Australian news, and some related international items

‘Nuclear will never happen in the Latrobe Valley’

Nuclear discussion is a hot topic in the Latrobe Valley, Latrobe Valley Express, Michelle Slater, 26 Aug 20,  “……..

‘Nuclear will never happen in the Latrobe Valley’

The call to lift the state’s prohibition on nuclear is not being backed by all unions, as some community groups come out swinging against any nuclear proposal in the Latrobe Valley.

Many concerns surrounded the region’s geographical instability, the use of water, dangerous waste and the need to forge ahead with large-scale renewables.

The Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union doubled down on its opposition in its submission into the Inquiry into Nuclear Prohibition.

It instead called for large scale renewables such as the Star of the South offshore wind farm off the Gippsland coast to provide a just transition for workers and communities.

“Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean, and popular. Nuclear is simply not,” the ETU submission said.

“Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive and our government must plan for and support a fair and just transition for energy workers, their communities and the Australian people.”

Voices of the Valley convenor Wendy Farmer backed the ETU stance, rejecting claims from the CFMMEU that nuclear would provide a “just transition” for the Valley.

Ms Farmer also rigorously argued that there was no social licence from within the local community to go ahead with nuclear.

She said any nuclear plant in the Valley, particularly if it was built on the former Hazelwood site, would be too close to homes in a seismically unstable location.

“Nuclear will never happen in the

Latrobe Valley, it’s too expensive and will take too long to build. Do we just care about jobs and not a healthy community? This would impact all of Gippsland,” Ms Farmer said.

“Yes, we need a proper transition and secure energy, but nuclear is not the way to go when we need the federal government’s will to build more renewables.”

Community over Mining spokesperson Tracey Anton has voiced her concerns about using water to rehabilitate the Latrobe Valley’s coal mines.

The community advocate said nuclear was unsuitable for the region due to the volume of water it would require, creating a burden on downstream agriculture and environmental needs.

“We’ve already over-allocated our ground and surface water, how do you fit in another industry that needs more water when we don’t have enough as it is,” Ms Anton said.

“The (state) government can’t even figure out how to rehabilitate the existing coal pits, or even how to transport asbestos safely, never mind nuclear.”

Friends of the Earth’s Yes2Renewables campaigner Patrick Simons has been working with the local proponents for the proposed Delburn wind farm, helping campaign for renewables in Gippsland.

Mr Simons said the conversations around nuclear were a “distraction” from discussing rolling out renewables in a decentralised grid.

“There is surplus grid capacity in Gippsland,” he said.

“Renewable energy built in the region will complement wind power operating in western Victoria, where the grid is constrained, making the energy system overall more resilient.”……..

nuclear power remains unlawful in Australia under federal legislation.

The Victorian government has no plans for a nuclear power industry, which has been banned since 1983 and is instead focusing on “cheaper, safer and more sustainable alternatives in the form of renewable energy and storage”.

A state government spokeswoman pointed to Victoria’s ambitious 50 per cent renewables targets by 2030, creating more than 24,000 jobs, “particularly in regional areas”……..

August 27, 2020 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Victoria

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