Racefan’s Ramblings

Collecting my thoughts, news and inspirations on Tech, Psychology, Motorsport and … well anything!! . . . . . . . . . STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN LIMITED SPARE TIME!

Summary of the Australian Nuclear Power Debate

Posted by Pat Kershaw on November 22, 2006

coolingtowers221106.jpgI saw this as I was scrolling through a few days backlog.

1. It is a long post, but covers a lot of territory.
2. I have been to several doctors and hurt my bad back in the process (getting an X-Ray!) I will be tied up a bit next week as I have ANOTHER MRI and more specialists. Starting to look like they may actually operate!!!

Anyway, the nuclear issue in Australia is really kicking on. I have a few other posts that should be before this quote from the ABC, but they will come 2-morrow!!! I decided to summarize into one post. They are all basically from the ABC News Online; although that not where I first found it, they do good, clear concise stories!

To start with our Queensland premier getting a bit hot under the collar. Why?? well… Generally speaking, the feds are likely to overrule the state governments, as they refuse to say they won’t… so as a starting point we will take this summary of an article (ABC) about QLD NOT doing the uranium thing…

Queensland won’t mine uranium… (any more…)

Queensland Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace says there are no plans to make uranium deposits such as Ben Lomond, west of Townsville, operational mines.
The federal review of uranium mining and nuclear power has found the energy source to be a practical option for Australia.[… as a result speculation is] that the Queensland Labor Party will reverse its ban on uranium mining at its next Caucus meeting.

We’ve always fought against that particular facility opening up. It’s not part of our policy and I know I’ll be making a stand against any mining at Ben Lomond and, of course, nuclear power in the northern region,” he said.

My Question is: Why would the Qld premier be so upset? … Well this is another part of it:

Commonwealth could override states on nuclear power

A constitutional expert says the Federal Government could override state legislation banning nuclear power plants [as a result of] Dr Ziggy Switkowski’s nuclear review has found that Australia could start producing nuclear power within 15 years.

The Federal Government will consider constructing 25 nuclear power plants…[while] Premiers and Opposition leaders have said they will not allow nuclear power plants to be built in their states.

But Curtin University Professor Greg Craven says … “The reality is that the only organisation that is ever going to build a nuclear power plant of any sort is going to be a corporation and the effect of the WorkChoices decision is pretty much that the Commonwealth can stop or allow a corporation to do almost anything it wants, simply by making a law addressed to a corporation,”

Meanwhile, Australian councils who have declared themselves “nuclear free” are demanding the Federal Government commission a public inquiry into nuclear power.

Paul Tully from the Australian Local Government Nuclear Free Zones Secretariat says “This report was prepared behind closed doors – there was no real public input,”… “There should be an opportunity for an open public inquiry, probably headed by a retired judge, so that the public has the opportunity and the confidence of having some input into a report rather than having one behind closed doors.” [ More than 100 councils have declared that they are against nuclear power]

Even Queensland Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney says he has no philosophical objection to nuclear power, but he does not think it would work in his state.”We have got such a wonderful opportunity with the mouth of the mine coal-fired power stations that have been the base of Queensland’s economy now for many years,” …”It would have to be some sort of a huge subsidy for nuclear power for it to compete with that.”

eanwhile, South Australian Opposition Leader Iain Evans has criticised comments by Premier Mike Rann on nuclear energy…. Mr Rann [said] he will consider legislating against a nuclear power plant in South Australia if necessary.

But Mr Evans says a plant would not be viable for decades so the pledge is simply a stunt. “He didn’t say that he wouldn’t use electricity generated by nuclear power in other states through the interconnectors,” …”So if you examine the policy underneath it, you know, where does it lead? So it was just a news grab, it was a stunt in my view.”

“[This] really is, I guess, a classic stunt by the Premier. {ed… another stunt by another premier, who’da thunk it!}

So why so upset ??? So What got everyone so fred up??? Well here is a summary (ABC again) of an opinion piece of the man who headed up “THE report”.

Its the report!!!!

The review was established to examine uranium mining, value-added processing and the contribution of nuclear energy in Australia in the longer term. It is intended to provide a factual base and an analytical framework to encourage informed community discussion. The draft report provides an opportunity for the public to comment on the task force’s findings.

The task force examined :

  1. the capacity for Australia to increase uranium mining and exports [with] 38 per cent of known low cost global reserves …[and] …23 per cent of global production, Australia is well positioned to meet growing market demand. Value adding … could be worth $1.8 billion annually.
  2. Australia’s demand for electricity will more than double before 2050.
  3. More than two-thirds of existing electricity generation will need to be substantially upgraded or replaced and new capacity added. This additional capacity will need to use near-zero greenhouse gas emitting technology if Australia is just to keep greenhouse gas emissions at today’s levels.
  4. On average, nuclear power would be 20–50 per cent more expensive than coal in Australia but can become competitive …[if charging for ]… carbon dioxide emissions.
  5. Nuclear power has a low emissions signature.
  6. The safe disposal of low and intermediate-level waste is practiced today at many sites around the world. Australia has suitable locations for deep underground repositories for the safe storage of high level waste and spent nuclear fuel.
  7. Many Australians associate nuclear power with the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The task force visited these sites and found that while the health and safety legacy from Chernobyl is real, the nuclear industry is far safer than other energy-related industries. However, no industry is risk-free.[ ed note, 2500 people per YEAR die digging up coal, less than that have EVER died from ALL the nuclear accidents recorded!]
  8. Nuclear weapons proliferation is another issue of concern to the public. Australian involvement … would not change the risks.

Nuclear power today is a mature, safe, and relatively clean means of generating baseload electricity. Nuclear power is an option that Australia should seriously consider if it is to meet its growing energy demand and reduce its greenhouse gas signature.

But then….see it is only a report, their are other professionals, like the former head of the National Farmers Federation? , Ian McFarlane, who say there are other “obvious” problems. Gee I wish I had 20/20 foresight like him…
Heres the next to last installment to this saga

Electricity cost could rise 30 per cent, Macfarlane says.

The author of the nuclear report says any price increase would not be noticeable.Electricity cost could rise 30 per cent, Macfarlane says

Australian consumers are being warned to expect a major increase in the cost of electricity if nuclear power and clean coal technologies are adopted. Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says nuclear power and more immediately, clean coal technologies, will increase power costs by as much as 30 per cent.

“It would be sometime in the next decade and they will see the cost of electricity rise by perhaps as much as 20 to 30 per cent,” he said. He says nuclear power will [then] become more commercially viable relative to coal power.

The nuclear power report’s author Ziggy Switkowski says … “The changes are probably not going to be noticeable at the household budget level,”

As well as suggesting 25 nuclear power stations could be built, the nuclear report also highlights the need for a price penalty to be placed on coal power pollution.

The Minerals Council’s chief Mitch Hooke is wary, “This has to be about real solutions,” he said.

And thats it for this for now, I have a heap of psych and pain management stuff, a couple of good motor races coming up, and a drugged out brain for 3/4 of the day!!!


powered by performancing firefox


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s