Morrison makes soothing noises about nuclear non-proliferation, but what of future governments?

Helen Caldicott, Sydney Morning Herald, September 16, 2021

In 1971, radioactive isotopes were found in the Adelaide water supply having emanated from the French atmospheric tests being conducted on the Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. As the Australian people learnt about the dangers posed by these tests, they rose up. Thousands marched in city streets, and entire pages of letters to the editor were published about the “bloody French”. So powerful was this outcry that prime minister Whitlam took France to the International Court of Justice, which ruled the tests were illegal.

Some years later Australia decided to mine uranium. In 1977, the ACTU passed a resolution to neither mine, transport nor export uranium – which stood until Bob Hawke introduced the three -mines policy.

Forty years later, where do we stand? Suddenly, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces that Australia will, with the assistance of Britain and the US, build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide. As opposed to the 1970s and 80s, our democracy is now relatively uninformed about the implications of all things nuclear, including these submarines.

US nuclear submarines are powered with highly enriched Uranium 235, which can be used as fuel for nuclear weapons and thus poses a serious potential global proliferation problem. Although Scott Morrison makes soothing noises about AUKUS and proliferation, we must look years, and indeed decades, ahead. Future Australian governments may feel free to act differently. Questions must be asked:

1. Will Australia enrich the uranium for the submarines, a process that requires huge amounts of electricity in a time of acute global warming?

2. Will the uranium be mined here?

3. How many subs are to be built?

4. Where will they berth? And how will the waste be dealt with?

5. Where will they be deployed? And for what purpose? The US already deploys 18 Trident Subs, each armed with 196 nuclear weapons – three times the killing power of the threshold for nuclear winter.

It has been estimated that the US spent $14 trillion on wars since September 11, half of which was allocated to weapons firms, namely Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics, plus logistic firms, private security contractors and other corporate interests.

So influential are these companies now in Australia that they have covered Canberra International airport with huge posters advertising their lethal wares and their buildings have proliferated into Canberra itself.

But now that the Afghan war has finished, they need a new money spinner, and China fits the bill. Why is China now being positioned as a global threat? Yes, it has built some air bases on islands in the Pacific. But the US has over 800 military bases in 80 countries And, yes, belt and road initiative means that it is broadening its influence throughout the world – as the US has done for the best part of the 20th and now the 21st centuries.

This should not be a competition between rival powerful countries. Now is the time to realise that unless we move to global cooperation, this new provocative strategy could easily lead to nuclear war – as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists predicted this year when they placed the doomsday clock at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been in this unstable nuclear armed world.

Originally published:


4 thoughts on “Morrison makes soothing noises about nuclear non-proliferation, but what of future governments?”

  1. I was covered in Uranium tailings from the TSF at Ranger mine NT Australia, all covered up RIO TINTO and ERA. I’m not well, but cant even get workers comp because RIO TINTO and ERA denigh it ever happened. I cant find a doctor to treat me for CRI , Cutaneous Radiation Injury

  2. Did the USA declare war on the world ,unofficially, after the bombing of two cities in Japan? The radiation is still killing people. The study of the warmongers in 1930s Japan may introduce more useful questions about human nature. Again, should there be compensation for all the countries of the world that still suffer today from all of the experimental nuclear bombing expts in the 1960s including the apopolyptic Tsar bomb? Can you really use nuclear weapons on another country when it affects peoples of all countries? There is a virtual declaration of war on the world! And who would do it? And who knows them well enough to not allow it to happen? If they use them there is no counterplay. It is over. The rest of the world, in its entirety may have the right to assassinate him and declaring him an arch criminal for attacking the world via the nuclear damage and collateral costs. And yet at another level did the radioactive sheepfarmer get compensation from Chernobyl. In fact were are the insurance issues around radiation. Can any finance group really cover a country plastered with radioactive pollution due to disasterous energy policies, inevitable human error and the hubris around controlling nature. Whoever presses the nuclear button is a war criminal with a Fatwah because they have declared war on the unborn for centuries ahead. Because they have destroyed life and the very nature of being. Global murder or is it suicide? Let the button pushers know each other? Which one is the total psychopath and as for the other one has he got a titter of wit? “We will only use nuetron bombs” will lead to Tsar bombs! Solution!?!?:Ukraine is given internationally agreed neutral status aka 1950s Austria. It can join the EEC. It is federated with guaranteed minority rights statii. The rebirth of the Ukraine drives the birth of a Eurasian economic giant. Get the finger off the button and develop credible, strategic and political policies.

  3. Dr. Helen Caldicott: BBC is now promoting nuclear desalination plants. So I guess it’s “Atoms for Peace” all over again! What could go wrong? It’s all so convenient. We just need someone to mine the uranium and refine it, etc. The deaths that are inevitable are for the greater good and in fact promote evolution! RadioEugenics is Progressive.

    1. The rule of fundamental justice would be if you dig it up you put it back and block it up. If it is away leave it away but then which countries’ uranium has a safe return to route ?Australia.!!… a big continentry so it can take the hit but reflect escaping Uranium particles when blitzed by the Sun photons become Polonium now research that impact … your real eco solution is solar desalination get started

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