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[P]
Could Australia be a nuclear power?

By martman in Op-Ed
Sun May 18, 2003 at 02:27:51 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Australia is sometimes called 'the lucky country'. "Our land abounds in nature's gifts," as the national anthem goes. Our national anthem, when compared to that of America or France, is decidedly tame. It's not about wars or honour. It's basically about how we're pretty lucky to live in a nice country. Our nationhood was gained by a vote, rather than a gun.

As a nation, we've occasionally made bad choices and picked up a few friends and enemies along the way. But on the whole we feel that noone's really out to get us. We're generally a peripheral player on the world stage, not a great political or military power.

So why has an Australian pledge never to acquire nuclear weapons come under recent debate?


While Australia's stance on nuclear power and arms is not so severe as New Zealand's many of her residents have quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) agreed with NZ's blanket no-nuke policy. Australia has a small reactor in Lucas Heights - a 10MW reactor for research and the production of medical isotopes - but to my knowledge that appears to be the extent of our relationship with nuclear energy.

Our advocacy of the UN Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has been pronounced, and supported publicly as recently as 2001. Public condemnation of both France and China in recent memory.

On the other hand, Australia has always held an integral role in supporting other nations' nuclear programs. During the period from the 1950s until 1971 deliveries were made to both the US and to Britain. After 1971 a decision was made to only export uranium for civilian use. However since France doesn't distinguish between its military and civilian nuclear programs, it can be said that Australia continued to supply a nuclear weapons program in this period. In the past decade, Australia has become one of the world's foremost producers of uranium. From 1985 to 1995 it exported 43,000 tonnes of U308 - an average 10% of the world's uranium production. In fact, Australia's sitting on an estimated 27% of the world's low-cost uranium reserves. These figures are from this page about nuclear nations.

Yet Australia still possesses no nuclear arsenal of her own. Perhaps this will change out of necessity or foolishness. The question is one of both capability and desire.

Wayne Reynolds, who authored "Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb", claims that the Lucas Heights plant runs with a higher than necessary crew of engineers and scientists in order to maintain a large enough knowledge base to create a weapon. "Otherwise there seem to be an awful lot of people out there just to make medical isotopes," he says. He goes on to state "We have the critical mass of scientists and engineers who can do the job, and plenty of uranium. The AAEC chief Philip Baxter said in 1973 that Australia had the technical capability to develop thermonuclear weapons. Would we have thrown all that knowledge away?"

So presumably, with both enough uranium available and the expertise, Australia is capable of fast tracking a nuclear program.

But what situation could possibly provoke such an outrageous chain of events? North Korea, while worrying, surely has targets other than Australia in mind. China currently has little to gain by threatening an attack. And should Japan gain nuclear capabilities in response to North Korea's claims, as has been suggested they might, Australia could probably live with it, given they are one of our largest trading partners and therefore (hopefully) our friends.

Australia's relationship with Indonesia has always been a little dodgy, though. Some reckon that the two nations are never more than a couple of years and a few political maneuvers away from all-out conflict. So perhaps were they to attain, or resolve to obtain, nuclear capabilities we might worry.

With more and more nations now gaining and demonstrating nuclear arsenals is Australia's stand against owning her own doomed to fail? The international policy of nuclear non-proliferation is apparently ended. Iran, Pakistan, India, China and North Korea have all joined the club. Can Austalia remain 'the lucky country'?

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Poll
When will Australia build a nuclear weapon?
o already built one 32%
o before 2005 2%
o before 2010 17%
o after 2010 18%
o never 29%

Votes: 75
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Display: Sort:
Could Australia be a nuclear power? | 178 comments (150 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
Reenactment of how it really happened (4.07 / 38) (#1)
by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:07:14 AM EST

Have we shot all of the abbos?
|
|                   Yup, now we can have a peaceful vote.
|   Choice!           /
\    /               /
  _n_           _n_
   O             O
  <|\           /|\
   |             |
  /|             |\
  


Excellent (5.00 / 1) (#2)
by ComradeFork on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:18:47 AM EST

I'm sick of the comment, but I like the Ascii Art. Keep it up!!

[ Parent ]
We didn't just shoot them, we nuked them... (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:09:40 AM EST

This is shameful, and I've never heard it mentioned before now. In researching my post I found out that nuclear tests were carried out by the British on Australian soil in the 50's and 60's. I never knew this before.

What really made my stomach turn was that Maralinga (Aboriginal language for "Field of Thunder") was inhabited by Aboriginal peoples. Army personnel - i'm not sure whose, Australian or British... presumably Australian, though - were intentionally exposed to the radiation to find out what it did. Ok, i'd heard of that before in other places.

Apparently though, security at the sites was lax, and people were able to just wander into the radiated areas. All the warning signs were in english, which the indigenous population couldn't read. Being semi-nomadic in culture, it's likely that many aborigines were directly affected by these blasts.

[ Parent ]
Seriously? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by epepke on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:11:08 PM EST

I'm surprised that you hadn't heard of that before. When I was growing up in the U.S. public education system, we learned lots about the sins of the U.S. during the heyday of nuclear testing, including subjecting native populations to tests, also including putting U.S. citizens 10,000 feet below an explosion to see what would happen. I even know someone whose uncle was flown through a mushroom cloud as part of an experiment.

Do they really not teach this stuff in Australian schools? Or were you educated in another country, perhaps?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
No, no we did learn part of it (none / 0) (#76)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:49:10 PM EST

We did hear of soldiers being intentionally exposed to the radiation. But despite 2 two years of compulsory aboriginal history in school (i think 1 year is mandatory in all Australian schools, but i'm not sure) I never heard mention that the bomb site's poor security meant that the aboriginal people were able to just wander into the irradiated areas.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
I'm sick of the ASCII art but (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:11:52 AM EST

I love the comment. You've won me over, k5arp!


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
The little Akubra's are classic too [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by cam on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:18:41 AM EST


Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]
Holy crap (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by ajf on Sun May 18, 2003 at 01:14:18 PM EST

I hadn't noticed that. We truly are in the presence of genius.

"I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
[ Parent ]
Not just shot (5.00 / 5) (#69)
by driptray on Sun May 18, 2003 at 08:25:41 PM EST

Don't forget that they were also poisoned, and suffered from introduced diseases, as well as the poverty associated with disposession of their land and destruction of their society.

And those that survived were not allowed to vote, and were not included in the census.

I don't mean to lay it on thick, but that "peaceful nationhood by vote" bit was a fairly outrageous lie. The truth is that modern Australia came about through a protracted low-intensity war (although in the case of Tasmania it was a shorter, high-intensity war).
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

my thoughts exactly n/t (none / 0) (#165)
by livus on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:27:42 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Hey, steady on. (none / 0) (#177)
by martman on Sun Jun 01, 2003 at 12:40:55 PM EST

Before we all go around patting each other on the back for being such sensitive new age types... I don't think it's at all an 'outrageous lie' to suggest that Australia's nationhood was gained peacefully when I'm referring to the referendum that was had to secede from the British empire. As harsh as this sounds, the treatment of australia's aboriginal population was, i felt, irrelevant to an article on Australia's potential possession of nuclear arms.

What you say is true. The aborigines were cruelly and unfairly victimised by the British settlers. In many ways they're still poorly treated, though I'd like to think that many people's attitudes towards them has greatly improved in recent years (especially with positive aboriginal role models emerging in sports and politics).

However, name some countries that HAVEN'T had some instance of violence or abuse directed at an indigenous population. Or just name one or two. It's difficult. Even supposedly 'single race', ancient cultures such as China have great examples of racially discriminated violence and crime dotted about their history - the majority of Chinese are 'Han', and there are many sub-groups.

So my point in saying "peaceful nationhood by vote" was just to point out that Australia's freedom from the British empire was somewhat more peaceful than it otherwise could have been. I'm not trying to re-write history here, but I thought a rant on British/Aboriginal relations would be a bit off-topic in the intro. My apologies if I caused offense by my omission.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
artist or ASCII programmer? (none / 0) (#78)
by gdanjo on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:18:53 AM EST

I've nearly reverse-snorted my Powerade twice because of you. Twice.

One suggestion though: change "choice" to "grouse". That's aussier. :-)

Dan ..
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

A bomb is not enough (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by Betcour on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:56:56 AM EST

Just making the bomb is pretty useless. Once you have it, you need a way to deliver it to a target (especially when you are far far away of everybody). Developping ICBMs is not easy.

Australia already has this covered (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by whanau on Sun May 18, 2003 at 08:33:49 AM EST

The Australian Air Force has a number of long range strike aircraft (F-111 primarily) and air-to-air refueling for birds with shorter legs such as the F-18. With this capability pretty much everywhere south of southern China is theoretically within range of some sort of strike. In addition its small fleet of submarines could probably be refitted with some sort of long range cruise missiles to get the job done


[ Parent ]
Submarine delivery mechanisms (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:40:50 AM EST

I definitely agree on the point of delivery by aircraft - in fact interest in equipping the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) with nuclear capability reportedly existed when the British tested nuclear weapons at Maralinga in South Australia in 1956. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions on the submarine option.

The Colins class submarines are diesel powered and small. A refit of those to accomodate large missile systems would possibly be more expensive than just buying another submarine that's already equipped for that role. The need for diesel subs to surface and exhaust monoxide periodically would make it a prime target, with the added incentive their containing nuclear missiles would give any attacker.

But if Australia were to go down the nuclear route it wouldn't be surprising if they were to buy a couple of missile subs. After all, just 2 of them could cover all the coastlines they needed to.

[ Parent ]
nuke-capable subs (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by yammering communist on Sun May 18, 2003 at 02:36:51 PM EST

the US is refitting four of their 1960-1970 vintage ballistic-missile-carrying submarines to non-nuclear roles. Apparently the USN no longer feels that the role they played as Cold War deterrents applies any longer. The price tag on each refit is pretty fat; a couple billion over a year or so. I wonder how much it would cost for a long-time ally, like Australia, to just take one off of their hands?

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
delivery problem long solved (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by khallow on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:44:34 AM EST

Some variation of this statement routinely crops up. Ie, "even if country X has the bomb, they still need to deliver it". Making the bomb is the hard part. Anyone who can do that, whether it be a superpower, third world country, or batch of religious freaks, can come up with a system for delivering that bomb. It's not a trivial matter to deliver a nuclear bomb, but it's a whole lot easier than making the bomb in the first place.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

even if country x.... (2.88 / 9) (#30)
by turmeric on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:25:48 AM EST

thats funny. you know? every time someone says 'country xyz has the delivery capability' someone says 'well its very difficult to get raw materials, enough uranium to make a bomb'.
<p>
but then when someone has enough uranium to make the bomb, everyone says 'oh its very hard, you need to develop delivery systems'
<p>
WHATEVER.
the united states, a pissant country just over a horrible economic depression, made several bombs and flew them with propellor planes and killed 150,000+ people.


[ Parent ]
My bologna has a first name (none / 0) (#71)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:45:04 PM EST

but it's a whole lot easier than making the bomb in the first place.
Bull-dookey!

Unless you're speaking of nations that border each other, precise and reliable delivery of more than one nuclear warhead is a much more difficult problem than building those same warheads.

I'll grant that getting a single warhead (via barge or tanker ship) into New York harbor might be easier than building a warhead. But delivery of any subsequent warheads would be severely problematic and whichever nation was behind the delivery would almost certainly be reduced to ashes.

