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Up until 7 September, submissions to Federal Nuclear Inquiry were 50/50 pro and con

Submissions to the Federal Nuclear Inquiry? What are people saying?

Up until 7 September, 38 submissions have been published on the website of the Federal Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia

The numbers of submissions  for and against nuclear power are almost 50/50. However, as some submissions may be confidential, we can’t really be sure of the numbers.

The main arguments In the pro nuclear submissions.

The topic mentioned most often was – advocating for thorium nuclear reactors. Pro nuclear submissions also tended to focus on a call for public education about nuclear power, and a need to remove Australia’s laws that prohibit the nuclear industry. Several submissions concentrated on the question of nuclear wastes – arguing that this was not such a problem and a solution would be found. Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) were recommended, as cost effective.

The main arguments in the anti nuclear submissions

Overwhelmingly, the most selected topic was economics – the costs of nuclear power, and the government subsidies needed. Nearly as often mentioned was renewable energy, and its role in reducing greenhouse gases. Another big concern was the safety risks of nuclearpower. There were several mentions of water use of nuclear power, of radioactive waste problems, and risks of terrorism and of nuclear weapons proliferation.

There were a variety of other concerns raised by both sides. Radiation is a hotly argued issue. Its hazards are discussed by Paul Savi (Submission No 4), but Erlc Gribble (No 38) argues that low dose radiation is not harmful, in fact can be beneficial (radiation hormesis).

The anti nuclear arguments included social and political claims –  that nuclear power has no social licence (EcoEnviro Pty Ltd – Richard Finlay-Jones Submisson 6), – that there is historic Australian opposition – hence the ban, (Greig  Myer Submission 25),  – the undemocratic history of nuclear activities in Australia,(Paul Savi, Submission 4)

Other anti-nuclear claims- that Australia shouldn’t be the first to try out SMRs, that renewables would provide more employment, that Aboriginals’ historic care of the land should be respected, (Trish Frail 32) .

On the pro nuclear side, there’s some exasperation at Australians’ lack of knowledge about nuclear power. Robert Gishubl (Submission 28) rails at “the irrational faith based objections many people have”. Eric Gribble (38) writes of “a widespread paranoid concern” about radiation, – “It is easy to be a green. You simply oppose everything “.

Pro nuclear suggestions in include first getting an international nuclear waste facility in South Australia, which would then fund the development of Generation IV nuclear reactors –  (Matthew Gustafson,  (20).   Keith Thompson (11) suggests that the government offer generous awards for people who produce solutions to nuclear waste disposal.  Geoffrey Hudson (37) warns on delay problems for land-based reactors, and advocates reactors on barges at sea. Ian Fischer(No 8) recommends a voluntary postal plebiscite to allow Australians to decide about a nuclear future. Eric Gribble (38) is keen on nuclear power’s ability to further Australia’s role in space research.
Even on the pro nuclear side, there are some reservations, and not all are sceptical of renewable energy.  Goronwy Price (35) sees nuclear as a support to renewables. Geoff Billard, (31)’s support for nuclear power is conditional on it being cost-effective.

At this stage, it’s hard to assess the general opinions on ” the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia”.  Submissions are accepted until September 16th. So there will probably a new rash of submissions published, over the next weeks. .  The ones published so far have been relatively short. We can expect some longer and more detailed ones from various companies and organisations.


September 12, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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