The Struggle for Power
What we Haven't Been Told and Why!
The real issues behind the uranium and nuclear argument, viewed both internationally and nationally.
Published by E J Dwyer, Surry Hills, 1980
INTRODUCTION TO THE ON-LINE SUMMARY
Since it is increasingly apparent that the science which underpin the demands for immediate and drastic action on carbon emissions is very far from settled, the burning question shifts from the science to the reasons why so much unsettled science has been taken so seriously by so many people. Some clues can be found in a study of the methods which were used to kill nuclear power in Australia. These were documented by the late John Grover.
It is likely that I will only find the time to summarise the section which treats the anti-energy movement although the whole book is very informative and I hope some people will be moved to buy second hand copies which can be obtained from on-line bookshops.
PART ONE – WORLD ENERGY AND ALTERNATIVES
PART TWO – NUCLEAR GENERATION
PART THREE – RADIOACTIVITY AND MUTATIONS
PART FOUR – PERSPECTIVE ON PLUTONIUM
PART FIVE – WASTES AND THEIR DISPOSAL
PART SIX – SAFETY
PART SEVEN – HEALTH AND CANCER
PART EIGHT – PROLIFERATION AND SABOTAGE
PART NINE – THE ANTI-ENERGY MOVEMENT
PART TEN – THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL PEOPLE
PART ELEVEN – IN CONCLUSION
PART NINE – THE ANTI-ENERGY MOVEMENT
How it began with the nuclear bomb test bans – movements in Australia – the “no-growth” attitude – mining, profits and perspective – how are scientists divided? – the three nuclear engineers – the distinguished scientists – the Fox and Parker reports – irresponsible films – lessons from inquiries.
9.1 How it Began.
Fall-out – nuclear test ban – 1961 Bodega Head – Sierra Club – Escalation – Increased sophistication – politico-social – Ralph Nader & Rockefeller – the churches among the first targets – churches avoid facts and accept false dogma – world dissemination – organised anti-nuclear church groups – minority control – political control – motives – violence – “Quaker” teaches Australians civil disobedience – American government supports activists – who is behind it? – international scene 1978-79 – international bureaucracy – manipulating media
The anti-nuclear movement started while American and Russian bomb tests were dispersing tons of plutonium into the atmosphere. Not surprisingly many scientists regarded this as a Bad Thing and their opposition led to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
That was not a problem for the development of nuclear power, however in the 1970s the US created 20,000 government employees dedicated to improving the environment and the nuclear energy industry soon ran into trouble. Urban sites were not favoured and remote sites with adequate water for cooling tended to be located in the dwindling number of unspoiled recreational areas. Concern for the environmental impact of “thermal pollution" provided the rationale for a lot of objections to NP stations, supported by fear campaigns about the dangers of radiation. The “Sierra Club” became an early opponent of NP, possibly the most influential single political-environmental group in the nation due to its wealthy and well-connected membership, its budget was three million dollars in 1977.
Two sensationalized books by Barry Commoner, The Careless Atom and Perils of the Peaceful Atom represented the start of the all-out anti-NP campaign. Dr. John Gofman and a colleague in the radiation and human health program at the Atomic Energy Commission created a sensation with the claim that if the U.S. population were exposed to radiation at the levels considered "acceptable" in federal radiation guidance, approximately 16,000 people would die annually from cancers induced by the radiation exposure. On some occasions they used the figure of 32,000. The claims were demolished by other professionals but they barnstormed across the country generating headlines and their predictions kept turning up over the years in the publications of anti-nuclear activists and the reports of journalists who did not do their homework.
In 1971 Ralph Nader, bankrolled by the Rockefeller network, began to work with a lawyer Anthony Roisman and the “Union of Concerned Scientists” to combine the efforts of environmental groups and public interest lawyers against NP. They worked on several fronts:
Legal action delay projects.
Lobbying Congress and Government agencies.
Propagandising the churches
Advertising directed at the general public
Exaggerated dangers and innuendos of industry incompetence were widely accepted as fact. The industry had no strategy for self-defence, being in the business of NP, not propaganda, and became “an 80 billion dollar underdog”.
“To cut a long story short, thanks to Ralph Nader’s initiative, there exists a well co-ordinated coalition of interest groups in the USA with all the attributes of a major corporation: well planned, influential, with strong political and financial support, well-tested strategies, professional communication expertise and tremendous legal punch. About 600 full-time “environmental lawyers” operated on a budget of at least 45 million dollars in 1977 and about one-third of this was spent purely on energy-stopping.