[ Parent ]

In that scenaio... (3.00 / 4) (#73)
by SvnLyrBrto on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:21:55 PM EST

> But delivery of any subsequent warheads would be
> severely problematic and whichever nation was behind
> the delivery would almost certainly be reduced to ashes.

Isn't there an old saying along the lines of:  "Don't fear the man who wants a thousand nuclear bombs, fear the man who just wants one."?

I think the main problem thesedays would be:  What if it's NOT a single nation that you can blame?  What if it is an extranational entity like the various terrorist groups?  Who DO you nuke in retaliation?

And you *HAVE* to nuke SOMEBODY.  Otherwise you have proven that you lack the will to do so.  50 years of nuclear strategy is thrown away like rubbish.  MAD goes away.  And with no credibility left to the deterrant force, the next REAL nation that DOES build nukes by the hundreds or thousands will solve its next problem with the US by incinerating whole COUNTRY.

So what if that theoretical nuke that sails into New York harbor is, for example, the operation of an extranational terrorist group composed of exiled Saudis, operating in Afghanistan, funded by Iran, and useing that funding to hire Iraqui nuclear scientists?

Where EXACTLY does the retaliatory strike go?  Do you pick one of the four at random?  Or just nuke 'em all, and let 'god' sort it out?  And there HAS to be a retaliatory strike.  Otherwise there's no credible deterrant, and the next time the US pisses off Russia or China, or perhaps even France, it will cease to exist.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Don't be ridiculous,... (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:25:33 PM EST

... the lack of a nuclear retaliation against a specific country when there is no specific country to retaliate against, does not in any way reduce the certainty of a nuclear retaliation against a specific country when there is a specific country to retaliate against.



[ Parent ]

Not only that, but ... (none / 0) (#126)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue May 20, 2003 at 12:54:17 AM EST

... just as the US was willing to go into Afghanistan, any country that harbors terrorists is apparently a potential target for the US military. If Al Qaeda had used a nuke, I have little doubt that (at least portions of) Afghanistan would have been nuked in retaliation.

[ Parent ]
That old saying... (none / 0) (#108)
by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:58:34 PM EST

Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that a quote of Nicole Kidman's character in 'The Peacemaker'? I don't believe it's an old saying.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
"The Peacemaker" (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:17:27 PM EST

You could very well be right, about it being a quote from the movie.

But, IIRC, said movie was released in the late '90s, yes?  I remember hearing the quote, or something like it, well before...  More like the early '90s, just after the soviet union broke up and everyone got panicy about "loose nukes".

I can't be sure, but I MAY have first caught the meme when I read Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears"  (Yes, the actual BOOK.... not that POS movie that mangled both plot and character.).

In any event, my guess is that "The Peacemaker" DID use the quote, but borrowed from an oldere meme.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

not sure where you're coming from (none / 0) (#97)
by khallow on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:26:12 AM EST

Unless you're speaking of nations that border each other, precise and reliable delivery of more than one nuclear warhead is a much more difficult problem than building those same warheads.

As I mentioned before, most countries can come up with a delivery system already (planes, boats, trucks, etc). I don't see where "precise and reliable" matters here since nuclear weapons don't need to be precise unless you're slamming a hardened military target (eg, a missile silo or underground bunker). A city is a pretty hard target to miss. And if your nukes are unreliable, then make more of them. It's a lot harder to make the first nuke than it is to make the tenth IMHO.

I'll grant that getting a single warhead (via barge or tanker ship) into New York harbor might be easier than building a warhead. But delivery of any subsequent warheads would be severely problematic and whichever nation was behind the delivery would almost certainly be reduced to ashes.

The myopia here is breath taking. First, who said any nukes made were going to be used against the US? Eg, Pakistan and India both have nukes, but it's pretty clear that any serious nuclear assaults would be on each other not on the US. Nukes increase substantially your military power over any nonnuclear country. Second, you neglect the negotiating power of even a handful of nukes. Sure the US will incinerate you if you nuke them, but I bet they (as well as the rest of the world community) will be a whole lot more respectful and polite towards you and your ambitions. Again, the people with the bomb don't have to blow up New York City to get what they want. They don't even have to make overt threats.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

or ... (3.00 / 2) (#125)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue May 20, 2003 at 12:51:56 AM EST

but I bet they (as well as the rest of the world community) will be a whole lot more respectful and polite towards you and your ambitions.
Or they will reduce your country to a smouldering pile of radioactive slag.

[ Parent ]
Heh.. (none / 0) (#143)
by wierdo on Tue May 20, 2003 at 11:51:36 AM EST

That we (the US) have not yet done this to North Korea amazes me.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
They have to do something stupid first. (none / 0) (#158)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed May 21, 2003 at 02:04:24 PM EST

But I do hope Powell was suitably blunt in the recent talks about just how harsh the U.S. would respond to any hostile move from N.K.

Until then it is best to wait. For one, there are our good friends, the South Koreans, that would be suffer because of it. We don't want that. Second, it would cost the U.S. plenty of money to deal with the aftermath of rendering N.K. into slag. Third, it would send China into a big huge hissy fit.

What I don't understand is why the outside world does not do more to insist that N.K. stop oppressing its people. Trading food, medicine, and pieces of paper that say we won't strike first for the chance to communicate with and educate them is a good strategy, imo.



[ Parent ]

trash talk (none / 0) (#152)
by khallow on Wed May 21, 2003 at 12:52:03 AM EST

Or they will reduce your country to a smouldering pile of radioactive slag.

Right. It hasn't happened yet even though countries continue to develope nuclear weapons (eg, Pakistan and India's recent efforts).

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Never happen. (none / 0) (#154)
by Ward57 on Wed May 21, 2003 at 09:06:26 AM EST

Not an unprovoked attack like that. Event the most determinedly unethical people have a great deal of trouble just killing people. In the middle of a war with that country, then maybee, but not as an unprovoked attack. I just don't believe it.

[ Parent ]
Actually no (none / 0) (#113)
by Betcour on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:35:06 PM EST

Building a B2 bomber or a ICBM from scratch requires a lot more engineers and money than a nuclear bomb (and then, finding some special electronic parts is probably as hard as finding enriched uranium). And I don't see a country relying on trucks to deliver nukes...

[ Parent ]
interesting opinion (none / 0) (#116)
by khallow on Mon May 19, 2003 at 07:28:11 PM EST

Building a B2 bomber or a ICBM from scratch requires a lot more engineers and money than a nuclear bomb (and then, finding some special electronic parts is probably as hard as finding enriched uranium). And I don't see a country relying on trucks to deliver nukes...

First, one doesn't need a B2 or an ICBM to deliver nuclear weapons. Perhaps a truck isn't the ideal delivery system for sneaking through a screen of high tech, trigger-happy defenders, but there are several scenarios where it can work.

Second, while I agree that a B2 bomber seems a bit harder than making a nuke, it's not clear to me that a missile delivery system is as difficult as you imply. The technology is pretty prevalent (ie, virtually anyone can obtain gobs of information on making and launching suborbital missiles). ICBMs are a particularly difficult category of missile (ie, do you really need that range?), but even those don't require a particularly unusual degree of technical knowhow.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#141)
by Betcour on Tue May 20, 2003 at 10:28:38 AM EST

Perhaps a truck isn't the ideal delivery system for sneaking through a screen of high tech, trigger-happy defenders, but there are several scenarios where it can work.

Agreed, but in the case of a country (such as Australia) using trucks doesn't sound like a solution. Trucks are only good for a one-time-only first strike (mostly terrorism).

ICBMs are a particularly difficult category of missile (ie, do you really need that range?),

It really depends I guess. For a country like Australia, long range delivery is mandatory.

but even those don't require a particularly unusual degree of technical knowhow.

I'd disagree here. ICBMs are as difficult to build as satellite-lauching rockets, and so far only the space-capable nations have been able to build them. The technology to make ICBMs came much later after the first nukes had been already built and used.

[ Parent ]
I'd have thought that a bomber (none / 0) (#155)
by Ward57 on Wed May 21, 2003 at 09:13:28 AM EST

could get through, if it was a single, supersonic bomber. If all you want is a non-supersonic bomber, you could probably buy one, or drop it out of a hercules.

[ Parent ]
Shipping containers (none / 0) (#176)
by baron samedi on Wed May 28, 2003 at 10:26:29 PM EST

You could always put the sucker on a timer or radio control, put it in a shipping container and send it to New York, Long Beach, Miami, New Orleans, Oakland or Seattle.
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
how about a ryder truck (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by turmeric on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:22:58 AM EST

get a clue kid

[ Parent ]
A cruise missile, then. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 12:02:36 PM EST

What about a $5,000 DIY cruise missile?

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
That is a fantastic idea. (5.00 / 2) (#57)
by Polverone on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:11:55 PM EST

If Australia can develop a 10 kilogram nuclear warhead then they're well ahead of the pack in the race toward miniaturization.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
Linear motors (none / 0) (#171)
by dzimmerm on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:31:22 PM EST

They could be placed all over the wide flat desert areas of Oz and sling packages anywhere they wanted. Probably could even sling into orbit if they wanted. Run them off solar cells since you have lots of sun and lots of open space.

Now if you want standard, easy to detect the launch of, delivery systems I am sure they could be purchased from various countries that have lots to spare.

dzimmerm

[ Parent ]

Of course. (4.71 / 7) (#16)
by dj28 on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:43:50 AM EST

Australia could easily become a nuclear power just as Japan, Canada, Germany, and many other nations could. But just building a nuclear bomb isn't the hard work. You have to build the infrastructure to mass-produce the bombs if you want to be a serious nuclear power. Next, you have to think about delivery systems. This includes long-range bombers, mid-air refueling tankers, ICBMs, SLBM's, etc. Constructing a workable ICBM alone will take many years.

The point is, there's more to being a nuclear power than just building a nuclear bomb. You need to build a massive military-industrial complex just dedicated to producing the nuclear weapons and building redundant delivery systems. That's not to mention that you have to create another government agency to oversee and administer the possible launch of such weapons.

And after you build the bombs and delivery systems, you can't stop. You have to constantly build them. Why? Because you'll run into the same problem the U.S. has. If you stop building them, then your industry will lose the skills and expertise necessary to build them again.

So, theoretically, Australia can *easily* become a nuclear power. They have the technological know-how, the industry, and the money. But could Australia afford to maintain a formidable nuclear deterrent? Probably not in the long-run. The cost of a project of that magnitude is enormous when Australia can simply rely on the nuclear umbrella of the Commonwealth and the U.S., which seems like they have been doing.


Delivery systems (4.80 / 5) (#19)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:54:06 AM EST

It's true that Australia has no ICBMs or SLBMs. However they already have mid-air refueling craft, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has short and mid range craft that could be refitted to carry a nuclear bomb relatively cheaply.

I would say that short and mid-range fighter-bombers, working together with mid-air refuelling craft, could reach all our local targets. I can't really see Australia wishing to bomb anywhere in Europe, or the North Americas under even far-fetched circumstances.

The issue of mass-producing the weapons, though, is more difficult. But probably not insurmountable if the US or Britain were willing to lend a hand in the building of it. Remember, even if Australia chose to produce nuclear weapons it would never be in the same league as a superpower, it would simply be attempting to deter a smaller, regional enemy.

[ Parent ]
Ability to destroy (3.00 / 4) (#35)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:14:52 AM EST

I agree, it's far more correct for Australia to have the ability to destroy large slabs of the world only  once, as opposed to countries like Russia and the US which have the ability to destroy the world several times over.

