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What are the politics of the new nuclear push, and how should we respond?

Recorded at IPCS on Wednesday 6 September, 2023

With the absolute failure to address climate change, the fracturing of the global order, and the demand for nuclear subs, the push for nuclear is back on the global agenda, across Left and Right. The push is restarting nuclear proliferation, the economic case for it is fictional, and the political forces behind it are reactionary and sinister. But there is also a growing movement across the world among sections of the Left, high-profile environmentalists and some Greens parties, to use ‘small’ nuclear as a ‘smart’ solution. What are the politics of this, and how should we respond? Our panel will give expert update on the folly of the nuclear push, the unspoken catastrophic effects of nuclear, and lead out discussion as to whether we have got to the heart of the existential challenge that nuclear represents, and what sort of new thinking might be needed to confront it.

Chair: Alison Caddick

About the Speakers:

Darrin Durant is senior lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Melbourne. He has published widely on the relation between experts and citizens in democratic decision making, disinformation and democracy, climate and energy politics, and nuclear waste disposal.

John Hinkson is an Arena Publications Editor, researcher and author of many articles on nuclear power and society.

Karina Lester is a Yankunytjatjara Anangu woman who grew up on the Anangu Pitjantjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in Far North West South Australia. Karina shares not only her late father (Yami Lester)’s story, but also her grandmother’s story of the Emu Field nuclear tests in October, 1953. She speaks strongly about the impacts of nuclear testing on her people.

Dave Sweeney has been active in mining, resource and nuclear issues for four decades through his work with the media, trade unions and environment groups. He leads the Australian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaign and is a co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

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Recorded: 6 September 2023


Darrin Durant
John Hinkson
Karina Lester
Dave Sweeney
Alison Caddick (Chair)