URANIUM: DIRTY INDUSTRY


Uranium export is the first step to war

* Helen Caldicott
* July 18, 2009

Currently, Russia and America possess 97 per cent of the 23,000 to 26,000 nuclear weapons in the global arsenal. It is therefore imperative that these nuclear superpowers take the lead in nuclear disarmament; otherwise they will have no moral authority to preach to or police other countries about their nuclear arsenals.

The agreement also does not address the proposed enlargement of NATO to the borders of Russia, nor does it tackle the US missile defence systems slated to be deployed in Poland and Czechoslovakia, countries that once were in the Soviet orbit. The Russians are understandably annoyed about these moves and if these problems are not resolved it will be difficult for Obama to coax Russia to co-operate.

Another outstanding and irrational aspect of the nuclear nightmare, which directly promotes lateral proliferation of nuclear weapons, is rarely addressed by national leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Article IV of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty states that all countries have the inalienable right to obtain technology to generate nuclear power and electricity, even as Article VI specifies that nuclear armed nations will disarm as soon as possible. Clearly these two articles contradict each other. Only two elements, uranium and plutonium, can provide the fissionable fuel for nuclear weapons.

It logically follows that any country with a uranium enrichment facility for nuclear power generation allowed under Article IV can also produce weapons-grade uranium, while any country with a 1000-megawatt nuclear power plant can manufacture up to 250 kilograms of plutonium each year — theoretically enough to produce 50 bombs.

Because the radioactive life of plutonium is more than 250,000 years and the life of uranium is measured in billions of years, any country powered by nuclear electricity will have the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons over aeons of time.

It is unfathomable that intelligent leaders and the scientists who are employed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which simultaneously actively promotes nuclear power while policing and preventing the attainment of nuclear weapons, do not understand the outstanding fallacies and contradictions inherent in the treaty. The IAEA admits that it is understaffed, underfunded and its inspection of reactors leaves much to be desired.

Australia in particular has a unique responsibility as it owns 40 per cent of the world's richest uranium. Apart from the nuclear weapons proliferation problem inherent in uranium export, massive quantities of nuclear waste have and are being produced from our uranium, which over time will induce epidemics of cancer and genetic disease.

Export of uranium ore is therefore the epitome of immorality both from a public health perspective and because it could be responsible down the line for triggering a nuclear holocaust. . . . . . . . . . . .CANADA,AUSTRALIA AND KAZAKSTAN ARE THE MAJOR PRODUCERS OF URANIUM IN THE WORLD......PLEASE STOP THIS DIRTY DESTRUCTIVE INDUSTRY BEFORE IT DESTROYS THE PLANET.

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