Howard Govt steps up pro-nuclear rhetoric


Prime Minister John Howard said Australia had to consider the nuclear power option, given the nation had the largest uranium deposits in the world, and it had to be debated as part of the response to global warming, reported The Australian (17 October 2006, p.1).

Macfarlane weighs in: Industry and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has largely stayed out of the power debate until now, later claimed Australia could start construction on a nuclear power plant within 10 years.

Mood changing: Mr Macfarlane said the mood towards nuclear energy in Australia was likely to change when the community understood its ability to supply affordable electricity while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. "Around the world, uranium is coming in from the cold," he said.

Greenhouse the key driver: The shift was not being driven primarily by the need for energy – there were hundreds of years in coal and gas reserves. Demand was being propelled by communities seeking to balance their economic development and the challenge of curbing greenhouse emissions.

Coastal real estate wanted: While no sites have yet been identified in Australia, the article says cost-effective nuclear power stations would need to be built on a series on coastal sites about 100km from major cities and energy demand.

The hit list: Clarence Hardy, president of the Pacific Nuclear Council, said identifying locations would only be feasible if there was clear public acceptance of the technology and an established regulatory framework. He said possible locations included:

# the coast south and north of Perth;
# the Hunter Valley in NSW or the coast north of Newcastle;
# the Iron Triangle in South Australia;
# north of Brisbane; and
# the coast south of Victoria’s La Trobe Valley.

Switkowski report due in Nov: The Prime Minister’s taskforce reviewing uranium, mining, enrichment and nuclear energy in Australia, headed by former telecommunications executive and nuclear scientist Ziggy Switkowski, is due to table its draft findings next month.

The Australian, 17/10/2006, p. 1

Source: Erisk Net  

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