The major agencies involved in this effort were Consolidated Intervenors, doing legal activities to impede developments; the Union of Concerned Scientists, mostly funded by Dr Henry Kendall of MIT; Business and Professional People for the Public Interest in Washington to front Government committees and inquiries; Friends of the Earth co-ordinating environmental groups and disseminating information by advertising, books and pamphlets; Environmental Action, National Intervenors and The Public Media Centre dealing with publications and presentations.
“The latest political movement is Mobilization for Survival which in mid-1978 was the spearhead of the demonstrations across the USA. It describes itself as a coalition of 250 groups, distributed across the length and breadth of the US”
In addition to the activities that they funded, their received an immense amount of prime time media coverage free of charge, while the NP industry enjoyed no such support.
The role of the churches
“A division of the American National Council of Churches declared plutonium morally dubious and called for a moratorium on its use. This bizarre intrusion of theology into science was explained on the grounds that scientists were “split down the middle” and therefore the theological community should have the casting vote”.
That path was taken on advice from a committee of inquiry of 21 people (selected by the anthropologist Margaret Mead) consisting of 11 who had previously published papers opposing NP and 10 clergymen and lawyers. None of the 21 could claim expertise in the field of nuclear energy or plutonium.
It is claimed that this advice, distributed through the network of churches, impressed a Southern Baptist, President Jimmy Carter and his advisors. The Council of Churches distributed a paper “Ethical Implications of Energy Production and Use” which depicted the threat of nuclear waste in the language that has become familiar in recent times – “the welfare of future generations” and “horrendous” and “catastrophic” dangers despite the fact that wastes had been managed for 30 years without harm to anyone.
Church Anti-Nuclear Ads
According to Grover, in 1978 the political religious group based in New York, City Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC) distributed packages of anti-nuclear materials to churches across the nation:
A pastoral letter
Suggestions for organizing local churches under the anti-NP banner
The CALC coordinators were Rick Boardman and Don Luce (a public supporter of the communist “re-education camps” in Vietnam). CALC’s leaders frequently met with the Vietnamese communists in Paris and Hanoi. CALC described its aims thus:
"What we’re about today is not simply and end to the war in Vietnam but a struggle against American imperialism in just about every corner of the world…and..to help liberate our own nation from its reactionary and exploitative policies."
Grover reported that there did not seem to be any protest at the anti-nuclear prayers and liturgies.
Church propaganda in Australia
The World Council of Churches helped to orchestrate and echo the anti-NP message through churches in Australia (clearly not such an effective way of reaching the masses in Australia due to lower church attendance than the US, but still very influential).
Anti-nuclear propaganda in cartoon form was distributed to NT Aboriginals from the Uniting Church prior to the 1977 elections, followed by an official denial of responsibility, followed in 1978 by the same material, this time with the authority of the Church.
Grover commented wryly that “Those who opposed railways because they would stop cows from giving milk and because human beings could not endure speeds of more than 30 mph were no less sincere”.
Grover noted, on the bright side, that the Quakers in London produced a pamphlet which revealed scientific literacy and good sense.
"We would remind Friends that whether we like it or not we live in a society that relies on technology for the sustenance of life and with world population at its present levels our technology cannot be abandoned without risk of major disaster".
On NP, the pamphlet stated that this form of power, like all others, had to be handled with care but could not be lightly cast aside. That was very temperate language, clearly bending over backwards to avoid the mood of strident urgency that animated the anti-NP pamphlets.
Investigations revealed that even the large anti-NP organizations were in the hands of very few individuals. The Union of Concerned Scientists was controlled by 10 to 20 people, the Environemntal Action group claimed 8000 members but policy was decided by 8 or 10.The Citizens Association for Safe Energy had 2500 addresses on its mailing list but policy was drafted, adopted and circulated by a board of 3. The deliberated proliferation of anti-NP groups was an acknowledged tactic to inflate the apparent level of popular support (see the number of groups in Australia described in Section 9.2).
The same applies to attendance at demonstrations. On May Day 1977 in New Hampshire only 15% of the people arrested at a disruptive march came from that state. The Hiroshima Day demonstrations in 1978 and 1979 were held in Sydney on Saturday and Melbourne on Sunday, with the planes booked out between Sydney and Melbourne to carry protestors. As we speak, “ferals” on welfare roam Australia from one protest to another. I met two of them last week at dinner with a friend. They did not bring wine to the dinner because they joked “Centrelink does not pay an alcohol allowance”. They were en route from sitting in trees in Tasmania (getting a bit chilly?) to a demonstration up north against Harvey Norman furniture that is made from native timber. I didn’t witness this but they told my friend that as long as taxpayers are silly enough to pay them to do what they want to do, they are perfectly happy to keep on doing it.
