Aug 172007

Roll up! Roll up!
You want uranium? Well, buddy….do we have a deal for you!

One wonders just who else is in line for a slice of Australias uranium pie? Judas Priest, first it’s India, a non-signatory to the NNPT and nuclear-armed, known sabre rattler. Now it’s Russia. Yes, she’s a signatory to the NNPT, but seriously, what import does that really have? Russia defies the UN security council, of which she’s a member, selling civilian nuclear technology to Iran and not sponsoring international sanctions. Not that I think Iran having civilian nuclear technology is a bad thing, but on principal, Russia doesn’t exhibit any form of consensus in the UN community on nuclear issues, obviously.
Then there’s the issue of her own nuclear arsenal, most of which is aged, some decrepit. She cannot adequately keep track of highly enriched nuclear fuel, of the very type which weapons are created from. She still maintains a stockpile in excess of 16,000 nuclear warheads in either active or inactive states. Russia has the largest stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material on the face of the planet with only 50% said to be secured to IAEA standards. Frightening examples of real circumstances of stolen or misappropriated nuclear material from Russian facilities turning up all over Europe. Record keeping following the fall of the old Soviet empire is known to be abysmal, and while some of the ‘missing’ material and weaponry may have simply been dismantled and stored, without clear and p[recise records saying so, how can anyone know for certain that material hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands?
The manager of Zarechny, a Russian centre for production of electronic components for nuclear weapons north of the Volga River and near the Kazakhstan border, is quoted as saying in 1995….

“the lack of physical protection is the biggest problem faced by all the closed cities. The previous system was based on regulations and ordinances, which either are no longer in place or are not effective, and upon military discipline and a sense of responsibility that no longer exists.”

and this is an environment we’re quite happy to sell uranium into?
This is yet another example of a conservative, capitalistic government seeking only to satisfy business interests interested in making money despite the attendant risks. One wonders how M’lud ‘Dolly’ Downer plans to justify selling uranium to Russia while claiming shrilly that Iran poses an unacceptable threat with it’s civilian nuclear program. On racist, anti-muslim grounds I suppose. What other grounds could there possibly be?
Instead of selling off our valuable, and in the case of uranium, potentially lethal resources to whomever wants to bid highest, as the worlds largest repository of an element which holds so much promise and so much deadly potential at the same instance, Australia should be driving the reform process of the NNPT. Instead, we’re allowing the existing nuclear nations to determine the future of the nuclear industry and not one……not one single member of the nuclear club stands on valid grounds for doing so. We’re a weak, spineless nation and I for one am thoroughly disgusted in our current elected representatives.

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