After all, those "Ban the Bomb" protests are so passe these days. And let's face it, Australia should just get nuclear weapons because everyone else has them, and Australia is seen as a major threat by certain nuclear-powered countries.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

thats funny (2.07 / 13) (#28)
by turmeric on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:21:44 AM EST

every time i hear some psudo intellectual blabber on about nuclear wepaons, they are very insistent on how easy it is to develop the weapons themselves... but that getting enough raw material is the most difficult part. seeing as how australia is the worlds larget producer of uranium, the standard pseudo intellectual blabber would kind of indicate that they are going to have very little problem whatsoever.

[ Parent ]
Urr, U-238 != U-235 (none / 0) (#163)
by Eric Green on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:13:50 AM EST

U-235 can be used to make bombs. U-238 cannot, other than via irradiating it in a nuclear reactor to transmute it into Pu-239 (plutonium). Raw uranium ore is less than 15% U-235, and must be enriched to at least 80% U-235 to be useful for bomb purposes. This is *HARD*, because U-235 and U-238 are identical chemically and thus cannot be seperated chemically the way that Pu-239 can be seperated from U-238 chemically. Thus centrifuges, gaseous diffusion, etc. all attempting to seperate out heavier U-238 from lighter U-235 (centrifuges) or larger U-238 atoms from smaller U-235 atoms (gaseous diffusion). But this is hard. Half the budget of the Manhattan Project was spent obtaining one baseball-sized ball of U-235 to explode over Hiroshima. Virtually every U.S. atomic bomb since has been either a plutonium or thermonuclear bomb, because extracting Pu-239 from U-238 irradiated in a nuclear reactor is so much easier -- albeit also much more visible (since you need a nuclear reactor to make it work!).

Australia has plenty of raw uranium ore. Making a bomb out of that ore, however, is a non-trivial project.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

Errrr (none / 0) (#172)
by dzimmerm on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:34:35 PM EST

To light a fusion/thermonuclear bomb you need at least 4 or more fission bombs. So you still need the good stuff to light the match, so to speak.

dzimmerm

[ Parent ]

Australia doesnt need a Nuclear Deterrent (4.62 / 16) (#22)
by cam on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:12:28 AM EST

The only nation in a position to threaten Australia directly is Indonesia. Unless Indonesia gets nuclear weapons there is no need for Australia to bother with them. Any other nation to get to Australia will have to come through Indonesia first so nuclear weapons would be a pointless deterrent for nations beyond Indonesia.

The nations beyond Indonesia that Australia may fear militarily are China, and in extreme circumstances Japan. Predominantly because the latter parked on our front doorstep once before. So Australians know the Japanese are capable of it again if they put their mind to it. Currently Japan is our top trading partner and China our third (US is second and South Korea fourth).

Australia neednt fear North Korea as their main capability appears to be to destablize the region. This region though contains three of Australia's top four trade partners. It is in Australia's interests for Il Jong to be shut up diplomatically or in a way that doesnt affect trade.

Menzies pursued Nuclear weapons in the 1950's which was why so much nuclear testing, development and bomb explosions went on in Australia. Menzies was using it as a cheap way to get nuclear technology from Britain. In the end it was a waste of the Australian landscape as it wasnt pursued. And rightly too Australia has been regionally potent through conventional weapons since the 1940's and has remained so to the present day.

Australian defence is facing other problems which override unnecessary debates on nuclear arsenals. Australia is facing two immediate defence problems in the next 20 years. Australia is currently behind in the space communications and weapons race. The effectiveness of relatively invulnerable space communications was shown in the second Gulf conflict when a sandstorm didnt interrupt coalition bombing activities.

The second is the block obsolesence that RAAF is facing. The Australian Air Force is geared towards regional projection and in particular projection across the Indonesian archipelago. Currently the F111 provides that projection. It has a range of 6000 kms and can carry an array of precision weapons. There is nothing in the world arsenal that can replace that aircraft.

The US and UK have built their systems with force multipliers like in flight refueling so they can maintain global projection. Australia hasnt the need for global projection and hasnt spend enough to ensure that it has enough tankers and aircraft to protect those tankers.

Subsequently current Australian defense budgets and projection require an aircraft that can go it alone, under radar, for several thousand k's and dump a buttload of bombs on a target or series of targets. This is why the RAAF is holding to the F111 for as long as they can.

Howard has started putting money to the Joint Strike Fighter program. They are hoping that Australia's F18 and F111 fleet can be combined into one fleet of JSF aircraft. However the JSF only has a range of 2000 kms so it will require investment in more inflight tankers and subsequent investment in more systems to protect those tankers.

Howard probably doesnt care about this as his government sees the ADF as trigger pullers for the US, but procurement decisions affect the military for 20 years or so and cramping the ADF's ability to act independantly is a malicious and neglectful policy for Australia to adapt to its future needs and threats.

Australian governments in the 1930's did the same by throwing all their eggs into the Royal Navy basket and making the Australian Navy an extension of the RN. In 1942 the RN was pressed in Europe and the whole integrated basis for the defence of Australia through Britain, the RN and Singapore collapsed. Australia was unable to independantly defend itself in a naval capacity in 1941/42. Thankfully the USN was up to the task. Howard committing to a policy of Au-US permanency is putting Australia into the same potential peril as Menzies did at the beginning of WWII.

Australia requires regional projection, and if no arms manufacturer is making the correct vehicle for it, then Australia should re-invigorate its aerispace industry and make a suitable vehicle indiginously. The Australian ANZAC frigates cost approx 500,000 AUD. In comparison US industry turned out the F22 at 400,000 AUD. By that metric the Australian defence industries are as efficient as any overseas industries. One of the ANZAC frigates in the Gulf commanded a coalition flotilla in part because of their effectiveness and modernity.

Two other nations in Asia have similar strategic issues as Australia in having a potential aggressor across an air/sea gap. Japan has North Korea across a sea and Taiwan has China nearby. Australia should partner with Japan and Taiwan to produce weapons of regional projection. This will help defray development and research costs, trade technologies, increase military ties and hopefully increase trade and political ties as well.

Australia doesnt need a nuclear deterrent unless Indonesia goes nuclear. Since Indonesia isnt nuclear it is the responsibility of the Australian Government to ensure that the South Pacific stays nuclear weapons free. They should sign a non-proliferation treaty with Indonesia directly. Australia has more pressing defence needs in catching up on space based communications and in solving the proojection and force multiplier needs of the Australian Air Force.
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic

Indonesian nuclear program exists (4.42 / 7) (#33)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:56:07 AM EST

I agree that in the current political climate Indonesia attaining nuclear weapon capabilities remains the most obvious spur in the side of any Australian nuclear weapon program.

It should be noted that in 1990, the Indonesian Government announced that it would construct twelve 600-MW nuclear power plants. Indonesia has a nuclear program already. The Indonesian National Nuclear Energy Agency describes their interest in "nuclear fuel technology for research reactors, nuclear fuel technology for power reactors, nuclear fuel recycle technology, and pre- and post-irradiated fuel characterization technology." Their nuclear program was fast-tracked to begin in 1996. Their first reactor comes online in 2003. Maybe it's already active, i didn't get an exact date.

This page in particular is damning of Indonesia's intentions. It relates the alternatives available to nuclear energy as a power source for Indonesia and finds that no real need can be demonstrated for nuclear power. Indonesia has a large and accessible reserve of sulphur-free coal. But the obvious advantage that a nuclear program provides to them is the eventual development of a nuclear weapons program. From the article:

"According to a 1994 Der Spiegel article, Indonesia wanted to hire a nuclear expert from the Kurchatov Institute, one of the most prominent Russian research centers on nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. The story was told by someone from the German research institute Jülich, and after the article appeared the hiring fell through. This cannot have been a coincidence. The experimental reactor at Serpong was built by the German government, but the German Chamber for Industry and Trade (DIHT) declared the Indonesian nuclear program to be unrealistic and refused to participate."
Not only this, but in an effort to nurture Australian-Indonesian relations there is currently a bilateral nuclear science and technology cooperation agreement between the two nations.

[ Parent ]
Left off some zeroes (none / 0) (#55)
by cam on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:00:55 PM EST

The ANZAC Frigates come to about 500 million AUD and the F22 comes to about 400 million AUD. That is an awful lot for an aircraft and begs the question why is an aircraft costing as much as a ship. Congress and the USAF are asking similar questions.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Costs and Capabilities (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by avocadia on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:55:27 PM EST

What are the relative capabilities of the two? I know that they fulfill different roles, an F22 is probably never going to be used in a naval blockade role, but is the F22 (theoretically at this point) significantly better in its role than the frigate?

[ Parent ]
Roles and Value (5.00 / 4) (#72)
by cam on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:04:55 PM EST

but is the F22 (theoretically at this point) significantly better in its role than the frigate?

The F22 is intended as an air superiority fighter to replace the F15 in the USAF. Apparently F15 airframes are old enough that they are expensive to maintain. It originally started with an order for 750 airframes, the current order is about 125. It is also designed for the European theatre, for point to point operations that are of short duration. That puts pressure on US diplomacy to get local bases to any action. The F14's and F18's can also operate as point to point aircraft put from a carrier.

Apparently there are moves to make the F22 relevant by making it capable of ground attack as well (it recently go redesignated F/A-22). The same happened with the F15 it does ground attack as well. But both are short legged and need either force multipliers in tankers or a nearby base.

One of the issues is that that the F22 has cost $24 billion USD already and only a few have been delivered. An F16 by comparison costs around $35 million USD. As to if the F22 is significantly better in its air superiority role than the ANZAC Frigate is in naval superiority I dont know. The F22 wasnt present in Iraq to my knowledge. Its benefits over the F15 is that it has super cruise and is a stealthy design.

The B1's and B2's are stealthy design too, but they apparently dont leave the US without ECM Prowlers supporting them. An F117 got brought down in Kosovo, so ECM support is necessary for even stealth aircraft. As to making it a ground attack aircraft, it might not have the legs for it. Forces like ground attack aircraft to hang around which is what the A10 does.

I dont know if the F22 adds much value to the USAF other than as a replacement for the F15. It appears to be designed for the European Cold War theatre. Then again if there is a dust up in Europe the USAF will probably be happy it exists in their inventory.

The ANZAC Frigates are intended to be used in the role of Command Ship, Maritime Interdiction, Air Defence, ECM, Underwater Surveillance and Special Ops platform. Apparently HMAS Warramunga was the first warship in the world to be fitted with ESSM which is an evolved sparrow missile.

The ANZAC Frigates appear to be pretty cutting edge and modern as far as Naval technology goes. They are modern enough that HMAS ANZAC commanded a flotilla of American, Australian and British ships in Khah Ab Allah. For Australia's forces they appear to be adding value. Australian Frigates have been constantly in the Gulf since 1991. It is through them that Australia had been maintaining a presence in the Gulf.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Big surface vessels semi-obsolete... (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by goonie on Mon May 19, 2003 at 04:12:54 AM EST

I'm no expert, but I gather that there is a fairly wide belief in defence circles that all surface ships are sitting ducks for submarines and anti-ship missiles. This includes US aircraft carriers just as it includes as Anzac frigates.

Anybody with more expertise in the area care to comment?