In 1978 The Economist made a study of activists in high places and reported that the anti-nuclear campaign in Britain was passing out of the hands of apolitical environmentalists into the hand of the radical left. The paradigm case is Greenpeace which has been abandoned in despair by some of the founding fathers.
The scenes of violence that we have seen recently in Greece and London, also at G7 meetings, have precedents in the environmental and anti-NP movement, especially in Germany. In 1977 at Grohnde, Lower Saxony, 15,00 well trained and disciplined anti-nuclears (the leading cadres equipped with metal helmets and gas masks) fought 30 police companies trying to keep them off a construction site. 80 protestors and 237 police were injured, some critically due to the barrage of rocks, jagged metal missiles and burning materials launched from catapults. The attack was rehearsed at a replica of the gates and fences, with water cannon jets and tear gas deployed to mimic the real event.
The Australian press did not report the messy aspect of the outrage but Ralph Nader praised their efforts in his weekly newspaper column in the US.
American Government Support – the debacle of Jimmy Carter
The protest movement started with dedicated volunteers, then became an occupation when funding came from wealthy backers and foundations to pay for professional and fulltime workers. Then it reached the pinnacle of achievement when the taxpayers got to foot the bill as Governments took on board activists to pursue their passions with public funding and the power of the State to back them.
This was first apparent with the killing of the Clinch River fast breeder reactor project by executive order in 1977. A speaker at a conference in 1978 pointed out that the US Administration “had become a card carrying member of the anti-nuclear force”. He stated that President Carter was on board with the movement. “You examine the Carter budget for alternative nuclear cycles. There is all the evidence you need to conclude that no alternative to Clinch River is being seriously considered”.
“Most remarkable of all has been the outcome of a campaign promise by President Carter that he hoped to challenge Ralph Nader for the role of top consumer advocate in the country”.
Many sub-cabinet posts went to former public interest lawyers, consumerists and environmental activists. Fourteen key White House assistants including the President’s chief speechwriter came from the public interest movement. Speechwriters with a gift for the telling turn of phrase can make a great impact on public perceptions. Carter turned out to be especially susceptible to half-baked ideas, as demonstrated by Amory Lovins, a leader of the no-growth movement, who worked for Friends of the Earth in London. Lovins was well known in some circles for a pamphlet that advocated the ‘soft energy path’ for the US, using calculations that overstated the cost of NP by a factor of 2 and understated the cost of solar power by a factor of 10.
"Nevertheless, just twenty hours after meeting with Mr Lovins and without the benefit of consulting with any of the many energy experts available to him, President Carter presented Lovins’ energy calculations verbatim and uncritically in a speech before the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation Conference.”
That is far from the end of the story. Four former anti-NP activists became Assistant Atorneys-General in the Dept of Justice, and others moved into the positions of Assistant Secretaries in Health, Education and Welfare; Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development. “Naderites”. Their follow travelers in the consumer movement also scored some plum positions in the chairs of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Highway Safety Administration, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Who is Behind it?
The following organizations were listed in connection with public agitation urging the US to make unilateral concessions at the US-Soviet Union strategic arms limitations talks. The US Peace Council, the National Council for American-Soviet Friendship, American Friends Service Committee (far left Quakers), Clergy and Laity Concerned, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. All of those organizations worked closely with the World Peace Council and that body spawned Mobilization for Survival as an anti-nuclear arm of the communist "peace" movement. The four slogans of Mobilization for Survival were:
- zero nuclear weapons
- ban nuclear power (even for peaceful purposes)
- stop the arms race
- fund human needs
Further investigation revealed the extent of Foundation funding for environmental groups which shared the anti-nuclear stance of the communist-aligned "front" groups. The Rockefeller group backed Ralph Nader in his activities, and the Ford Foundation supported anti-nuclear environmental groups to the tune of $5.8M over eight years from 1970.
International Scene 1978-79
Grover reported that a 1978 report by Stockton and Janke of the Institute for the Study of Violence on "Nuclear Power: Protest and Violence" might have been regarded as doubtful and alarmist in the recent past but events were moving rapidly enough to provide additional evidence to support their findings. "The key organizations behind the anti-nuclear propaganda drive have at last surfaced through the mire of a hundred groups, many with titles that don't quite relate to what they are doing."
In Grover's opinion the US provided the leadership in personnel, tactics, organization and communications for the worldwide Western anti-nuclear movement. The misinformation that is communicated in other places is an echo of the resources and tactics developed in the US.
