans President keeps buddying up to the Military after every speech he gives on their peaceful production of enriched Uranium, I’d think there is the most imminent world threat.

  4. Both China and S. Africa are building or have built “pebble reactors”
    These reactors have an auto “shut down” capacity. It is a system based on physics, where too much heat triggers a shutdown of radio activity when a critical temp. is reached.
    Cooled with nitrogen, instead of water, the plants can be built in arid climates. The “pebbles”, the size of a tennis ball, can be handled safely even when the reactor is in operation ie for inspection.
    Climate change demands we anti nuclear’s reassess our positions. Fear of science is not a position I hold with.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_modular_reactor

    fluff

  5. I have a copy of “Blowin in the Wind” and it is terrifying in the consequences for the people who were scattered with Depleted Uranium and who are being ignored for the terrible health affects they are suffering.

    It has just been revealed that there are at least 2 men from Gulf War 1 that the government has finally agreed are suffering the effects of this hideous material.

    I have said for the past 35 years that we need to leave the stuff in the ground and nothing will ever change my mind.

  6. Since when has the nuclear industry ever cared about climate change?

    Only a person who works for the nuclear industry, a party hack, or someone who believes everything they read or see in the mainstream media would say that climate change “demands we anti nuclear’s reassess our positions”.

  7. I find the lack of interest in proliferation as an issue to be entirely unsurprising, since it’s basically irrelevant. There is plenty enough uranium and other radioactive materials lying around or otherwise accessible for an advanced country to easily get the bomb. If you’re desperate enough, you can get it from seawater. This is less of a challenge than refining the stuff so that it’s able to go boom.

    I think that people who raise the spectre of proliferation are using this as a trojan horse for their bigger concerns, and aren’t being totally honest.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m dead against nuclear power for Australia, but only because it’s far far too expensive and would enrich some people who don’t need the money while dudding the taxpayer. In terms of safety, 50 years of experience proves it to be far safer than coal and a perfectly safe technology (how many people have died in the West from nuclear accidents?), and the mining is no worse than other mining for less useful items such as gold and diamonds.

    If Australia can’t deal with the waste then no one can (and we can – nature does it, we can do it). The three mines policy makes absolutely no logical sense. But nukes for Australia is still a potential major finance scam in the making.

  8. Marrilyn is correct. the only sane path is to leave it in the ground. Using today’s technology a 50km square of solar panels in the ‘red centre’ will produce all the electricity Australia needs – even base load. No fuel costs, no pollution after manufacture.

  9. Australia has large areas of cratonised rocks which would be perfect for siting nuclear reactors on and for storing the waste they generate. This waste could also be stored very safely in the unused mines at Broken Hill. The CSIRO sincrete(?) is a perfectly safe maethod of storing the waste.

    So somewhere between Roxby Downs and Broken Hill would be a good site.

    Whether we should go nuclear would depend on cost, the emissions emitted in mining & refining the ore building & maintaining the plant etc and an honest and thorough report is needed before that can be evaluated.

    I certainly don’t think we should subsidise any private enterprise nuclear power station and this approach would certainly cool the ardor of the nuclear power industry

    Tom
    PS oops, cratons are areas of rock so old that that they have fused into solid shields which means that there will be no earthquakes which might threaten the iuntegrity of a reactor

  10. The front end loaders show up everywhere with amazing dexterity.Red Centre indeed!?And,how many kilometres of wires to fit to the existing grid!?And I suppose all we need now is someone well read on Tesla,which I have been at times although just a bit slack in the sun when building an enormous tower to transmit electricity anywhere in Aus.but,I see in a microcosmic sense this development is happening in related computer tech.from wall sockets!And someone pipes up today mentioning the grid costs 9 $billion to keep going in N.S.W., personally, I think they are not shy in deciding it is all costs,whereas is that really the truth? Bloody accountants and economists are the monkey on our backs endlessly seeking in their science something that isnt scientific.Whats that!?A belief in their bottom lines!?It has been a long time since taxation rules and accounting tricks were given the treatment.First in first out and stay….. permanently out.I studied some accounting at a tech. school I am now more sure from my life experiences accountants are the greatest con artists on earth with their dance partners economists..and that is one reason to steer clear of notions like carbon trading.