[ Parent ]

Depends what you want them for... (none / 0) (#119)
by Pseudonym on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:36:10 PM EST

Australia's two biggest domestic defence "concerns" at the moment are illegal immigration and illegal fishing. Pirates don't generally carry anti-ship missiles.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Anti-missile defenses, submarine defenses (none / 0) (#162)
by Eric Green on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:07:49 AM EST

A couple of notes:
  1. The United States knows where any submarine in the world is at any time. I won't go into details on the system, but it was put in place during the Reagan Administration. Surface ships may be sitting ducks to a surprise attack by a "friendly" nation, but they certainly aren't sitting ducks to submarines in general -- our anti-submarine aircraft can blow them out of the water at any given time.
  2. The Phalanx system does a pretty good job on surface skimming missiles. A *LOT* of surface skimming missiles would be a problem, but you keep your ships out of range.
Basically, the only real use for large ships nowdays is to "show the flag" or for force projection (i.e., protecting the aircraft carriers that hold the real war-fighting capability of the surface fleet, and of course the aircraft carriers themselves). Their only real vulnerability is in case of a sneak attack. If they know that, say, we are at war with Iran, then any Iranian submarine will be sunk and any Iranian Silkworm battery will be a smoking hole in the ground before you can say "zippity-doo-dah!".

And while a sneak attack may take out some very expensive and nearly irreplacable vessels (we have only one shipyard capable of building aircraft carriers, and it takes them 5 years to turn out an aircraft carrier), there would still be adequate resources in the U.S. military to turn that country into a smoking hole in the ground in retaliation.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

There are more uses, though. (none / 0) (#164)
by martman on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:26:18 AM EST

I would disagree with your assertion that the only real use for large ships nowadays is to fly the flag, or for protecting carriers.

There was some surprise at the outset of this most recent gulf war that Australian ships were called on to fire on shore. The British marines had established a beach head near Umm Qasr (i believe.. i can't remember the actual location - someone help me out?) but had then encountered heavier than expected resistance. One of Australia's ANZAC class frigates was called upon to deliver indirect supporting fire. It was widely reported (here in Oz) that our navy is just about the only navy in the world that keeps up such 'outdated' skills.

Likewise, the skirmish and deep-reconaissance tactics of our SAS are also supposedly 'outdated'. Amazing that they should both prove so effective in the most modern war yet, then, I reckon.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
ANZAC frigate NOT in command (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by towerssotall on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:38:41 AM EST

the RAN has always been poor at what the USN calls C3 (command, control, communications) when Australians have commanded that flotilla they have tranferred flag and staff to a more capable US warship. the ANZAC frigates are decent "littoral warfare ships" because they have shallow draft, a pretty decent 5" gun, and a helicopter embarked. but they (as with the whole RAN at this time) lack the availability to put to sea in the face of hostile airpower. as long as the western powers have uncontested control of the sea this won't be such a problem. that may well last for the lifepsan of these ships, but to think it will last forever would be a tragic mistake.

"the fate of Charles the First, hath only made kings more subtle
- not more just."

- - Thomas Paine
[ Parent ]

East Asian Strategic Defence Conglomerate (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by Scrymarch on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:41:23 PM EST

I'm pretty sure I've seen you pushing the East Asian Defence Conglomerate in your diary before.  I like the concept, but including Taiwan would offend the proto-superpower of the region.  Malcolm Fraser was brutally right when he answered the question of choosing between Europe and Asia.  It would depend what side China was on.

South Korea is a traditional ally of Australia, though it's in a different strategic situation.   I wonder if there's scope to share tech there though, since they rely pretty heavily on their peninsular nature and the grace of the USN currently.  If the panglossian impossible happens and Korea reunifies it might be more important.  Speaking as a complete layman re the technical differences.  

I think there would be potential in a Australia-South Korea-Japan as the core.   Singapore would also be useful.  NZ would be traditional and welcome but is following a Bangledeshi peacekeepers-and-goodwill defence policy.  

Continued and consistent pursuit of the trade-and-cultural-exchange policies in the region would do no harm either.

[ Parent ]

Ever Increasing Ties (5.00 / 1) (#167)
by cam on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:50:33 PM EST

I'm pretty sure I've seen you pushing the East Asian Defence Conglomerate in your diary before. I like the concept, but including Taiwan would offend the proto-superpower of the region.

Yes I write of it often. While there is the China policy of "one nation, two systems" any defence arrangement with Taiwan would be impossible.

Malcolm Fraser was brutally right when he answered the question of choosing between Europe and Asia. It would depend what side China was on.

Classic quote.

I wonder if there's scope to share tech there though, since they rely pretty heavily on their peninsular nature and the grace of the USN currently.

With increased local investment, development and the resulting research, new technologies would be developed and could be shared. It may give some regional advantage economically.

I think there would be potential in a Australia-South Korea-Japan as the core.

I agree.

NZ would be traditional and welcome but is following a Bangledeshi peacekeepers-and-goodwill defence policy.

New Zealand anc Canada are both in benign neighbourhoods with a more heavily armed traditional ally in very close proximity.

Continued and consistent pursuit of the trade-and-cultural-exchange policies in the region would do no harm either.

I would like to see the ties to the extent that there not being there is unthinkable. Once the ties are that strong the likelihood of conflict becomes as remote as Australia and New Zealand going to war against each other, or Australia fighting a US/UK coalition.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Strong ties (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by Scrymarch on Sat May 24, 2003 at 10:05:37 AM EST

I would like to see the ties to the extent that there not being there is unthinkable. Once the ties are that strong the likelihood of conflict becomes as remote as Australia and New Zealand going to war against each other, or Australia fighting a US/UK coalition.

Hear hear.

[ Parent ]

i wrote an article about this (1.46 / 15) (#23)
by turmeric on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:16:09 AM EST

http://turmeric.freeshell.org/storytext/australiacanadaand_kazakhstan_the_t rue_axis_of_evil.html

you kipper-brits are up to your eyeballs in filthy capitalist greed. not responsible capitalism like we practice in the good ol' usa. and if we werent so busy hauling your ass out of trouble in every war (gallipoli, new guinea, etc) you would all be speaking japanese or turkish by now.

on the other hand, as my good friends smith and wesson like to say, guns dont kill people, people kill people. if it gets you out of your miserable dependence based frame of mind, i would urge you to immediately develop all the weapons of mass destruction that you can stuff in your little kangaroo pouches.

and lob a few on some of those chinese factories while you are at it. our mexican mequilladoras are hurting right now!


wow, scoop totally screwed up my url (2.00 / 5) (#24)
by turmeric on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:17:04 AM EST

http://turmeric.freeshell.org/storytext/australia__canada__and_kazakhstan__the_t rue_axis_of_evil.html

[ Parent ]
New Guinea? (4.00 / 3) (#81)
by Dr Ted on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:26:30 AM EST

Do you mean the war that FDR orchestrated? If you ARE referring to the War in the pacific, then all the US did was clean up the mess that they started, with thousands of Australians needlessly giving their lives to defend your so-called freedom. My grandfather was in New Guinea, so don't you dare get on your soapbox and think you know what happened there. Maybe you should walk the Kokoda trail there and see what kind of conditions our men had to endure, just so FD-fucking-R could get a back door into the war in europe, without looking like an agressor. Still not clear what I'm on about? Then take a look at this.

[ Parent ]
Bull (3.66 / 3) (#102)
by CENGEL3 on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:43:24 AM EST

I've read the conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor, maybe there is something to them, maybe not (I suspect not) but FDR would have to be a compulsive gambler to try to use Pearl as a stepping stone to get involved in the War in Europe.

The fact of the matter is that after Pearl the U.S. declared war on Japan... not Germany and Italy. It wasn't until after Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. that the way was clear for joining the war in europe.... and there was absolutely no assurance that Germany and Italy would declare war on the U.S. over Japan. If Adolf had half a brain he would have avoided declaring war on the U.S.  That would have forced FDR to try to explain to the American public why he was choosing to open up a second front against nations that hadn't attacked us over a nation that had just put a good chunk of our fleet on the bottom of the Pacific with a surprise attack... that was an arguement he couldn't have won. As it was, even with Germany and Italy declaring was on us he had a heck of a time preventing the U.S. from pursuiung a "Japan First" strategy.

Additionaly, whatever FDR may (or may not) have known, the decision to attack the U.S was entirely Japan's own....no one held a gun to thier head and made them do it (embargo's are not a valid excuse for war) ....just like it was entirely thier own responsibilty for waging wars of conquest on the Korean Penninsula and China.
Nor was the U.S. responsible for Hitlers decision to gobble up any piece of Europe he could get his hands.

Get over it, the U.S. is NOT responsible for starting ALL wars. Put the responsibility for WWII squarely where it belongs...the Axis powers.

Finaly, the reason Australia got involved in WWII had NOTHING to do with the U.S., it had everything to do with your relationship with The Commonwealth. Don't try to pretend that if Japan had only attacked British possesions rather then U.S. ones (a distinct possibility) that you would have stayed out of it.

No one doubts the valor or skill of the ANZAC troops but don't for a second try to pretend that WE got you into the war or created the "mess" in the first place. The "mess" was created because the leadership of Germany, Japan and Italy were power hungry meglomaniacs and you were a former colony of one of the few countries (the U.K.)with the balls and integrity to stand up to them.

Hundreds of thousands of men in ALL our countries gave thier lives trying to protect our COLLECTIVE freedom....stop trying to pretend it's anything different.

[ Parent ]

Here's my take: (4.87 / 8) (#26)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 18, 2003 at 10:19:27 AM EST

First, it doesn't help to have nukes unless you announce you have nukes. (Assuming you want them for defense and not offense). So, I wouldn't expect Australia to want to create bombs but keep it quiet. Second, announcing that they have or could have the bomb would destabilize relations with their neighbors and their own voters, so I wouldn't expect them to announce they have the bomb.

Unless...

If Australia has a concern that regional states might, themselves, decide to go nuclear or, in the long term, become expansionist, then Australia might want to be able to go nuclear as quickly as possible, if events warrant. Which sounds, to me, exactly what they have decided to do.

To me it that sounds completely appropriate - take the more peaceful course, but be prepared just in case a threat arises someday.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


well... (2.00 / 3) (#51)
by yammering communist on Sun May 18, 2003 at 01:54:29 PM EST

"First, it doesn't help to have nukes unless you announce you have nukes."

Tell that to Israel.

Or, for that matter, any former member of the Soviet Union.

In history or politics texts you can read a list of confirmed "nuclear nations" (US, UK, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan) - who compiles these things? And who believes them? They seem naive at best.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Ummmm.... So, how do you know Israel has nukes? (4.00 / 4) (#70)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 18, 2003 at 09:30:01 PM EST

Could it be, that they let the news "leak" to frighten their enemies, but didn't confirm it so they wouldn't piss off their allies?


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
Mordechai Vanunu (3.00 / 3) (#92)
by MartinS on Mon May 19, 2003 at 08:56:29 AM EST

Well after Mossad kidnapped Mordechai Vanunu for 'leaking' this information to the UK's Sunday Times some years back. He's be in solitary confinement since, nearly 15 years.

I read an interesting analysis on this issue some time back that suggested its nukes are the real reason the US (& the UK) supports Israel with conventional weapons supplies so freely. The logic goes; that without these weapons Israel is more like to succumb to its hostile neighbours, should this happen Israel would would resort to these weapons, the resulting fall out both actual and political would be to horrible to contemplate. Therefore it cannot be allowed to happen.

