India Radiating, Australia Disposing? Nuclear Waste and Indigenous Resistance

Author(s): 

Paul Giffard-Foret

 

Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia (JEASA), Vol.8 No.2, 2017.

 

Paul Giffard-Foret

India Radiating, Australia Disposing? Nuclear Waste and Indigenous Resistance

 

Abstract: This article deals with an aspect of the nuclear fuel cycle, namely nuclear waste, by examining a recent proposal by the South Australian government to host an international high-level nuclear waste underground permanent repository in its "desert" outback region. The rub, though, is that the outback is no desert but has been the ancestral home of Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years and continues to be so, despite the disruptive effects of British colonialism. The article interrogates India's stake in the proposal and the revival of Australia's pro-nuclear lobby. In 2007, the Australian Liberal Party "unanimously endorsed a resolution supporting the establishment of a foreign nuclear waste dump ... in the geotechnically stable and remote areas that Australia has to offer" (Green, "Why Australia"). Australia, one of the world's main uranium suppliers, and India's fast-growing economy, with its emerging nuclear energy, uranium-hungry policy, are bound to engage with one another. But this would mean forgetting about a long history of antinuclear indigenous resistance on both sides of the Indian Ocean, demanding the recognition of native land rights and an end to "radioactive racism."

 

Keywords: Indigenous rights; antinuclear resistance; nuclear waste management; Australia-India relations

 

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Copyright © Paul Giffard-Foret 2017. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.

 

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