Australian news, and some related international items

Coalition nuclear stooge MPs line up to push for removing Australia’s prohibition on nuclear activities

Support for nuclear energy heating up across government, SMH,  Mike Foley, February 8, 2020 — “……. Coalition MPs have spoken out on nuclear energy as a solution to the need to decarbonise the economy, arguing the government can maintain Australia’s long-held moratorium on nuclear power and take modest steps in early stage research and development of new technologies.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, inner-city Melbourne Liberal MP Katie Allen said Australia has a “unique opportunity” to help lead the way on research and development of “safer and more effective” nuclear energy.

Dr Allen, a paediatrician and medical researcher with a PhD, said “question marks remain” over the potential to use renewables as the sole source to power Australia’s energy grid……

Queensland LNP MP Ted O’Brien, who represents the Fairfax electorate on the Sunshine Coast, chaired a parliamentary committee which last year tabled a report titled Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology, calling for a partial lift in Australia’s 20-year-old nuclear moratorium.

Rather than a total and immediate lift of the moratorium, only a partial lift for new and emerging technologies is proposed, subject to the results of a technology assessment and a commitment to community consent as a condition of approval for nuclear facilities,” it said.

Mr O’Brien said without lifting the moratorium the government could commission assessments recommended by his committee into “economic, technological and readiness assessments” for nuclear energy.

Among the Coalition MPs on the government-dominated committee who endorsed the report were Trent Zimmerman, from inner-city electorate North Sydney, Bridget Archer from Bass in northern Tasmania, Nationals MP for Lyne David Gillespie, West Australian MP Rick Wilson and North Queensland Nationals MP Keith Pitt, who was this week promoted to cabinet as Resources Minister.

Former deputy prime minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has also promoted nuclear energy.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor have said they’re not considering lifting the nuclear moratorium due to lack of bipartisan support for nuclear energy.

Mr Taylor said the government is “taking the time to thoroughly consider the [committee’s] recommendations” and it had “no plans to lift the longstanding moratorium”.

Advocates argue nuclear power production costs can fall with new technology, highlighting the emerging technology of small to medium-sized reactors. However, there are no commercial examples of the new technology in operation.

Labor MPs issued a dissenting report which said the inquiry heard from experts who argued renewable energy offered better prospects to replace fossil fuels and the safety record of nuclear energy made it too risky to consider.

“In fact the events [like Fukushima], innovations and advances in renewable energy, and emerging climate and energy system developments of the last ten years have made nuclear power even less relevant and appropriate in the Australian context at a time when nuclear power is already in decline elsewhere,” the report said.

February 9, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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