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Sydney streets to become nuclear battlefield

Pro-nuclear activists from the group Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy will create waves when they take part in Walk Against Warming this Sunday, August 15.

Friends of the Earth campaigner, Dr Jim Green, said his association wasn’t concerned about the rival activists, but will be there to remind people that nuclear power is not solution to climate change.

In a post hosted on, blog of Adelaide University Environment Institute’s director, Professor Barry Brook, pro-nuclear power activists said that participating in Walk Against Warming will provide a chance to prove to the public that nuclear power is well-placed to mitigate climate change.

“We must defeat the forces which obstruct real climate change,” Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy said in a statement.

Dr Green argues that nuclear power won’t address climate change ultimately and that its development could lead to the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

“The big problem is that nuclear power is the only energy source directly connected to the proliferation of nuclear weapons; the most recent example came from North Korea,” Dr Green said.

“A regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan using less than 0.3 percent of the current global arsenal would produce catastrophic climate changes, the very same changes we are trying to avoid now,” he said.

Dr Green said that more research and resources could be invested in the development of new technologies for energy efficiency and conservation, as well increasing the use of clean energy.

“If we build 12 [nuclear] reactors in Australia to substitute a third of the coal power plants, we’ll be able to reduce emissions only by eight per cent; we should instead replace coal with clean energy options, like solar, wind, wave and tide energy,” he said.

In the article “Nuclear Power-Yes Please,” hosted on his blog, Professor Brook includes a list of the most common objections to nuclear power, among which there are indeed the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the clean-energy alternatives.

He replies that firstly there’s no historic proof that expanding commercial nuclear power would result in the risk of spreading nuclear weapons, and secondly that the world in which we live will continue to demand energy, more than the renewable sources can offer.

“The products of modern ‘dry’ fuel recycling in fast reactors cannot be used for bombs. Indeed, burning plutonium in fast reactors takes this material permanently out of circulation, and is the most practical disposal mechanism imaginable,” he said.

“There is no single solution, or “silver bullet”, for solving the energy and climate crises, but there are bullets, and they’re made of uranium and thorium, the fuels needed for nuclear plants,” he said in a statement.

But from the anti-nuclear front, Dr Green said that although some limitations of the renewable energies are to be taken into account there are still valuable alternatives to nuclear.

“It is certainly a real problem the one Professor Brook has identified, energy and electricity demands are growing, but gas can be used as an intermediate option,” he said.

The Walk Against Warming will start at 12.00pm on Sunday August 15th from Belmore Park.

Last year it was attended by nearly 90 000 environmentalists in all the capital cities of the country.

This year Sydney City Council estimates that between 15 000-30 000 people will attend the event.

By Marina Freri