Amsterdam was a key centre for outreach from the US. The Institute of Policy Studies (the Washington one) set up the Transnational Institute in Amesterdam which in turn set up agencies in South Africa and the Phillipines. Amazingly, The Australian Solidarity Collective was established in Amsterdam in 1978 in association with the Greenpeace Movement in London. The Collective was presumably transient and references cannot be found on the net. Another offshoot was the Transnational Cooperative, established in Sydney with Laurie Carmichael (Communist Party of Australia) and Tom Uren as the directors.
World Coordinators of Misinformation
The International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace (ICDP) in London appeared to be the anti-nuclear world coordinating link. A major presence was Peggy Duff, also instrumental in establishing Mobilization for Survival. The ICDP handles World Peace Council activities where the parent body wants to remain out of sight.
The ICDP has/had two Australian connections.
The Association for International Cooperation and Disarmament in Sydney in the Sydney CBD.
The Congress for International Cooperation and Disarmament in Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne.
The UN has been penetrated by people dedicated to the anti-nuclear doctrine, as demonstrated by the sabotage of papers that scientists submitted to the UN Environmental Programme conference on nuclear energy at Geneva in November 1978. Over 20 consultants submitted papers in advance and when they arrived in town they found that the conference report had been printed and the conclusions could be read in the local press. The report did not represent the material that was submitted. It was heavily edited with anti-nuclear bias. A running battle ensued with letters from the Chairman of the panel of scientists demanding a re-write. This effort was stonewalled by the Secretariat, led by a Mr El Hinawai, who gave out press releases which continued to misrepresent ;the situation, prompting more letters from the Chair of the panel, to no avail. The message of the scientists did not get officially accepted but Grover reported that an article by Mr Hinawai on the dangers of nuclear waste appeared in the official journal of the International Atomic Energy Agency and was quoted by an anti-nuclear letter writer in an Australian newspaper in 1978. Bad news travels fast and far!
Manipulating the Media
In the US the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations funded "The Scientist's Institute for Public Information" to feed infromation to journalists, sourced from the likes of Barry Commoner and Helen Caldicott. This had so much initial impract that they extended the scope of the exercise by setting up a "Media Resources Centre".
The anti-nuclear UN Envivonment Programme supported the establishment of the "Centre for International Environmental Information" by the UN Association of the US. They approached a wide range of scientists and experts to find if they were prepared to be quoted as experts for contact by the mass media. Thousands of free copies of the Guide to Energy Specialists were printed and distributed to the news media. Among the experts were the usual suspects including Lovins (who briefed Carter) and Helen Caldicott among many others in the anti-nuclear movement.
When the genuine scientists realised what had happened they resigned from the list but the damage was done because they had already given respectability to the publication.
9.2 MOVEMENTS IN AUSTRALIA
Grover printed a list of 26 Australian groups that were prominent in the cause, including Friends of the Earth, Uranium Moratorium, Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Teachers Federation, Doctors for a delay in uranium mining, Shareholders for Social Responsibility, Women Against Nuclear Energy and the World Council of Churches.
He regarded that list as the tip of the iceberg because some of those groups sponsor others which appear to be uncommitted on the issue of nuclear power. Church groups were especially likely to be recruited, as revealed at a March 1979 Aboriginal Land Rights "Teach In" at the University of Sydney. The role of Aboriginal Land Rights as a vehicle to impede the nuclear industry is explained in another section of the book.
"The most remarkable feature of this event was the almost total absence of Aborigines. One participant was told that Aborignines were scared to walk in the streets for fear of abuse or attack by whites". [That would have been news to residents of Surry Hills and Redfern where I lived at the time].
The list of 32 sponsors included the Catholic Missions Office, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, De La Salle Brothers, Little Sisters of Jesus, Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Loreto House, Good Shepherd Sisters, Marcia Langton, Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen's Association, Australian Council of Churches and the National Missionary Council.
The movement officially hit Australia at the Academy of Science conference in Canberra in 1972 which was billed as a discussion of technology and energy planning and turned into an anti-nuclear platform and a forum for low-energy lifestyle advocacy.
The Australian Conservation Foundation took a strong political line and urged newly formed environmental groups to focus on uranium. Journalists played their usual role in reporting the dangers, whether they were real or just perceived.