[ Parent ]

Interesting idea. (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:49:45 AM EST

Actually, that's a good conspiracy theory: under-the-table nuclear blackmail. "Support us or we'll make the oil fields glow...."


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


[ Parent ]
and it will work (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by asad on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:26:28 PM EST

until one of the arab countries around them gets nukes and sooner or later that will happen. I am betting that the entire area will be a radioactive wasteland in the next 50 years. Both sides are crazy enough to use them.

[ Parent ]
Nuclear Priorities (4.75 / 4) (#37)
by Mister Pmosh on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:35:11 AM EST

I think that using nuclear power should be the first priority, as it is generally the cleanest source of energy available right now. Solar, wind, and geothermal power is not very realistic, although it can be used in a few places, leaving nuclear as a better alternative to things like coal or petroleum based systems.

Nuclear weapons, on the other hand, are fairly easily built once you have waste from nuclear power plants. This doesn't mean that one necessarily has to do it, but that it can be done. I think that if Australia felt threatened, and did have nuclear power plants, they would pursue nuclear weapons systems. The U.S. would most likely help Australia in such a quest too.

Whether it's right or wrong is a question that I can't answer, not knowing enough of how things are in Australia.
"I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!" -- Carl

Nuclear plants (none / 0) (#44)
by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 12:07:58 PM EST

The strange thing is that despite being one of the world's leading producers of uranium, Australia has no nuclear power plants. Just one 10MW research facility that produces medical isotopes.

Other leading uranium producers, such as Canada, rely on nuclear power for energy. Australia sees it as an export, and continues to rely on coal, oil and gas power.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
What are you trying to say? (none / 0) (#144)
by wierdo on Tue May 20, 2003 at 12:14:11 PM EST

That the Australians don't care for the environment?

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Don't understand (none / 0) (#157)
by martman on Wed May 21, 2003 at 09:44:11 AM EST

Where did you get the idea that I was trying to say that?

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
Nuclear plants in Canada (none / 0) (#148)
by desiderata on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:07:37 PM EST

Actually, Canada doesn't rely on nuclear power and never has. Hydroelectric generation is by far our largest source of electricity, with fossil-fuel plants the second largest - together they account for over 85%. Nuclear is less than 15%. World electricity generation>

[ Parent ]
15% is... 15% (none / 0) (#156)
by martman on Wed May 21, 2003 at 09:43:46 AM EST

I wasn't aware of that figure, but 15% (approx) is still a fair portion of a nation's energy consumption. So Canada can be said to rely on nuclear power (albeit for a portion, rather than all, of its total power needs). That's what i meant, i didn't say that Canada relied exclusively on nuclear power. I don't think there's any country that does, is there?

As I said, in contrast, Australia's reliance on nuclear power is 0%. We just export the uranium we mine.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
But look at what kind of reactors Canada has... (4.00 / 2) (#161)
by Eric Green on Wed May 21, 2003 at 11:54:35 PM EST

CANDU heavy-water reactors, that is. Hot swap refueling capability, raw uranium (no need for expensive uranium enrichment programs), produces more plutonium due to greater percentage of U-238 in the fuel, just purrrfect for nuclear weapons production (as India proved when they used a CANDU to produce their own bomb). It's as if Canada's entire civilian nuclear power program was designed around a covert nuclear weapons program!
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]
Australia really is a cute country and all (1.94 / 18) (#39)
by Tex Bigballs on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:53:50 AM EST

with the kangaroos and pandas and so on. But I don't understand why every third world country under the sun feels the need to get their own nuclear weapons.

The fact is, when these broken down barnacle bombs turn out to not work properly, guess who the president of Australia calls next? That's right... old GW to come in and save the day.

Instead of wasting billions of dollars that Australia doesn't have on nukes, why don't they just send that money to the United States, because as we all know, when things start to get hot, the Americans are called in to come to the rescue.

Look at Canada, their military consists of three speedboats and a helicopter. They know that we're babysitting them. I think many of these other countries should follow suit.

I think Canada has a bright idea. (4.66 / 3) (#56)
by Kasreyn on Sun May 18, 2003 at 03:04:57 PM EST

"Hey, let's let the U.S. piss everyone off and fight all the wars to defend this continent. Then if anyone gets nuked, it'll be them. And our wind will blow the radioactive clouds, not south. Whee!"

Canada doesn't bother about its own defense because they know the U.S. is so determined to prove it can lick the world with both arms tied behind its back, that it will defend the entirety of North America all by itself. They're perfectly happy to let us do all the work, since we seem interested in it.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I meant 'Blow the radioactive clouds south' -nt (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Kasreyn on Sun May 18, 2003 at 04:01:21 PM EST

nt means no text!
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Wrong! (none / 0) (#120)
by yammering communist on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:09:01 PM EST

Having read the novel "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute, I can clearly claim that a large-scale nuclear conflict would kill the Aussies too!

It's in a book, so it's true!

But seriously, nobody's completely safe; a bunch of bombs going off anywhere will kick up a metric shitload of dust into the atmosphere, fucking up agriculture for everyone. Not to mention the fact that as a loyal US ally, you'd be one of the first to go. ;-)

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Hrm.. (none / 0) (#145)
by wierdo on Tue May 20, 2003 at 12:20:45 PM EST

I was somehow under the impression that the mixing of particulates between the northern and southern hemispheres was limited to at least some degree, much more so than within the hemispheres, in any event.

Could it be that in the next 50-100 years the axis of world power will shift to the southern hemisphere?

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
No we're not (none / 0) (#150)
by desiderata on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:32:46 PM EST

They're perfectly happy to let us do all the work, since we seem interested in it. No, really, we would love to spend as much as USians on defense.

[ Parent ]
These kind of comments are really getting dull (3.75 / 4) (#59)
by tetsuwan on Sun May 18, 2003 at 04:10:11 PM EST

Now go find your own '100% Americans' website.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

When you want things done right (4.33 / 6) (#66)
by evil roy on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:54:59 PM EST

You call in the Aussie SAS. Even your own military leaders know this. When the shit hits the fan it's the Aussie elites that get called in. The job is done and the Aussies go home - all of them. And the remnants of whatever yank special ops group they risked their arses to save get a story to tell.

[ Parent ]
Uneducated fool! (4.50 / 2) (#80)
by Dr Ted on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:01:04 AM EST

You sir, are an imbecile! First of all, we don't have pandas, that's China. We have maybe 4 in our zoos. Second, we don't have a president, we have a prime minister. If you paid attention to the goings on, even in your own country, you'd know that by now. Our PM recently attended a yankees game on a week long visit to the US. Thirdly, your president has recently commented on the effectiveness of our special forces (we also had no casualties, friendly fire or not).

Fourth, your comment on simply sending money to the US is EXACTLY why there is such anti-american sentiment around the globe. It seems US foreign policy is based on an idea that you WILL do as the US says AND pay homage to them or get the shite blown out of you and have your nation restructured so that you WILL obey and pay homage. And I think I can safely say that Australia as a whole and as a people do not want nukes because of the unwanted attention they create.

[ Parent ]
You've been trolled (4.66 / 6) (#84)
by TheModerate on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:47:35 AM EST

And next time you see a comment like this, and begin to have that feeling of indignation and your blood begins boiling, you need to learn to sit on your hands. But I feel for you. I hate trolls because they work so well on the most passionate of men---a kind we need so much more of. And to ask such a man to humble himself before such lameness and idiocy is...repulsive.

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

I knew It! (none / 0) (#89)
by cam on Mon May 19, 2003 at 06:56:23 AM EST

Our PM recently attended a yankees game on a week long visit to the US.

This is the Australian equivalent of going for Manly-Warringah, Collingwood or Brisbane Broncos. I recently saw a bumper sticker, "I love New York, but I hate the Yankees".

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Dont belive you... (none / 0) (#95)
by bil on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:47:33 AM EST

You expect us to belive you fought a whole war as a US ally and didn't lose a single man to the USAF?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Come on you'll have to make your trolls more realistic then that, I know your called 'the lucky county' but thats taking it too far.

bil

bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

Damn it, I can't resist a good troll... (none / 0) (#99)
by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:31:30 AM EST

Yes, it's true. Australian military casualties from the War in Iraq so far total zero. We have lost at least one journalist to a suicide bomber, though.

"Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
--P. J. O'Rourke

[ Parent ]
Shoo, Troll! Shoo! *swats with broom* (n/t) (none / 0) (#100)
by Mr.Surly on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:58:56 AM EST



[ Parent ]
an interesting aside you didn't elaborate on (4.00 / 7) (#52)
by yammering communist on Sun May 18, 2003 at 02:06:12 PM EST

one of the articles you linked to (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/16/1052885398462.html) goes in depth about the effects of the Bush administration's new "counter-proliferation" policy, the failings of the NPT, etc. - that recent US policy actions have affected a not-insignificant degree of international destabilization.

You Aussies have a decent conventional military, and, as you said, you have no real security threats as of right now. But nuclear capability is more of a status thing; nobody wants to use them. It's a kind of international dick-waving contest.

Anyway, Australia isn't completely innocent. Their shipments of assault rifles to Indonesia before, during, and after the recent East Timor genocide is one example; give me time, and I'll provide more.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


What happens when Indonesia/Malaysia go Nuke? (4.60 / 5) (#53)
by nomoreh1b on Sun May 18, 2003 at 02:17:16 PM EST

Iran has recently developed nuclear capability-and Iranian government officials have suggested that all Muslim countries should acquire nuclear weapons. In the case of Austrailia, it has two Muslim neighbors: Indonesia and Malaysia.

I persoanlly expect Austrailia can get nukes if there is ever real motivation: nearby neighbors going nuclear is the type of thing that might add to motivation-particularly if the US starts to show itself as a flakey ally.



oh, that's easy to see (none / 0) (#107)
by Shren on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:57:33 PM EST

  1. Indonesia aquires nukes
  2. Indonesia fires a warhead at Austrailia
  3. The USA fires enough nukes at Indonesia to sink it into the ocean
Unless the USA collapses under it's own weight or AU and the USA have a falling out, the USA can supply all of the nuclear deterrant that AU needs. It's too bad we give out all that shit for free, but selling nuclear deterrant would be too much like a protection racket.

[ Parent ]
Not quite so easy to see (none / 0) (#121)
by nomoreh1b on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:28:08 PM EST

1. Malasia and Indonesia acquire nukes
2. US lets China re-occupy Taiwan without doing much.
3. Terrorist organization nukes Washington DC-it isn't clear who did it--"usual suspects" take blame.
4. South Korea gets overrun by North Korea during the confusion immediately after 3 above.

Would AU consider acquring nukes then?

Personally, I think the United States _is_ coming apart at the seems. Hell, the US government can't even protect their borders against illegal immigration. It is just a matter of time before the collapse of the United States is reflected in abrogation of major treatly obligations. At that point, I would suggest that some countries like Austrailia will start to seriously consider their options.

