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Nuclear News - Nuclear Monitor #869 - 28 November 2018

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Jim Green

Don't dump on South Australia rally

On Saturday November 3, about 1,000 people gathered at Parliament House in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia (SA), for the 'Don't Dump on SA – We Still Say No to Nuclear Waste' rally.

Plans to turn SA into the world's nuclear waste dump were defeated in 2016 but the state is being targeted for a national nuclear waste dump by the conservative federal Coalition government.

Millions have been spent bribing local communities and tens of millions more are promised to the selected site ‒ either in the Flinders Ranges or farming land near Kimba in the Eyre Peninsula.

The rally was held to send a clear message to the Federal Government to abandon the current abysmal site selection process and to the SA government to uphold state legislation that makes radioactive waste facilities illegal.

People travelled from the affected communities of Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges to join other South Australians concerned about the issue for a vibrant and colourful event of speakers and performers.

Eyre Peninsula resident Anna Taylor asked the crowd: "Why would you put radioactive waste in the middle of our food bowl when only 4% of our country is productive land?"

Adnyamathanha man Dwayne Coulthard said: "This process by the Federal Government is cultural genocide. We have had enough of being ignored. No radioactive waste dump on Adnyamathanha country in the Flinders Ranges. No waste dump in Kimba."

Dr Margie Beavis from the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) dispelled government scare-mongering linking the practice of nuclear medicine to its dump plans. Nuclear medicine has not been hindered by the absence of a national dump nor will it be helped by the establishment of a dump.

President of SA Unions Jamie Newlyn said: "Minister Canavan came out recently and identified Whyalla, Port Pirie and Port Lincoln as areas where they could bring in nuclear waste. Those port communities in that logistics chain were all stunned by that announcement. The mayors of all of those communities are surprised that the announcement was made without any consultation."

"We're talking about this toxic, horrible nuclear waste coming through ports and across supply chains, across our boat links, across our highways and through our ports, that then it has to travel hours and hours by road or rail to a final destination, and those communities don't get a say either? That is a disgrace," Newlyn said.

A Friends of the Earth speaker noted that the plan to turn SA into the world's nuclear waste dump is still being promoted even though it lost support from major political parties in 2016. Two recent reports have promoted the plan to turn SA into the world's nuclear waste dump: one from a far-right politician and the other from 'ecomodernist' Ben Heard. Nuclear dumpsters aim to turn the SA into Australia's nuclear waste dump as a stepping stone to turning the state into the world's dump.

Other speakers included state Labor Party MP Eddie Hughes and federal Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

‒ Mara Bonacci, SA Conservation Council

"Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk" – the destiny and outreach of an Austrian pirate comic

Heinz Stockinger writes:

It is one of the most original, most cunning creations by the antinuclear movement: Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk, a pirate compilation of pictures taken from a dozen odd of existing editions of the French comic, with a new story told in the speech bubbles. While the Vienna street paper Augustin managed to publish an interview with the pirate author in 2006, he has remained anonymous even 40 years after the November 1978 referendum on Austria's nuclear power plant at Zwentendorf, 35 kilometres west of Vienna.

In the run-up to the 40th anniversary of this historic event this year, the Salzburg Platform Against Nuclear Hazards (PLAGE) has produced an exhibition titled Asterix and the Nuclear Power Plant – the destiny and outreach of an Austrian pirate comic.

The merits of this peculiar Asterix version are three-fold: Not only did it provide basic information (on radioactivity, safety, waste, lack of democratic decision-making etc.), but it showed people actually involved in action, thus encouraging readers to act. Thirdly, the amusing form of presentation afforded comic relief in a tense and conflict-prone public debate. Mr Uderzo and the German publishers were not amused, though. (Co-author Goscinny had died in 1977.) Complaints on copyright grounds were filed in Austria, as well as in Germany where the pirate comic had almost immediately taken on. (I remember donating 1,000 shillings – Austria's currency at the time – when two activists were fined 150,000 shillings for having sold copies at a street information stand in Vienna, some time after the 1978 referendum.)

It is this story of success and of prosecution that is told in parts 1 and 2 of PLAGE's Asterix exhibition. Its core is composed of selected scenes in which decisive moments of the struggle are called forth, or popular slogans put in the mouth of Asterix and Obelix and other figures, or on the banners they are carrying, often with a self-ironical note. Besides comments on those events and slogans, information is added on the political context, on some nuclear technical terms etc. Part 4 recalls how the comic was produced with the tools of pre-cut-and-paste times. In part 5, a quiz rounds off this pirate comic's journey from Austria to Spain and even Euskadi, via the Netherlands and other countries.

PLAGE has 'unofficially' presented the Asterix exhibition at this year's Nuclear-Free Future Award ceremony in the Great Hall of Salzburg University. It will be officially launched to the Salzburg media on December 15th.

P.S,: Inspiration for this exhibition came from ... the Nuclear Monitor! In autumn 2017, it announced that the Laka Foundation, Amsterdam, was preparing an exhibition of original material and documentation on a comic named Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk and on how it had spread to other countries, an adventure completely unknown in Austria. That announcement immediately triggered the idea of an exhibition for the Austrian public, to be first presented on the 40th anniversary of the Zwentendorf referendum. An exhibition coming on 20 roll-up posters, well transportable, ready for use in a broad variety of educational and cultural facilities, and even on squares in town and the like. Without the Laka Foundation's original material, the PLAGE exhibition would not have been possible.

More information:

Dirk H. R. Spennemann, Oct 2015, 'Asterix und das Atomkraftwerk. Bibliographic Forensics of a German Underground Comic', Stichting Laka: Amsterdam,