"Scientifically out of their depth, the Australian media became prone, for a period, to presenting scenarios of nuclear disaster. Two headlines come to mind: 'Radioactive Time Bomb Ticks Away at Port Pirie' and 'Our First Atom Death: Victim of Radiation'. The former, it transpired, referred to the natural remnants of a beach sands mining operation and the latter to the unfortunate death by leukemia of an employee of the Atomic Energy Commission who had not been subjected to radiation in connection with his job ".
Friends of the Earth
The FOE arrived from the US and started work in Adelaide by 1970. They extended nationwide and became the leading distributors of foreign-inspired arguments. Grover reported that they toned down their early vehemence and became more polished and polite in distributing untruths. Especially impressive was a slide show with beautiful outback photos, focused on the Aboriginal way of life and the threat of mining the Kakadu National Park.
FOE moved to Castlereagh Street in Sydney and shared a building with a radical bookshop, Campaign Against Racial Exploitatioin, Chile Committee, Free Zimbabwe [still functioning I hope], No Ties with Apartheid, the Vietnam Society and others.
At the time of writing FOE had been recently upstaged by the Movement Against Uranium Mining (MAUM) and Dr Joseph Camilleri was probably the leading figure in the anti-NP campaign. Grover became aware as he debated at various meetings that there were several groups with overlapping membership and the basic message remained the same while the front group that hosted the meeting, the specific topic and method of approach were adjusted to suit the audience and the shifting focus of the campaign. For example the MUAM was actually an arm of the AIDC.
A particulary interesting group appeared in Sydney in December 1978, called The People's Commission [not the ABC!] with the brief
"...to investigate the role of the media, the educational system and other social processes including State and Federal Government, in withholding information on the arms race and minimising the dangers of nuclear technology. The Commission will also examine the 'language' of TV and journalism, and the countless ways in which it pacifies, manipulates and misrepresents."
In addition to the People's Commission there is an Educational Research Group which "...will cover essentially the same area as the media group, but will deal with the NSW educational system, exploring the knowledge and feelings of children throughout the state on the nuclear issue".
On the PR front, many public libraries were well supplied with anti-nuclear propaganda, to the extent that many people would not have encounered any other material, while being warned against the "lies" of the mining companies.
Using National TV and Radio
Grover wrote that some ABC staff uncritically passed on the mostly negative nuclear news from overseas, and from the local groups when they became active.
"Some of the success of the anti-uranium campaign is due to the manner in which the Commission has been "used" by activists. The misinformation being broadcast almost daily at one time by Radio 2JJ has shown no respect for the truth and has had a major impact on schoolchildren."
According to Grover the ultimate in the anti-uranium campaign has been the literature distributed to schools in NSW in July 1978.
"Two dozen broadsheets destined for schoolchildren were such that many teachers and secondary students were shocked. Much material that had originated in the US was laid out and made to look like a teaching study. With few exceptions the cartoons were on the political level, some skillfully done."
"Videotapes, sound tapes and other audiovisuals were listed, referring to the overseas 'information'. The emotional speeches of pediatrician Helen Caldicott, and those of plausible Paul Ehrlich (with the magnificent voice) featured prominently, with taped sessions from the ABC's 'Broadband', 'City Extra' and other sessions which contributed prominently to the anti-uranium case. Activities sheets followed explaining how the concepts could be best implanted iin children's minds."
Among the materials were powerful and emotional pieces including "Aboriginals" (depicted in chains) and "Heroshima" (easy to depict in a shocking manner).
"Teenagers could be deeply affected by the emotional impact. Many teachers appreciated this but the rules of the NSW Teachers Federation and the open support of the Labor Minister for Education ensured the silence of the majority. One must wonder at the Federation statement concerning 'inundation of pro-uranium propaganda'. Nobody knew of any."
A small grass-roots group of concerned parents and teachers formed to attempt to achieve some professionalism or balance in the system. They pointed out that conscientious or dissenting teachers could be silenced by the Federation rule which permitted suspension from membership and imposition of a fine on teachers acting contrary to any decision of the Council.
At least two schools known to Grover organised a speaker from each side of the argument and some teachers attempted to provide balance. One used her own money in an attempt to inform students of the othe side of the case but the material that she included in the "resource kit" was removed because it was contrary to the union policy and the kit was being distributed to "redress the balance" of propaganda!
The anti-uranium movement captured the new minority party - the Australia Party - formed by dissident Liberals following the businessman Gordon Barton because they could not accept the Liberal line on the Vietenam war. I was involved with the party at the time because it contained a large number of fellow members of the NSW Humanist Society and the Senate candidate was Bridget Gilling, President of the Humanists. One of my friends who was an active and enthusiastic member left the party, enraged and disenchanted by the uranium policy. Grover described a 10-page question and answer document on uranium as "shockingly dishonest" and much the same applied to statements from the other minority party, the Australian Democrats.
