Nuclear Energy and Active Citizenship: Analysing data and information

You should now have quite a list of things that people did to influence what happened at Lucas Heights. Some of them probably seem more exciting than others. This does not mean, however, that they were the most efficient (taking the smallest amounts of time, energy and money to get results), effective (having the biggest influence on the final result), or even ethical (the right way to behave).

The government did make a decision to replace the reactor. That was not the end of the matter, however, because of the problem of what to do with nuclear waste. Look at the table of some of the ongoing activity in Figure 5 before you complete your next task. This is only a small selection of things that happened.

Election results can also be an indicator of public feeling. Look up the results for Hughes - the area surrounding Lucas Heights - at http://www.aec.gov.au/ then > Election 2004 > House of Representatives Results > New South Wales > Hughes

What do these results suggest about the general reaction to the government’s decisions? How would reactor supporters have felt about them? What about those opposing the reactor? Might there be other reasons for the voting pattern?

Your task now will be to rate some of the actions taken when you know some of the results of the Lucas Heights debate. Choose six of the actions from your list and write them on small cards. (Take a range of actions, not just the most colourful and exciting ones.) Consider each action and place it on ratings ladders in terms of its efficiency, effectiveness and ethics (Figure 6).

If your teacher has provided large copies for a wall display, write the actions on small cards to pin up. Other students will do the same, but their ratings may not agree with yours! You may not have exact proof/ hard evidence to go on, but some questions are provided to help you decide where to put them.

Efficiency

How long did this action take to do? (ages/ a while/ hardly any time)

How much did it cost? (a lot of money/ a bit of money/ hardly anything)

How many people were needed for this action? (hundreds/ less than 50/ a few)

Effectiveness

How much notice do you think was taken of this particular action (by the government/ citizens/ the media)?

How much would this have probably influenced the final decisions? (lots/ a bit/ not much)

Ethics

According to your standards of behaviour, do you think this activity was: Legal? Honest? Reasonable? Necessary? Right?