Maralinga Nuclear Bomb Tests 50th Anniversary today

September 27, 2006

September 27, 2006 is the 50th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test at Maralinga in South Australia, with commemorations to be held across the country.

A total of seven nuclear bombs were tested at Maralinga, the first of which was similar in size to the 'Fat Man' plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II.

Dr. Jim Green, national co-ordinator of the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, said: "Almost the entire Australian continent was dusted with radioactive fallout from the British bomb tests, and millions of Australians received small radiation doses.”

“The legacy of environmental contamination remains to this day. The impacts on Indigenous communities were severe, including radioactive contamination and forced relocation to missions." (Personal testimonies of the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta at < www.iratiwanti.org >.)

"The racism associated with the bomb tests persists. Today we are calling on BHP Billiton to relinquish its legal privileges, in particular its exemption from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act in relation to the Roxby Downs uranium mine.  BHP can choose which Aboriginal groups to consult with, determine the nature and manner of any consultation with Aboriginal communities, and decide the level of protection, if any, that Aboriginal heritage sites receive. These legal exemptions smack of the racism and paternalism which characterised the Maralinga nuclear bomb tests," Dr. Green said.

Events taking place across the country to commemorate the Maralinga anniversary include a wreath laying in Melbourne, protests, memorial picnics and concerts.

For details of national events and contact people, and background information on the nuclear bomb tests, see < http://www.geocities.com/jimgreen3/maralinga50.html >.

Contact: Jim Green 0417 318 368
National co-ordinator, Beyond Nuclear Initiative
National nuclear campaigner, Friends of the Earth