Professor H Arndt provided some pungent comments on the anti-nuclear campaign.
"It has to be recognized that the anti-uranium campaign for all its apparent preoccupation with the Hiroshima syndrome is in large part a byproduct of the anti-growth attitudes which have been one of the luxury products of affluence in western countries."
"When anti-uranium campaigners describe their opponents as arguing 'for nuclear energy just to maintain the luxuries of the rich' and plead that, since 'a more equitable distribution of material wealth' must come anyhow, 'uranium to keep up extravagant lifesyles in the rich countnries is only postponing the day of reckoning', when one of Australia's most distinguished poets in her capacity of Patron of the Campaign Against Nuclear Power, denounces the three members of the Fox Commission as 'the final betrayers of our young people's hopes' and their report as signifying that 'Australia has made its choice under the dollar sign', one wonders whether some of them do not positively welcome the uranium issue as another stick with which to belabour the economic values which they, mostly middle class intellectuals, bored and guilt-ridden by affluence, affect to hate and despise".
When Grover accepted an invitation to speak at the University of NSW in 1978 he was suprised to find that this was the first official pro-mining talk on campus. Nobody else had attempted to answer the continuous flow of anti-mining propaganda. He was also surprised to see how well the talk was received by the badge-wearing anti-uranium supporters who were present. Of course the great majority were just going along for the ride, unlike the hard core of the leadership it is quite likely that most of them could have been turned around by sustained discussion and additional information.
[I wonder if Barry O'Farrell was converted by the propaganda that was being distributed at schools and universities during that period?]
"One can only regret the manner in which a few less-informed people in the electronic media have given unswerving and continuous support to well-known anti-nuclear activists in spreading their superstitions".
9.3 THE "NO GROWTH" ATTITUDE
As noted by Heinz Arndt the no-growth attitude is strong among a certain strata of affluent people and it could be heard in all the Western universities.
A Professor of Economics at London University replied:
"Much of the case for the deliberate slowing down of economic growth is based on a series of errors of logic, distortions or ignorance of the facts, and special pleading of various kinds.,,,But the strength of the movement does not depend on the validity of its arguments; it depends on the fact that it happens to appeal simultaneously to various different groups and forces in society - the mass media, scientists, radical youth, the middle classes".
Grover pointed out that mere growth cannot bring abundance for all or alleviate suffering, it just provides the essential conditions for improving the situation of everyone, including those who are most disadvantaged.
"Leisure and abundance cannot be had without growth. To oppose it on grounds that it is aesthetically offensive is to take a callous view of the human condition where life is simple indeed. The prospect offered by the affluent no-growth advocates seems to be an unemployed industrial labour force at the end of the century."
9.4 MINING, PROFITS AND PERSPECTIVE
The anti-NP lobby frequently plays the "greed" and "profits" card under the cover of "morality". That is a standard ploy of the left and it is backed up by the usual suspects in the media. The ABC ran a "4 Corners" program on the Utah Development Company which was active in Australia at the time. The attack focussed on $300M in profits which the company sent overseas. The program did not mention the $640M that the company paid in taxes, royalties and levies to Government, nor the $1,400M ploughed back into Australian development or the PAYE tax paid by employees.
Despite some newspaper criticism of the program the compere won the 1978 prize for that category of TV programs.
Grover pointed out that the miners, farmers, foresters, fishermen and the like are the primary producers of wealth and the things that we need to live. They represent a small and declining proportion of the workforce, perhaps only one in eight of the working population at the time.
"The remaining seven out of eight in our advanced society depend on natural resources. Some have very high-level skills to contribute but just because they are the majority it does not mean that they can go it alone and dismiss the pioneer-type producers without consideration."
Getting back to Utah, the Government was taking 60% of its profits as tax and Grover posed the question, whether people who wanted to nationalise the industry thought that the money would be better used by the Government than by the people who share the profits at present - not just shareholders but everyone else who has pensions or super funds which draw on the profits from a portfolio of investments including the mining compannies (and banks!).
Grover used a figure of seven out of ten Australians being employed by business and industry working for profit. These people and firms produce most of the goods and services that we enjoy. He described it as an old-fashioned fallacy that wages go to workers and profits to businessman because the working man gets a sizeable share of company earnings in various ways:
1. From insurance company and pension fund benefits.
2. From taxes on company earnings paid to Government.
3. From dividends that they own as shares.
4. From the innovations made by risk-taking entrepreneurs that end up improving our lives.
"Those who decry profits harm themselves as well as the rest of the community. In Australia the average standard of living has doubled in 25 years, an achievement based on the profit system [in a framework of law and relative stability in government, until recently]. Progress will continue while there is a recognition and acceptance of the vital role of profits; if not the economy will stagnate and nobody will benefit".
