Australian news, and some related international items

Prime Minister Scott Morrison resuscitates the nightmare dream of the nuclear chain in Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says nuclear would be considered if the investment case stacks up, Daniel Wills, State Political Editor, The Advertiser  October 8, 2018

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison says he is willing to do “whatever it takes” to bring down power bills, and would consider going nuclear if he was convinced it made economic sense.

Mr Morrison has opened a new flank in the energy battle by saying he was open-minded about nuclear, a move South Australia’s former Labor premier Jay Weatherill also once entertained.

Mr Morrison told 2GB radio in Sydney he would overturn a legal ban on building nuclear reactors in Australia if he believed it would put downward pressure on power prices.

Mr Morrison said he would do “whatever it takes” to make electricity cheaper, and have no issues allowing nuclear reactors to be built if it would make lower household bills.

But he warned the investment case to build a nuclear reactor did not “stack up”.

SA’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, called by Mr Weatherill and completed in 2016, was arguably the most comprehensive examination of the matter undertaken in Australia.

Its strongest recommendation was to pursue construction of a high-level dump for international waste, but the commission also suggested national bans on nuclear be loosened.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would overturn the ban on building nuclear reactors if he believed it would bring down power prices. File image.

It concluded that nuclear power did not make sense in SA because of the state’s relatively low energy demand, and starting from scratch meant a delay until at least 2030 to build a facility.

“This allows 14 years for establishing regulatory systems and expertise, undertaking a detailed assessment of the nuclear supply chain before pre-licensing activities, licensing, project development and construction for a large plant,” the report stated.

“This is an ambitious time frame, but the commission considers it reasonable if there were an imperative.”

It said the economic case for a nuclear plant would strengthen if governments put in place aggressive policies to cut carbon emissions in a bid to stave off catastrophic climate change.

“The potential viability of a nuclear power plant in SA improved under more stringent carbon policies, but remained unviable even under the strong carbon price scenario,” the report found. Former prime minister Tony Abbott last month called for an end to the nuclear ban.

The push to revive the nuclear debate comes after Mr Morrison declared dead the national energy guarantee policy of his predecessor.

Opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler has held out the prospect of Labor reviving the policy in government after industry consultation.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said: “At the same time as the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster transforms into a massive solar farm, Morrison thinks it’s time to take Australia nuclear. You’ve got to be kidding”.

October 9, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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