  11. Expanding the view somewhat, i must agree first with Phillips view of the con artists and dance patners. Also i wonder if Toms cretin rocks will get a good hearing in descisions.There is so much opportunism in matters that make the way ahead a blurred view.Matters monetry ,political etc.Humans certainly have to clean up their act.We here so much misinformation along with the troubles on the agenda matters get quite confusing.As a point of interest on the barrier reef, i have always thought that the mining damage,silt and poisons from the Fly river in New Guinea would have great bearing on and coincides with the reef damage. Especially considering the east coast current.There was never any mention of it when cane farmers were getting the blame.Also on climate change, our earth travels through space on its axis,It’s very wobbly axis.The north pole was once Near Greenland and at one time in Hudson bay moving to it’s “present” location coincides with the end of the last ice age,give or take a bit.The last 100 years or so have seen the north pole move at a speed rate not ever noted before and at the other end of the field as expected, the south pole is heading towards the Indian ocean at a great rate.{ would all the fat dudes please stay 100 metres apart.} Among the results of this among many other things i would say that continent drift could be on the cards and shifting plates.I’ve always found it fascinating that the Great Dividing Range was once east west not north south.Etc Etc and on and on. Configure human activity into the picture with climate change and one must wonder if old mother earth can do it all herself. Survive that is.Except for words print or penmanship asking for some matters to be addressed there is little any of us can do alone.Damn the con artists and dancing partners.
    The next ice age? When people are screaming for the warmth from uranium. Sorry – none left.Gone to fat beaurocracies and turned into flash cars, bricks and mortar.

  12. Grey Area is on the ball.Which one I am not to sure,but,I have often thought,that if humanity is part of nature,and our evolution isnt a mistake of our own minds making,,then it follows we are still part of nature.Which then leads me to say,all the failing designs of humanity are not.Everyone one of us maybe working to a timetable for future events including the ice ages,humanity suffers,but survives.After all cold temperatures are not necessarily always damaging to humanity.Solar panels would still be useful and in new ways,and coal with its emissions caught at the flue by UCLA research on reticulated organic structures would also be operating differently,and be recycled for something else.Dare say Australian rabbiting lore would come back in new form,and foxes as human guides.A moss burger with the lot thanks!?

  13. Moss burgers, there’s a thought for greens. Spurilina and chlorella have their price restrictions.I have faithed and hoped evolution was no mistake but the depression of a hard unforgiving world is a reallity to me that never leaves with ageing years.Who knows ,we may fluke it.I’ve spent much time on the edge of the deserts and know too well the heat of metal if you place your backside on it.It melts the skin. Around the ironstone flats and eroded opal bearing hills every step is a labour as walking over sun heated ironstone is like being amongst heated steel plates.Such a waste of free energy. Perhaps there is not enough public money involved in it.The bore water out there is mineral rich and reaches the surface above boiling temperatures and holds the heat so well it takes a while to cool. Free steam and energy. Alas no takers.Not even a mention.Would it be utilized with coal or nuclear if we are forced to go that way?A smaller plant and less coal or uranium would be needed with pre boiled water.It looks like we are stuck with the disaster and war fear mongers to light our way or furphy around while things medical and legal make a garden for themselves scratching for every bit of ground to justify their existance and eminance.Do we wait for the dust to settle to see if it all comes out right in the end or is it who dares wins? Today ,who’s to know?

  14. I was just commenting on the location of any possible reactor from a geologists point of view.

    Read my post again, Phillip, I did not advocate that we get a reactor

  15. Concerning the issue of climate change in relation to the way to go, nuclear etc.The facts and figures of fertilising selected patches of ocean to raise the levels of algae’s to absorb carbon dioxide,stacks up.And works.It was put forward by an Aust scientist some years ago and was repeated in a recent tv documentary showing a massive bloom created by putting only half a ton of iron into a sterile patch of ocean.There was argument and conning going on about wind power.All manufacture of the towers ,transport ,assembly etc is done here except for the purchase of the generators which come from Denmark at a very good price.No money was put into windpower because it was deemed not Australian ,the money went to the coal industry.Which viewers were then informed purchased it’s billions of dollars worth of equipment from overseas.It appears our money props up some fat cats a handful of coal workers and community’s {compared to total population}, And many people overseas.Why not cheaper alternatives -pre boiled water sources for one- etc and cheaper electricity to spread the wealth in this so called “commonwealth”?Is that too simple for our protector pollies and legislators. If giant costly nuclear plants are so safe, let them do what they want overseas and sell off a third of our uranium supplies over the years.We only need little plants if at all.Don’t accept life being metered out to you. Especially for the sake of the few.