"The condemnation of profits by the no-growth advocates is almost universal...They do not seem to realise that government funds come largely from taxes on profits".
Finally Grover pointed out that the focus on profits in mining obscures the hazards of the industry and the very large amounts of money that have to be sunk in exploration and development of projects that never make a profit. Mining tends to occur in remote locations with the need to develop transport and infrastructure from scratch, plus the need to attract the necessary workforce to the site.
"Mining has to bear the highest risk of all because only about 1 in 1,000 mineral 'shows' turns out to be payable. A few can break just better than even, but there must be some that turn out to be winners to pay for the many expensive failures".
Conservation - True or False?
Grover suggested that many politico-environmentalists are not really true conservationists at all, despite the amount of material that the media receive and recycle about their activities.
"Real conservation is only possible because of the intensive production by miners, farmers and foresters...We must maximise the intensity with which some of the land is used so that other areas may be preserved. This calls for both high capital and high technology, for this is what allows conservation. Low, labour-intensive technology does not. A starving man will always eat the last dodo".
[The point in that para is made by Alan Oxley in his chapter in The Greens where he points out that policies which impede economic development in third world countries will delay the kind of 'conservationist transition' which occurs when people get to a point where they can afford to think beyond their immediate needs. This appears to be analogous to the "demographic transition" which occurs at the level of development when the infant survival rate improves and people plan smaller families.]
Grover pointed out that living conditions improved over the last 150 years to an exent that exceeds the expectations of the most optimistic utopians. At the same time, freedom expanded, at least in the Western democracies, even to the extent of allowing people raise their voices against the system that provides the comforts and freedoms that we all enjoy. Especially in the universities of the nation.
"The numbers of voices have been increasing, young voices mostly from afflulent homes. They have been talked into thinking that profits don't matter by those whose salarlies have been paid from taxes on someone's profits."
"For a decade men have argued for better wages and conditions for themselves and without thought of others less fortunate. Statutory additions to wages and salaries in Australia have increased from 12% to nearly 30% in 7 years. The trade union movement has fought for high wages for unskilled young people and now industry finds it unproductive to employ them on the terms laid down by Law."
The result was youth unemploiyment in the order of 25%.
He also noted the actions which reduced the profitability and productivity of the mining industry resulting in the withdrawal of many oil and mineral exploration companies during 1973/74.
"Under the umbrella of the false statement of '62% foreign ownership', Australian companies went to the wall and small mines by the dozen closed down around Australia. Appeals to the Government fell on deaf ears...Unemployment figures began to rise from 1973".
The lesson is that too much Government interference kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. Too many intellectuals do not see that the alternative to the free enterprise system with minimum intererence is inefficient and unproductive. "Affluent intellectuals hide this fact for they can see jobs for themselves in big Government."
9.5 HOW ARE SCIENTISTS DIVIDED?
The anti-nuke movement produced a petition with 2,300 scientists endorsing the no-uranium doctrine. That was used to press the case that the scientific community was "sharply divided" on the issue, an awkward situation for ordinary people who lack the time, expertise and inclination to get to the bottom of disagreements between experts.
The 2,300 represent a small proportion of the 770,000 physical and life scientists in the US. They were scarcely represented in the professions of hard science and engineering where the real expertise is located (see the three nucler engineers). The idea that scientists were divided was a furphy. Scientists can be found to support Creation Science but this does not usually enhance their scientific reputation.
9.6 WHAT ABOUT THE THREE NUCLEAR ENGINEERS?
Three engineers resigned from General Electric and became members of the anti-nuclear para-religious movement "Creative Initiative Foundation". The premiese is that God did not make plutonium so it must be evil.
A US Senate inquiry found that these men had nothing to contribute at the techical level. They contributed to the PR of the movement and one came to Australia for that purpose in 1976. After their novelty value was spent they faded into obscurity.
9.7 WHAT ABOUT THE DISTINGUISHED SCIENTISTS?
Some distinguished scientists, even Nobel prizewinners joined the anti-nuclear cause but their intellectual contribution did not lift the credibility of the cause. Still they were good for PR and stories written by journalists who neglected to research the topic.
