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The reason Australia doesn't have nuclear power: the workers fought back

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What do Clive Palmer, Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi, Barnaby Joyce, Mark Latham, Jim Molan, Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, and David Leyonhjelm have in common?

No doubt many answers will come to to mind. But, whatever else unites them, they all support nuclear power.

Renew Australia, which compiled the above list, says that nuclear energy now functions more as a culture war troll than a serious policy, not least because the people who want atomic solution to climate change are usually the same people (as the group above illustrates) who don’t believe climate change requires a solution at all.

Despite the best efforts of Queensland conservatives, Australia will not go nuclear. The former chair of Uranium King, Warwick Grigor, says flatly “no one is going down that path in the foreseeable future”. Even industry boosters see nuclear power stations as feasible only if the government introduces, um, a carbon tax, a proposal to which the culture warriors would react like vampires to garlic.

Nevertheless, progressives should discuss nuclear energy and climate change, if only because the campaign we need against coal can learn from the historic struggle against a different mineral.

Upon the opening of the Rum Jungle uranium mine in 1953, Robert Menzies gushed: “We, in Australia, are lucky indeed, that we should have found, within our own boundaries, deposits of this ore which can and will undoubtedly within a measurable distance bring power and light and the amenities of life to the producers and consumers and the housewives of this continent.”

You feel that if he could have brought a lump of the stuff into Parliament he probably would have done so.

Yet by the second half of the seventies, activists concerned about the environmental consequences of mining, the effects on........

© The Guardian