P

[ Parent ]

Obligatory addition per the other site (none / 0) (#149)
by desiderata on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:29:18 PM EST

  • 1. Indonesia aquires nukes
  • 2. Indonesia fires a warhead at Austrailia
  • 3. The USA fires enough nukes at Indonesia to sink it into the ocean
  • 4. $$$Profit$$$

    [ Parent ]
  • Australia's Role in the Region (2.40 / 5) (#61)
    by coljac on Sun May 18, 2003 at 04:28:37 PM EST

    In my view, announcing or pursuing a nuclear program would seriously compromise Australia's role in the region. Australia can only be a credible player in Asia if it maintains a semblance of neutrality and consistently pushes a reasonable platform of peace, stability and human rights. Australia has traditionally had an excellent record on international cooperation - supporting and operating under the aegis of the U.N. for example - and is a vocal supporter of many international agreements from stopping whaling to the ICC to nuclear non-proliferation. Even on greenhouse gases we have a better record than some nations. As long as Australia's agenda is seen as a force for reason and modernity, what's best for the region and the world, we have a voice. If Australia is perceived as pushing the political or religious ideology of the West, no-one will listen.

    It is true that this is already almost an untenable position because of the Howard government's willingness to tow the US line in Iraq - the more Australia is identified with America, the more hostility it is bound to face from Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. Still, pursuing a nuclear weapons program would be seen as aggressive, destabilizing and hypocritical, and Australia the Western aggressor would not be a welcome or credible player in South East Asia.

    In any case, how many nuclear hawks are there really in Australia? Regardless of the uranium ore in the ground, nuclear weapons are expensive. Medicare would always be a more popular place to spend those millions.



    ---
    Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

    new zealand is the only credible player (2.40 / 5) (#85)
    by mjl on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:52:57 AM EST

    like you said, howard gave blowies to bush over iraq, their detention centers are a disgrace, and they cheat at sport.

    [ Parent ]
    Cheat? At Sport? Us??? (4.66 / 3) (#88)
    by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 05:57:55 AM EST

    Hey, attack our national character. Criticise our immigration policy. Abuse our politicians (please!). But never put down our sportsmen. They're all we've got left.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    I'm old enought to remember (5.00 / 5) (#93)
    by hengist on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:01:54 AM EST

    the underarm bowling incident.

    (WIth apologies to everyone out there who doesn't understand cricket)

    There can be no Pax Americana
    [ Parent ]

    The truth hurts (none / 0) (#98)
    by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:30:15 AM EST

    Australia loves winning at sport, and the latest test in the West Indies is just showing how much we just can't hack losing. I like it that we win a lot, but I'd much rather we won some, lost some, and were good sports doing both.

    The only recent incident that gave me some hope in our cricket team was Gilchrist doing a walk at the world cup. It made me all misty eyed. For me, that moment was far better than the lifting of the cup.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    If you want good sportsmanship... (none / 0) (#129)
    by ausduck on Tue May 20, 2003 at 01:08:43 AM EST

    ... go watch lawn bowls. People have made such a fuss over McGrath pointing at Sarwan and saying dirty words. Give the guy a break, he missed the first two tests because his wife has cancer, so his state of mind wasn't great.

    And certainly I would prefer a role-model such as McGrath than anyone on a rugby field, where it is good and proper to viciously scrape metal spikes over an opponent's head if he had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the ruck.

    [ Parent ]
    Sportmanship is dead (4.00 / 1) (#133)
    by monkeymind on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:48:32 AM EST

    and has been for a long time. Cricket has become a spiteful game of professionals. I have no problems with this.

    But the idea of 'it's just not cricket' belongs in a story of two up and WWII, cause it is history.

    Gilchrist is the exception that proves the rule. The fact that his doing the walk was reported as so exceptional in 'today's modern game' shows that the sportsmanship it was based on is gone.


    I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.
    [ Parent ]

    That's not cheating... (none / 0) (#128)
    by ausduck on Tue May 20, 2003 at 01:05:10 AM EST

    Underarm bowling was still allowed under the laws. There were several commentators who were expecting it.

    It wasn't in the traditional spirit of the game, but how can you say that something's not "one-day cricket"? Coloured shirts, white balls, fielding restrictions, argh.

    [ Parent ]
    I would almost consider this defamation... (2.08 / 12) (#62)
    by Deus Horribilus on Sun May 18, 2003 at 06:30:58 PM EST

    They are pretty controversial arguments, my friend. However, I know for a fact that they are complete and utter bullshit (excuse me, but I do not mince my words with imbeciles). The actual reason that such a large number of engineers and scientists work at Lucas Heights is because it is not *just* a nuclear research reactor.

    Lucas Heights is also the home to one of the largest materials research and testing facilities in the southern hemisphere, and also is home to major physical and chemical research institutes working on non-nuclear topics. Admittedly, much of it originated out of the presence of a research reactor, but their foci have changed over the years to the point wher the vast majority of their work is commercial or academic.

    The fact that you see fit to publish such foolish and poorly backed up arguments (with no understanding of the weapons manufacturing process required) is probably a desperate troll out of boredom, but be warned - Australia does NOT have freedom of speech, and I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if you ended up facing legal action over this obvious slander.

    Incidentally, the only attempt by Australia to create a nuclear weapons program ended before it had really begun, when plans were made and then scrapped for a facility in Jervis Bay.

    Whilst Reynolds has a valid point when he asks whether we have thrown the knowledge away, the truth is that we lack the technology to actually build a nuclear weapon of any substance. Any person who has studied nuclear physics would realise this.

    I fully believe that you have taken his arguments out of context (a modus operandi for the anti-nuclear crowd), and as a result slandered the hundreds of talented researchers who work at that research facility in order to try and push an unsubstantiated claim. I pity you.

    _________________________________________
    "Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."

    I think you mean libel. Slander is spoken. (n/t) (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by amike on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:17:20 PM EST



    ----------
    In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks for the personal attack, mate. (5.00 / 4) (#74)
    by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:39:27 PM EST

    Thanks for the pity. You're right that I have only a vague idea of the process of manufacturing weapons. Australia probably doesn't yet have the capability to build a nuclear device. Hey, this is all speculation, remember?

    So why not join in the discussion with your point of view, rather than going after the author with little barbs. I know Australians' right of free speech is only implied but hey, I'm mostly quoting journalistic or government sources so I figure i'm on safe ground here. If worst comes to worst at least I can still (legally) burn a flag.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    Actually, (none / 0) (#90)
    by Ward57 on Mon May 19, 2003 at 08:06:48 AM EST

    he took the original article as something of a barb. Okay, it was an accident, but he was annoyed by it, that's all.

    [ Parent ]
    No, you are quoting and misinterpreting sources. (none / 0) (#115)
    by Deus Horribilus on Mon May 19, 2003 at 06:21:12 PM EST

    Big difference. As a result you are making assertions about a government facility that are not only false, but detrimental to the reputation of the facility and the hundreds of people that work there.

    I will reiterate. YOU CANNOT MAKE A BOMB WITH A 10MW REACTOR. It just doesn't work. Hence, blind speculation about Australia's nuclear capability is simply misguided, and likely created by the anti-nuclear lobby who seek to misinform the greater populace through fear tactics.

    You also failed to mention the Jervis Bay project in your article, so I assume you had no idea that this was the only attempt made at a nuclear program in Australia, and it was scrapped before they built the foundations.

    Finally, I did have a point of view, and I stated it thus: my point of view is that you are talking out of your ass. Just hope that it doesn't get kicked someday.



    _________________________________________
    "Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."
    [ Parent ]

    Alrighty (none / 0) (#123)
    by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:02:24 PM EST

    Did I state that we're going to make a bomb with a 10MW reactor? If I implied that it was not my intention. The impression I got from studying the issue was that the Lucas Heights reactor was being used to maintain a larger than necessary knowledge base in the field of nuclear materials.

    As for the Jervis Bay project, I didn't mention it but I was aware of it. I lived in Jervis Bay for the first 8 years of my life. Do you always assume that people are unaware of anything they don't vocalise?

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    Implication indeed... (none / 0) (#131)
    by Deus Horribilus on Tue May 20, 2003 at 02:20:02 AM EST

    It was these quotes that formed the crux of my earlier arguments:

    Quote 1:
    Wayne Reynolds, who authored "Australia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb", claims that the Lucas Heights plant runs with a higher than necessary crew of engineers and scientists in order to maintain a large enough knowledge base to create a weapon. "Otherwise there seem to be an awful lot of people out there just to make medical isotopes," he says.

    Note: I have said earlier, medical isotopes are not the sole purpose of the Lucas Heights Laboratories - the vast majority are employed in environmental science, physics or chemistry related research.

    Quote 2:
    So presumably, with both enough uranium available and the expertise, Australia is capable of fast tracking a nuclear program.

    I reiterate: Can't be done. Not unless the government decides to build a fast breeder reactor along with a uranium enriching plant. Considering the time it has taken them so far in building the new research reactor, I doubt they would ever be able to achieve this feat in ten years, let alone one.

    Incidentally, anyone with a web browser has the "technological expertise" to build a nuclear bomb. However, actually having the technology to build one is something different entirely. This is why I disagree so vehemently with what you claim in your article.

    Finally, and this is something due to public misinformation, nuclear weapons are a miniscule aspect of the wider field of nuclear science. It is only because nuclear science is represented in the media in a negative light that the assumption is made. A short foray into a textbook on nuclear physics would prove this fact.

    Incidentally, a coal-fired power station releases more radioactive material into the air (through trace amounts in fuel) than a nuclear power station will produce in waste in total over a same time period. If you don't believe me, google it. Why Greenpeace doesn't protest in Gippsland (major brown coal region) is beyond me...

    _________________________________________
    "Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."
    [ Parent ]

    Who is being defamatory? (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by fatdingo on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:32:56 AM EST

    The author quoted published sources. You, on the other hand, are insinuating that he is an imbecile.

    [ Parent ]
    oops, my bad [n/t] (1.00 / 5) (#65)
    by Deus Horribilus on Sun May 18, 2003 at 07:37:35 PM EST



    _________________________________________
    "Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."
    Sensible and reasonable (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by towerssotall on Sun May 18, 2003 at 08:08:08 PM EST

    Like most Australian policy of the middle of the century the position is pretty sensible.

    until we have a need of nukes we won't have them, but yes the capability is there to develop them very quickly.

    sensible, cautious, but mostly admirable.

    in the early 70's when it seemed possible that a collapse of american power in the pacific could occur (in the dieing days of the vietnam war) there was a crash program to develop a nuclear program - one bomb doth not a program make.

    There's still a huge patch of cleared land near Jervis Bay where the breeder eractor was going to be built.

    With the stabilisation of american power the program was abandoned.


    "the fate of Charles the First, hath only made kings more subtle
    - not more just."

    - - Thomas Paine

    Indonesia's nuclear program (4.83 / 6) (#75)
    by martman on Sun May 18, 2003 at 11:46:56 PM EST

    I found some information on Indonesia's nuclear program shortly after taking the article out of editing mode (curses!). Apparently Indonesia is sitting on a huge pile of coal, that's easy to get to. An early 90's german study found that nuclear power, for them, would not be economically viable.

    However, in spite of the economic disadvantages in 1996 Indonesia fast-tracked it's first nuclear energy plant into construction. It will be the first of 12 plants, and it comes online in 2003 (it may already be operational). There have been public protests and accidents throughout the plant's construction

    The Indonesian National Nuclear Agency has information on their program. This (dutch?) news site has an exerpt from the book "Beyond the Bomb - The Extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Future of Nuclear Weapons". The excerpt describes the background and the possible political motives of the Indonesian move.

