Nuclear waste dump in ‘the middle of nowhere’ – Tennant Creek

If the vitriolic anti-bush comments in relation to the live export ban didn’t convince rural Australians that there is a sizeable slab of urban Australia who despise them (though urban residents rely on rural residents for food & export income), then the recent online forum comments regarding the planned nuclear waste dump near Tennant Creek, surely will.  Discussions on the merits of the Muckaty station nuclear waste dump has also given voice to the racists who imply aboriginal people aren’t smart enough to figure out for themselves that nuclear waste isn’t something they want in their backyard, at any price.

Reading from the top down, nearly every second forum comment reads like a list of anti-bush sentiment by inner city residents.  Since the forum has closed,  here’s a selection, with comments added:

From someone who disparages the idea that an outback nuclear dump isn’t a good idea:  “Currently this waste is being stored in suburbia. If it isn’t safe to store in the outback in isolation in a specially built facility, how come it has been stored in Australia’s larges city for decades?”  If it has been ‘safely stored’ in suburbia for decades and it poses no threat, then the blindingly obvious question is:  why bother moving it all the way to Tennant Creek, why not leave it exactly where it is, close to the source of creation?

“In the middle of nowhere is the only place for nuclear dumps, plus geological factors I presume.”  Thank you so much for describing inland Australia as ‘nowhere’, that’s just delightful.  Descriptions such as ‘in the middle of nowhere’ are only ever made by city-born Australians who think their throats are cut if they’re more than 30 minutes drive from the nearest patisserie selling baguettes instead of bread rolls and that ‘out west’ means Parramatta or Ipswich.  To those who were born in the bush, cities are the most polluted places on earth and places of least significance.  Remote Australia is the most pristine environment on the continent so it beggars belief that it is deemed a great idea to turn it into a dumping ground for the world’s most deadly, long-term dangerous, waste.  If you wanted to store nuclear waste in the part of Australia that is already the most polluted and of the least environmental significance, you’d leave it in the heart of Sydney.

“Dude. Your cause is not trendy any more. There’s too much scientific argument now for cleaner nuclear power production….  It is also irresponsible to use simplistic emotive bullshit terms like “dump”.”  Dude?  Trendy?  Yet ‘dump’ is not an acceptable term to use because it is ’emotive’?  And there’s plenty of scientific argument against nuclear power.  Germany is decommissioning nuclear power plants, and Japan will obviously be having a re-think.   Like polyester shirts, nuclear power was developed in relatively recent times and is on the way out already.  For good reasons.  Nuclear power will only be 100% safe when mother nature is 100% predictable and human beings are 100% perfect.  Doesn’t look like either of things will happen any time soon.

And:  “This is largely a case of NIMBY.”  But the writer didn’t volunteer to have it stored in their own backyard.  How utterly predictable (NITBYE – i.e. ‘not in their backyard either’).  

“The most suitable land is isolated and not actively used, and just about all land of that type is claimed by some Aboriginal group. And what happens when for each and every proposed site a bunch of Greenies go and scaremonger the traditional owners into opposing the plan? And what do you think would happen to the traditional owners who did support it if their identity was revealed? It could be argued that the safest place, with regard to security, is in an area of high population where it is not a case of ‘out of sight and out of mind’ – rather there are thousands of local residents keeping a constant eye on the safe and secure management of the nuclear waste dump.  Rather than in an isolated area where mismanagement cover-up would be all too easy. Scrutiny by the general public is far more secure than relying on honest management in the hands of a few.  Regarding ‘not actively used’ and ‘just about all land of that type is claimed by some aboriginal group’ – by ‘unused’ I gather the writer means there’s no houses, roads, shops or vineyards.  I presume this writer would not approve of any kind of park (from riverside fringes to botanic gardens up to national parks and wilderness areas measuring thousands of square kilometres), and clearly they don’t recognise extensive cattle grazing as a ‘use’ either, let alone recognise that pristine, remote regions are of significant environmental value, the native plants and animals are worth preserving and that traditional owner residence is actually a ‘use’ as well.  As for:  “what do you think would happen to the traditional owners who did support it if their identity was revealed?” – of course the aboriginal community concerned know exactly who is for and who is against the Muckaty Station nuclear waste dump.  To suggest people have been able to keep their views secret merely indicates the writer’s ignorance of remote aboriginal communities.

All-in-all a most depressing topic – to me the continuing suggestion that remote Australia is a great place for nuclear waste, sums up what Australians who believe it is a good idea, think of rural Australians, both white and black.

The fact that the Muckaty station nuclear waste dump is being promoted by the Australian Labor Party, sums up how little they care for the minority groups who are the least well off in our society.  So much for being a party for ‘workers’ and ‘battlers’.  More like a city-based old boy’s club.

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