  16. All too true Grey Areas,but I have a lot of sympathy for coal workers and I still do not think coal as a abundant matter is used appropriately.I am a little surprised however that your observations of heat did not include young bottoms as well,I may have felt that effect over many years,but memory excludes the first experience.Perhaps it was galv roofing iron on the side of the leg at Mildura at eight years of age,or the famous town of Dimboola.I only sort of hope now that coal mines and underground ones in particular are seen as places where a lot of experimentation can take place including energy related one,for I have talked to people who worked in them and the enormous length of passages.Disappointed,as yet no-one has given me a web site with either video or web camera of these places and traveling in and through them as experiences.The same with other existing underground mines…which might make investors,buyers,consumers,and workers happier about these sites,and then perhaps asking what we can do with them later on.The same with open cut mines.Lets not fancy that only solar is the alternative in the sun.And I say again,I have more time for the nuke scientists and their potential as scientists than the reactor related research alone.I heard down Woollongong,SPELLING, there is a coal mine that is below the sea above.If a hole was drilled at surface…….down to the great depths…..Hooray for pub band musician Garrett who is remaining consistent.

  17. ken – good luck to him/them, I reckon. There’s some interesting remarks among the phillip-Grey Areas posts. And, while often forthright, they’re not constantly tearing strips off other commenters.

  18. I pay a great deal of money for the “privelage” of speaking truths and indulging in internet conversation. I have just written out posts four times that have dissapeared off my screen. I have champion german roller canary’s, one,the best in Australia and from what i’ve heard also the better overseas but i have to stay up till 2 o’clock in the bloody morning to record them or converse on the net because of business traffic.Where is the service mr bullshit hope it was better Howard?Give me a refund or i will take it.I am sick of it.If this post gets through to the discussion , i will hopefully catch up with you all later.Though somewhat paranoid because of the murder of my father involved with the whitlam dismissal i assure you that i will speak my piece.Dare me , for your own sake.And perhaps see what Andrew Bartlett is made of.God Save The Queen.

  19. eh!Is Grey Areas talking about dial-up.Yes!I would like to read the murder story,after all the murder that GA. could recount is at least, 32 years old and unless done in front of his eyes,can only be actionable in a legal sense,if,matters of justice are still under investigation.If not,then a death of a citizen has wrongly been accounted for.However,it may not be subject related to these postings,and may need prior scrutiny by the Senator,for some other place and action..which unfortunately for him sometimes… I am sure is very sad and disappointing even whilst trying to achieve something.Take care GA in writing and in your time use.

  20. I get frustrated Phillip, censored in the press and the TV media and no politician will answer any mail.As another Anzac day comes and goes, dressed with often faked and posed photos and happy ending stories courtesy of the AWM and others in CANBERRA ,Thousands of ex servicemen rot in anger and depression, along with their families hidden, shoved and forced into the background.No treatment, no pensioning, some selling homes for medicals and having to provide proof of their injuries when the parliamentary laws of this country that they fought under stated they did’nt have to do that.The laws were dropped after the Whitlam dismissal and politicians powers to intervine in such matters, among much other manourvering.The Australian Govt and it’s politicians have destroyed more lives and managed to kill more Australians than the viet cong and chinese insurgents were ever able to manage.Some ,died more openly and directly than others,many by their own hand, leaving a very clear cut and interesting trail that is so entwined in everyday life for all Australians that if they knew, they would get off their complacent, gutless backsides and do something about it.Many veterans and their family’s lives are in mostly irrepairable damage and everyone turns their heads, they think themselves are ok so stay out of it.Sorry, the oz public are victims too of corruption and deceit and being directly affected every minute of every day to their detriment and that of their children to come.I have enough trouble with friends of Canberra trying to get my Fathers story out to tell his so called countrymen, but will have most of it on a website in the future, if i can find a way.If i could ask you to do yourself and everyone else a favour by asking your Federal member “what happened to army no 11680” and what were some of the home truths about the Whitlam govt dismissal.Please get your answer in writing or at least get it back on this blog.I’d say this is about the time i get censored. again.

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