    Maybe it's no coincidence that around the time that Indonesia's first nuclear power plant comes on line 3 articles are published in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding Australia's speculated nuclear capability.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    Canada should get nukes (3.30 / 10) (#77)
    by jmv on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:18:03 AM EST

    I don't know about Australia, but I'm getting to think that Canada should get nuclear weapons because of some rogue nation on the south. Face it, they tried invading us twice. What's to stop them from trying again except that? Plus, it worked for North Korea so far (Saddam must be sorry he didn't get one on time)...

    When was the second time? (none / 0) (#114)
    by LilDebbie on Mon May 19, 2003 at 03:44:33 PM EST

    I only know the War of 1812, and to be fair, we were invading British territory, not a sovereign Canada.

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    the Fenian Raids... (nt) (none / 0) (#142)
    by Run4YourLives on Tue May 20, 2003 at 11:21:39 AM EST



    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]
    Canadians and their massive inferiority complex (none / 0) (#117)
    by Demiurge on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:03:46 PM EST

    Mexico is able to accept they're insignificant internationally compared to the US, why can't Canadians realize that as well. But no, it's bitch bitch bitch.

    [ Parent ]
    Canada/US relations (none / 0) (#147)
    by desiderata on Tue May 20, 2003 at 03:40:29 PM EST

    Well, we handed them their asses both times. I don't think Junior could spell Canada, let alone find it on the map.

    [ Parent ]
    Canada's nuclear program (4.00 / 1) (#160)
    by Eric Green on Wed May 21, 2003 at 11:48:00 PM EST

    Canada actually has a very active and energetic "civilian" nuclear program. Their CANDU reactors are purportedly for civilian use, but were used by both India and South Korea to jump-start their nuclear weapons programs because of a nifty capability -- the ability to hot-swap fuel rods so that you can extract plutonium from the reactor without any tell-tale shutdowns. In short, CANDU is almost tailor-made for nuclear weapons production -- and Canada has lots of them. Hmm... veddy interesting...

    If Canada wanted the atomic bomb, they could probably assemble a few hundred of them within a few months just by reprocessing all their stashed spent CANDU fuel rods that have been piling up for the past 40+ years. In fact, they may even be at the same level as Israel -- with lots of atomic bomb "pits" sitting around ready to be assembled into bombs, but officially no nuclear weapons.
    --
    You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
    [ Parent ]

    I wouldn't think there would be a need. (4.25 / 4) (#83)
    by Armada on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:29:37 AM EST

    If Indonesia had nuclear capabilities I imagine the US government would probably take more concern about it than Austrailia. While you don't hear much about it, the US and UK have been extremely involved in India/Pakistan nuclear testing and would probably do the same if a similar situation happened with Austrailia/Indonesia.

    Basically, regardless of what happens, the US and UK will probably freak out and get involved like a concerned family member. Citizens in countries with nuclear capabilities always worry more about other countries with nukes than they do about their own country using them.

    When the US used them against Japan, that was the one and only time the US could technically get away with using such a massive weapon. Had the US populace known that such a thing existed beforehand, the bombs would have probably never been dropped for fear of public concern that Japan had and would use such a weapon as well.

    you're assuming (none / 0) (#136)
    by martingale on Tue May 20, 2003 at 06:30:30 AM EST

    You're assuming that by the time Indonesia was ready to be a threat, the UK and US would not have their hands full elsewhere. However, it's unlikely that Indonesia would pursue this course unless many other nations were doing so concurrently (Otherwise Indonesia would stand out, precisely as you suggest).

    I would (actually *do*) expect a uniform increase across the board. Every nation that can, must (or will face the consequences we've seen in Afghanistan and Iraq) pursue all avenues to protect itself. The US has made clear that its goal is to dominate the globe militarily, which is unacceptable and therefore forces the issue.

    Australia will be concerned when this happens on its doorstep, but will its crying foul be heard over "more important" countries' crying foul elsewhere? I don't think so.

    [ Parent ]

    hmm (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Armada on Sun May 25, 2003 at 05:36:52 AM EST

    [i]The US has made clear that its goal is to dominate the globe militarily, which is unacceptable and therefore forces the issue.[/i]

    I don't know if this is the case. As an American, I think there's considerable dissent that I can see that citizen's of other countries cannot within my own country. While Bush's approval ratings are high, even Republicans would rather not be involved in a number of countries overseas militarily.

    Basically, the momentum will eventually die, and it will die quickly. Bush cannot go into a presidential election with another war. The isolationists in the Republican party would fight him harshly over it. The Republicans are also having problems locally now against Libertarians who have been taking votes.

    At the Federal level, which is all that folks in other countries really see, the Republican party is stronger and more cohesive than the Democrats, but at state and local levels, the Democrats are doing better, esp with the Green party being merely the work of Nader. Without Nader, there is no Green party, without Browne or anyone else, the Libertarians still exist and continue to grow.

    I've talked with others about the state of the Democratic party, and the next 5 years to a decade look pretty grim on the federal level. But a revolution might be in the works. One that pulls back to Union, Environmental, and other roots and gets knocked off of the special interest kick that they are currently so dependent on. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the party is falling apart, but there is no good policies that the Democrats stand firmly on. What will happen is they will work something out and make a good comeback probably around 2008 or 2012.

    [i]Australia will be concerned when this happens on its doorstep, but will its crying foul be heard over "more important" countries' crying foul elsewhere? I don't think so. [/i]

    Bush has too close of ties to the UK, India, Canada, & Australia as kin to be worried about 3rd world countries. The only two countries I think that Bush would place over Austrailia in a nuclear concern area would be Japan and Germany. Germany has little if anything to worry about. Japan might with N. Korea.

    I think as a whole that if Bush does what he says and gets the US military out of Iraq in a timely fashion (ie before the election) there is little chance he will lose the elections in 2004. The Republicans (esp isolationists & Midwest Republicans) want to see things end there ASAP and for their kids to come home. I don't think he's going to disappoint them either.

    He wants to be a two-term president and he doesn't need another war to do it. And he wouldn't go to war with N. Korea anyway. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up showing that not only can he use the US govt and his cabinet to dominate militarily with Iraq, but he can also dominate diplomatically with N. Korea.

    I could be wrong though. It's just that as a US citizen, I don't understand where a great deal of this international hostility is coming from. Under a Democrat, the response to the WTC attacks would have been almost exactly the same, only they wouldn't have had the expertise of the Bush cabinet to deal with it in a very appropriate manner.

    Bush steps on some tails, I know, but that's what makes him a leader. I didn't vote for him. I personally don't like him, but he got what needed to be done, done. I wouldn't have went to war in Iraq, but Bush, and Republicans are principled, and they do not stray from those principles. That's what makes the party very strong at the federal level, and rather weak locally. The Democrats (the party leaders and elected officials) don't have principles that they all as a unit try to adhere to. This makes them currently weak federally. Locally, some of the best elected officials are Democrats. They aren't always fisically responsible, but they know the people they represent.

    anyway I've talked too long and you'll probably never read this.

    [ Parent ]

    Does Iran have nuclear weapons? (3.66 / 3) (#87)
    by Amorsen on Mon May 19, 2003 at 05:43:58 AM EST

    It is clear that they have a nuclear weapons program. I have not found any evidence that they have nuclear devices yet. I would be grateful for a link.

    No nukes...yet (1.40 / 5) (#106)
    by StrifeZ on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:44:28 PM EST

    Not yet, but they do have a covert weapons program apparently. Theres zero chance of them getting the bomb though. The israelis will destroy it or we'll instigate regime change first.

    Must be hard to be Iran- being sandwitched between 3 early stage democracies (Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan). Granted, Iraq and Afghanistan are early and have their problems, some major some minor, but this isnt Warcraft III. We made a comitment and it will be done, even if we have to send our 10,000 troops in Afghanistan to go kill some more Taliban to get the point across.


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    [ Parent ]
    What's it like (1.00 / 1) (#170)
    by DominantParadigm on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:00:52 PM EST

    Being a worthless excuse for a human being? Just curious.

    Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


    [ Parent ]
    dunno but (none / 0) (#109)
    by asad on Mon May 19, 2003 at 01:21:04 PM EST

    the CIA keeps saying they are only a few years away from it every few years ;) at this rate they should get there oh in about 200 years. I wouldn't trust any links on the Iranian nuclear program there's just too much bias out there, it's like trying to figure out how many nukes Israel has, it's clear that they have some but everyone makes up numbers about how many. Nukes and the web don't combine very well, it's too easy for any random person to claim to have inside knowlege and you'll never be able to verify its authenticity.

    [ Parent ]
    I don't know, (none / 0) (#135)
    by lucius on Tue May 20, 2003 at 06:15:28 AM EST

    but I was recently in Iran and while there I met a whole bunch of former soviets (Russians, Belarussians and Ukrainians) on a tour group. They were all (the young ones) exremely articulate in English, and they seemed to be being treated pretty well by their tour guides.

    I asked them why so many of them were in Iran in one place and at one time, and they told me that their parents were all engineers at the Bushehr Nuclear Station.

    Of course, this story means nothing, but I enjoy telling it. On a more serious note, can anyone tell me why Iran would build a weapons reactor so close to a hostile country (Iraq), in a port city in a well trafficked sea lane (Persian Gulf) and among a potentially dissatisfied minority ethnic group (Arabs)?

    I personally would have stuck the plant in the middle of Yazd province, had it actually been a nuclear weapons plant, and not a power plant as they say.

    [ Parent ]

    security-if attacked or in case of an accident-nt- (none / 0) (#138)
    by lemming prophet on Tue May 20, 2003 at 08:20:36 AM EST


    --
    Follow me.
    [ Parent ]
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean, (none / 0) (#139)
    by lucius on Tue May 20, 2003 at 08:28:34 AM EST

    but it's also a relatively well populated area, and AFAIK an important port city.

    [ Parent ]
    That's it, I'm moving to Australia (none / 0) (#94)
    by Silent Chris on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:05:50 AM EST

    We're generally a peripheral player on the world stage, not a great political or military power.

    I've been thinking Canada all this time but it's just too close (enough nukes would set it ablaze as well).  Do you guys accept Americans?

    Probably... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by martman on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:25:20 AM EST

    But there's a queue. And I think we'd put you in jail until it's your turn. Seriously.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    Accepting Americans (none / 0) (#101)
    by mjs on Mon May 19, 2003 at 11:35:23 AM EST

    Would it help if we went to Canada first?

    [ Parent ]
    Very much so (none / 0) (#118)
    by Pseudonym on Mon May 19, 2003 at 09:28:20 PM EST

    My wife is American. They let her in with no difficulties at all.

    We don't have a huge problem with illegal immigration from the US, so it should be easy.



    sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
    [ Parent ]
    They don't need to. (3.75 / 4) (#105)
    by StrifeZ on Mon May 19, 2003 at 12:41:16 PM EST

    They don't need to.

    As not only a US Ally, but also a US Military Ally, Austrailia is under protection of the US's strategic missile umbrella. On September 12th 2001, when the US was attacked and NATO activated the mutual defense clause in the charter, effectivly going to a state of war against Al Queda and the Taliban, Austrailia also stood up for common defense (even though it isnt part of NATO). Basically, Austrailian soliders are some of the most highly trained in reliable in the world and their powerful navy (powerful relative to other countries, not the US) was integral to enforcing sanctions against Iraq in the Persian Gulf. Since they basically already have free mutual defense with the US and a free protective strategic missile unbrella, theres no need for them to develop them.