A distinguished scientist in the appropriate field wrote regarding Paul Ehrlich's 27 incorrect statements "He doesn't want a dialogue. He just wants to sing the same song.
Ehrlich appeared in Australia at a "nuclear health" seminar at the University of Sydney in 1977, chaired by Professor Charles Kerr (of community health). For some strange reason no speakers with contrary views were programmed. Very strange, it is only 50 or maybe 100 yards from Physics to Community Medicine on the campus!
Negative views by Kerr were well reported in the press without mention of the refutation of his arguments at the meeting. He also appeared on TV with Helen Caldicott and appeared to agree with her position (if he was allowed to get a word in).
In 1980 he was reported in the world media regarding his testimony at an inquiry in Canada. In the press reports, it appeared that the Rum Jungle mine tailings breach was some form of "disaster". Grover could not believe that this colossal untruth was correctly attributed to Kerr, but still the media release came through with that impression.
Another disitinguished opponent came to Australia in 1979. He was generously reported in the press under headlines like "Scrap Nuclear Power says A-plant Designer". His Nobel was in plasma physics in the high atmosphere, he had never been involved with A-plants and his objection to nuclear energy dated from 1967 when he went public with bitter complaints that the Government was under-funding his own work in favour of nuclear energy research.
9.8 THE FOX AND PARKER REPORTS
First a word about the British Windscale Inquiry in 1977 conducted by Justice Parker. This examined a proposal to build a plant on the Cumbrian coast to reprocess oxide fuel from thermal nuclear reactors.
Evidence was taken under oath and witnesses were subjected to cross examination by barristers. In addition the evidence was analysed by experts. The inquiry finished in 100 days [compare this with the Ranger inquiry]. "It ended with Mr Justice Parker giving 'unequivocal advice' that he facility should be built without delay to 'obviate a storage and disposal problem'."
One of the exhibits was a film called Caging the Dragon dealing with safety at Windscale. Shots of the site are followed by film of a man who had suffered server radiation burns, followed by a reference to a fire at Windscale and then a sequence of huge flames emerging from the top of a tower.
Under cross examination the film-maker informed Justice Parker that the pictures of the "radiation victim" had been taken from an accident in the US and the flames were from a flare stack at a coke works in Sheffield.
Justice Parker commented that "The ordinary viewer would understand the sequence to be pictures of what had happened at Windscale and that the repetition of the pictures would be taken as a reminder that the fire depicted there could happen again. As to the pictures of the radiation victim, I remain of the opinion that viewers would take the pictures to represent a victim of a Windscale accident. The visual impression is so strong that it might not be removed by an explanation".
His point was that the emotional reaction against nuclear power could persist even after it was explained that the sequence was faked.
Getting back to the Australian reports on the Ranger Environmental Inquiry concerning allegations of dangerous leaks at the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory. The report, known as the Ranger or Fox reports was quoted by all parties, leaving the public confused about the outcome. The Inquiry heard but did not critically evaluate the large bulk of environmental impact studies compiled by the mining companies and the objectors. The three Commissioners were not experts in the field and gave equal weight to informed evidence and unchecked evidence from uninformed people.
The Commissioners made reference to excessively optimistic scenarios painted by experts in the mining companies and referred to the "distinguished nuclear scientists who are flatly opposed to the further development of nuclear energy [the members of the Creative Initiative Foundation?] and present facts and views opposed to others of equal eminence". In the absence of cross examination and expert advice the Commissioners were not in a position to say any such thing.
Nine years and four governments later the Ranger had permission to proceed. This compares unfavourably with the Windscale Report and another comprehensive public report relesed in Canada in 1978 which only caused a delay of 18 months.
9.9 IRRESPONSIBLE FILMS
Deliberately false news items and anti-nuclear films can have a powerful impact, and the feeling remains even when the audience knows in the rational part of their brains that the evidence is faked, as noted by Justice Parker in his gloss on the Caging the Dragon film which purported to represent the hazards at the Windscale power station.
Many sensationalized dramas about nuclear alerts have been screened, some of them very well done, high quality products of the entertainment industry and most of them simply playing for dollars. But some involving left-liberals like Jane Fonda delibiberately advance the anti-growth agenda, with the profits directed to other anti-growth activities.
Quoting "Hanoi Jane" Fonda:
"More and more movies are going to be anti-corporate...Syndrome will be coming out in a climate that is tilting to anti-nuclear, and I think its going to have a very heavy effect. But the movie is about more than the nuclear thing. It's the whole 'Corporations put greed ahead of human values and safety' message."
THERE IS MORE GOOD MATERIAL, BUT I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO MORE.