Further to my recent post on whether or not Australia should further 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.