Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Should we go nuclear?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Socialist Party has argued consistently for greater resources into alternative energy sources such as wind power, wave, solar, biomass, hydrogen fuel cells and geothermal. A socialist society, controlling the wealth currently wasted by the capitalism, would be able to finance the necessary investment.

One of the main issues facing society is the gradual reduction in the availability of fossil fuels. Obviously if they were not wasted on military aggression and by environmentally-unfriendly industries we would not be in such a mess. Nevertheless even with the best methods in the world, the crisis would merely be put off somewhat.

Today, capitalists and capitalist governments argue instead for a new look again at nuclear power. They ignore the safety concerns which were exposed at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Sellafield.

They also ignore basic facts such as those Greenpeace outlined recently: “even if nuclear power output was doubled by 2050 it would still only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% – less than one-tenth of the reductions needed to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

The Federal government is ignoring public opinion (latest polls show 66% opposing new uranium mines) and is pushing ahead for an expansion of this industry, the bedrock of nuclear power (and weapons). They are keen to get their share of growing Chinese demand for uranium. The Labor Party has long had a 3-mines only policy which came out of a rotten compromise on the question in the early 1980s. This untenable policy is like a person deciding to only smoke 3 cigarettes a day.

As usual, under pressure from the Government and the bosses, the ALP is about to retreat from this limited opposition or control of uranium mining with only half-hearted opposition from sections of the parliamentary left. The right wing Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) has won over to this retreat by being promised 100% coverage of new mines, cutting out the more militant Construction union (CFMEU)! People of principal the AWU leaders are clearly not.

We can expect no help from the ALP in the fight against uranium mining and nuclear power. A rebuilding of the anti-nuclear movement is necessary and is a task that a future new workers’ party could put on the political agenda.

By Socialist Party reporters


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