    Countries like Japan, Austrailia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Sweden, Poland, Kazakstan, Ukraine and a few others are all so called nuclear threshold countries - countries with the technical capabilities and natural resources and proven know how to build fission (maybe even fusion) based nuclear weapons within a year, yet choose not to because of international backlash, arms agreements, and realization that it would serve them no real purpose since both the US and Russia have 10,400 and 8500 nuclear weapons a respectivly, that cost a few billion a year to just store. Its not worth it, so they wont do it.

    Besides, if Indonesia and Austrailia ever came to blows, the Austrailians would flatten the Indonesians. The Austrailians have US and British weapons and tactics (PGMs, M-16s, modern Main Battle Tanks, F-16s, Harriers, F-15s). The Indonesians, like most of the third world, has vintage Soviet Arms. As 25 years of air and land warfare have shown (particularly Israeli's 90-0 route of the Syrian Airforce in 1982), Soviet weapon systems are no match for US weapons, especially when the wielder of the US weapons tends to be far better trained.

    Austrailian special forces apparently did important operations during the Iraq War and American Special Forces have gone on the record sayign that they were pround and honored to serve with them


    KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
    Slightly wide of the mark (4.50 / 4) (#122)
    by cam on Mon May 19, 2003 at 10:59:10 PM EST

    Australia also stood up for common defense (even though it isnt part of NATO).

    Howard activated a clause in the ANZUS Treaty.

    The Austrailians have US and British weapons and tactics (PGMs, M-16s, modern Main Battle Tanks, F-16s, Harriers, F-15s).

    Australia's main aircraft are F18's and F111's. The Australian Armies main battle tank is the German Leopard.

    The Indonesians, like most of the third world, has vintage Soviet Arms.

    The Indonesian Air Force has F16's. They have had US support and arms through most of the second half of the 20th C. Australian Sabres were also sold to Indonesia in the 1960's. Indonesia has had access to western weaponry. The invasion of East Timor was done with western weaponry which was sold to Indonesia on the proviso that it would not be used for expansion. Indonesia has a man heavy army, of which half are Military Police more suited to a dictator requiring civil control.

    cam
    Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
    [ Parent ]

    M16? Or Steyr? (none / 0) (#132)
    by martman on Tue May 20, 2003 at 04:08:31 AM EST

    I don't think that the Australian Army's primary weapon is M16s. M16A1's were used by scouts in earlier conflicts (eg. Vietnam) but even then the primary infantry weapon was the SLR.

    Currently the standard issue weapons to the Royal Australian Infantry are the F88 AUSTEYR and the F89 Minimi Light Support Weapon (pronounced 'mi-ni-mai', not like the Austin Powers midget clone...).

    The AUSTEYR is a variant on the Steyr rifle designed for the ADF.

    "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."
    --P. J. O'Rourke

    [ Parent ]
    styer (none / 0) (#146)
    by drgonzo on Tue May 20, 2003 at 01:00:46 PM EST

    hi

    maby you didn't know but this weapon is called styer AUG or (where i live and where this one is produced) its STRG 77 (short vor sturmgewehr = assault rifle)

    but austria is not allowed to export weaponst so clones are produced somewhere in the far east

    [ Parent ]

    austeyr (none / 0) (#153)
    by thomas on Wed May 21, 2003 at 03:26:32 AM EST

    I believe the "steyr"s used in New Zealand and Australia are in fact manufactured in Australia, and, from what I've been told, are of extremely low quality compared to the original Austrian-made version.

    War never determines who is right; only who is left.
    [ Parent ]

    more than slightly. (none / 0) (#130)
    by towerssotall on Tue May 20, 2003 at 01:21:12 AM EST

    The above poster has dealt with this but it needs more work.

    The Australian MBT's consist of a training cadre of ancient Leopard I's

    They would not survive contact with a serious enemy.

    The RAAF has almost no EW capability, and has certainly never flown F-16's, F-15's or Harriers.

    (Yes I know they think they have EW but talk to the navy people who've exercised against them)

    The Navy on the other hand has no capacity to operate in the face of hostile airpower, and while there have been promises of Air Warfare destroyers these are no match for real air-power and have not been actually ordered (10 years minumum till we see them).

    The USA is still operating (to my knowledge) under Nixon's "Guam Doctrine" which states that allies of the USA should defend themselves except in the event of superpower attack.

    (to prevent US allies running their defence budgets down to the point of uselessness - with good reason)

    Yes Australia could probably defend itself against the indo's

    But don't think that with current resources it would be easy.

    "the fate of Charles the First, hath only made kings more subtle
    - not more just."

    - - Thomas Paine
    [ Parent ]

    The Guam doctorine... (none / 0) (#178)
    by Symmetry on Sat Jun 21, 2003 at 02:56:19 PM EST

    seems to be pretty dead, especially since the US is the only superpower left. Australia has been America's most reliable ally for the last hundred years, and if some US President were to refuse to help Australia in the face of foreign inasion, I would be willing to bet money that at least half the Joint CHeifs would resign in protest.
    Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume you opponent is the ignorant one-until you can show it isn't you. -M.N. Plano
    [ Parent ]
    Obligatory Tom Lehrer Reference (none / 0) (#112)
    by epepke on Mon May 19, 2003 at 02:21:46 PM EST

    Who's Next?


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    I was going to write a k5 story on this (none / 0) (#124)
    by OzJuggler on Tue May 20, 2003 at 12:29:41 AM EST

    The topic is basically nuclear proliferation.
    Actually I have most of it written already. I started last Friday. It is mostly inspired by an interview with Richard Butler which screened on SBS last Wednesday night, but it adds some info about other nuclear threats too.

    People have posted some links and info in the comments below that remind me there are way more events and angles in this topic than I know about, but I guess that hasn't ever stopped anyone from posting a story before.
    I just don't want a "hohum heard it all before" reaction. I will probably still post it, probably tomorrow.

    By the way, the idea of Australia building nukes at any point during my lifetime is so laughable that I couldn't have dreamed it up even if I had a brain transplant from a hand-waving lefty greenie conspiracy-theoretic imbecile. All the more astonishing then that it apparently nearly happened. They kept that one pretty quiet. Incredible.

    Could Australia be a nuclear power? Well, like everyone else has said already: As though being in bed with Uncle Sam isn't protection enough.
    At this point I'd be really tempted to quip something like "When you jump into bed with Uncle Sam, you're really jumping into bed with every country Uncle Sam has ever jumped into bed with", but that's best saved for a totally different discussion. :-)
    "And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together
    at Osama's homo abortion pot and commie jizzporium." - Jon Stewart's gift to Bill O'Reilly, 7 Dec 2005.

    ANZAC is the answer. (none / 0) (#134)
    by monkeymind on Tue May 20, 2003 at 05:06:24 AM EST

    I know that Australia toyed with the nuke option in the 70's but I have serious doubts about any revival of this in the medium term.

    My solution to the long-term security of Australia?

    Realise that NZ has it right for once and join them and forget everything else. The comment was made earlier "The USA is still operating (to my knowledge) under Nixon's "Guam Doctrine" which states that allies of the USA should defend themselves except in the event of superpower attack."

    This may or may not be true but it is along the lines of what I suspected for years. My translation for 2003 goes "Unless China invades, you are on your own". For China to be bothering with the Global small fry that Australia is then the USA would be involved anyway.

    So where is the benefit of the alliance to Australia, did anyone say free trade?

    Seriously though I'm tired of Australian troops being used to fight other people's wars...


    I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.

    Singapore (none / 0) (#137)
    by cam on Tue May 20, 2003 at 07:34:58 AM EST

    So where is the benefit of the alliance to Australia, did anyone say free trade?

    Singapore is currently getting a FTA ratified, they didnt send troops to Afghanistan or Iraq.

    cam
    Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
    [ Parent ]

    Australia is conquered already... (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by gadster on Tue May 20, 2003 at 09:41:57 AM EST

    What is war for? To gain territory, trading advantage, plunder natural resources? To increase the attacker's power? Just what is war about nowadays? North Korea's sabre rattling of late is just clumsy diplomacy. Look at the guy's haircut! He hasn't got a clue. Australia has no need for any defences at all. We were 'conquered' covertly in the 70s by the USA. In 72 we voted a, well, almost socialist government into power. It didn't go down real well with the US Administration at the time. There were whispers about the Nugan Hand Bank (google that), and good old Adnan Khashoggi was instrumental in a deal that was 'unhelpful' to the Labor government of the time. Richard Perle would understand the feeling... Our Prime Minister refers to Bush as 'The President'! Our Head of State is the Queen of ENGLAND! The Queen's representative here is the Govenor General, who is stood aside at the moment, due to pending rape charges. But that is another story.

    Strange bedfellows (none / 0) (#159)
    by AZhun on Wed May 21, 2003 at 10:39:12 PM EST

    The intitial questions do relate to classical answers of territory, plunder, culteral dominance.

    Add measures of racial skin tones from an overbearing mother who oft times decimated Aussie lads against the Boer or on the Somme.

    Add a neighbor with the 5th largest air force and only you to screw with for territory to spread their growing masses.

    As to conquered by the Yanks, your missing the secondary effect...

    If pictures of Geo Washington on green paper buys London too late for Walt Disney to make Windsor Castle into the Mad Hatter Tea Party...

    Do they have to take Quebec along with the Roos?

    Sibling rivalry from the black sheep side of the family - knowing full well that those POMEs you got would have gone to Savanah Georgia if not for Yorktown ;-)



    No, seriously somewhere in the '70s the "R"s linked with the Yanks at the "inteligence" level.

    Australia doesn't need to produce the bomb it already has enough on tap.


    HMAS Melborne was a Can Opener...
    Remember the survivors and crews that she took!

    [ Parent ]
    Simple Answer (2.00 / 3) (#151)
    by egg troll on Tue May 20, 2003 at 09:20:07 PM EST

    You never really know when the Aboriginies will finally rise up and throw off the shackles of their white masters!

    He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
    Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

    Well as a New Zealander (none / 0) (#168)
    by jeremyn on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:58:37 AM EST

    Although many NZ'ers get off to mocking Australia, personally I'd be happy to know that if a possible threat(such as N. Korea, China(I don't want to live in New Tibet)) started to destabilize the Pacific, that Australia might hold them back. Frankly, I'm scared of a communist state attacking us. And an Australia with nuclear weapons, even dirty bombs, would do a lot to allieviate that fear. Come on Mr Howard!

    Australia may already have access to them... (none / 0) (#174)
    by srn on Mon May 26, 2003 at 12:27:34 AM EST

    I have a colleague who's an ex-naval officer (submariner, primarily). He was, for a year, one of the officers responsible for decrypting NATO communications at one of our naval bases.

    Everytime the subject of nuclear weapons comes up (which it seems to around here fairly often) he mutters to himself, and says things like "Of course, although all our weapon systems use the same warhead mounting systems as the nuclear versions, we don't have any nukes. Oh no." and then refuses to talk any more...

    I suspect we've got some arrangement with the US where they either have or will give us nukes if we need them...

    Nuclear tests in Australia (none / 0) (#175)
    by Coram on Tue May 27, 2003 at 09:14:30 AM EST

    Don't forget about the British nuclear tests in the outback back in the 50s. Research wasn't always kept to good ole Lucas Heights.

    I notice Leichardt (another Sydney suburb) is still sporting "Nuclear free zone" signs all over the place. I don't know what the council is trying to prove by doing that.

    --
    judo ergo sum

    Could Australia be a nuclear power? | 178 comments (150 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
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