Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power?

New Nationals leader David Littleproud is keeping up the party’s support for nuclear power in Australia, but is the debate dead in the political water? The post Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power? appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power? — RenewEconomy New Nationals leader David Littleproud says he will push for a debate on lifting legal bans which prohibit nuclear power plants in Australia, and that he plans to raise the issue with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Littleproud complained about the “demonisation” of nuclear power “without even putting the lens over new nuclear technology like small-scale modular.”

Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power?

Dr. Jim Green 1 June 2022 51

11

Shares

Share11

Tweet

New Nationals leader David Littleproud says he will push for a debate on lifting legal bans which prohibit nuclear power plants in Australia, and that he plans to raise the issue with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Littleproud complained about the “demonisation” of nuclear power “without even putting the lens over new nuclear technology like small-scale modular.”

“Our party room will come to a position on that and it’s one that obviously we’re very passionate about,” Littleproud said. “We should back ourselves as Australians to do it better and safer than anyone else. But we need to educate before we legislate.”

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has also voiced support for nuclear power in recent days. Australia should embrace nuclear power to address climate change, Joyce said at a May 31 press conference, and Australia should be building small modular reactors.

Joyce also said at his press conference that he wouldn’t support a conversation within his party-room about the need to transition away from coal. So Joyce isn’t getting serious about climate

change – he’s playing politics.

Wedging the Labor Party on nuclear power is an old playbook that has never worked. John Howard supported nuclear power in his final years in office, swept up by President George Bush’s plans for a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

Has the Coalition gone cold on nuclear power?

Dr. Jim Green 1 June 2022 51

11

Shares

Share11

Tweet

New Nationals leader David Littleproud says he will push for a debate on lifting legal bans which prohibit nuclear power plants in Australia, and that he plans to raise the issue with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Littleproud complained about the “demonisation” of nuclear power “without even putting the lens over new nuclear technology like small-scale modular.”

“Our party room will come to a position on that and it’s one that obviously we’re very passionate about,” Littleproud said. “We should back ourselves as Australians to do it better and safer than anyone else. But we need to educate before we legislate.”

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has also voiced support for nuclear power in recent days. Australia should embrace nuclear power to address climate change, Joyce said at a May 31 press conference, and Australia should be building small modular reactors.

Joyce also said at his press conference that he wouldn’t support a conversation within his party-room about the need to transition away from coal. So Joyce isn’t getting serious about climate change – he’s playing politics.

Wedging the Labor Party on nuclear power is an old playbook that has never worked. John Howard supported nuclear power in his final years in office, swept up by President George Bush’s plans for a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?gdpr=0&us_privacy=1—&client=ca-pub-4737885209238599&output=html&h=280&slotname=8795554017&adk=2740222603&adf=1334940724&pi=t.ma~as.8795554017&w=775&fwrn=4&fwrnh=100&lmt=1654137745&rafmt=1&psa=0&format=775×280&url=https%3A%2F%2Freneweconomy.com.au%2Fhas-the-coalition-gone-cold-on-nuclear-power%2F&fwr=0&fwrattr=true&rpe=1&resp_fmts=3&wgl=1&uach=WyJXaW5kb3dzIiwiMTQuMC4wIiwieDg2IiwiIiwiMTAyLjAuNTAwNS42MyIsW10sbnVsbCxudWxsLCI2NCIsW1siIE5vdCBBO0JyYW5kIiwiOTkuMC4wLjAiXSxbIkNocm9taXVtIiwiMTAyLjAuNTAwNS42MyJdLFsiR29vZ2xlIENocm9tZSIsIjEwMi4wLjUwMDUuNjMiXV0sZmFsc2Vd&dt=1654155544418&bpp=5&bdt=761&idt=489&shv=r20220531&mjsv=m202205260101&ptt=9&saldr=aa&abxe=1&correlator=3401575100784&rume=1&frm=20&pv=2&ga_vid=1723826971.1654155544&ga_sid=1654155545&ga_hid=1665910088&ga_fc=1&u_tz=600&u_his=1&u_h=864&u_w=1536&u_ah=816&u_aw=1536&u_cd=24&u_sd=1.25&dmc=8&adx=190&ady=1232&biw=1519&bih=656&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=44759876%2C44759927%2C44759837%2C31065544%2C31067748%2C31061691%2C31065824%2C31061693&oid=2&pvsid=4420401308535831&pem=493&tmod=1562510587&uas=0&nvt=1&eae=0&fc=896&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1536%2C0%2C1536%2C816%2C1536%2C656&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7CeEbr%7C&abl=CS&pfx=0&fu=128&bc=31&ifi=1&uci=a!1&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=w9mlhSFC4V&p=https%3A//reneweconomy.com.au&dtd=507

The Labor Party wasn’t wedged, but the Coalition was. At least 22 Coalition candidates publicly distanced themselves from the government’s pro-nuclear policy during the 2007 election campaign and the policy was ditched immediately after the election was lost.

Economist Professor John Quiggin notes that, in practice, support for nuclear power in Australia is support for coal. It’s a safe bet that Joyce hopes that promoting nuclear power will slow the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, even if a reactor is never built.

Coalition culture warriors should take another look at the November 2021 article by veteran Murdoch columnist Paul Kelly.

Kelly pointed to the “popular pull of renewables” and their falling costs. He noted that “nuclear plant construction remains poor in advanced OECD nations, the main reason being not safety but its weak business case”. Kelly also questioned the rhetoric around small modular reactors given that “none has so far been built in developed nations”.

On the politics, Kelly wrote:

“The populist conservatives have form. Before the 2019 poll, they campaigned on the mad idea that Morrison follow Donald Trump and quit the Paris Agreement. Now they campaign on the equally mad but more dangerous idea that he seek to split the country by running on nuclear power… As for those conservatives who say Morrison’s job is to fight Labor, the answer is simple. His job is to beat Labor. That’s hard enough now; vesting the Coalition with an unnecessary ideological crusade that will crash and burn only means he would have no chance.”

The Coalition cools on nuclear

Joyce said he “would love to see the Labor party come onboard” with his nuclear push. But nuclear power doesn’t enjoy support within the Coalition and there is zero chance of Labor coming onboard.

It was John Howard’s Coalition government that banned nuclear power in Australia. That ban has been retained by every subsequent government including the Coalition governments led by Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

New Liberal leader Peter Dutton said on May 31 that nuclear power is currently “not on the table” for policy consideration and that he wants to reduce power prices, not increase them.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan supports nuclear power even though he has himself noted that nuclear power would increase power bills.

State coalition parties

An interesting feature of the 2019 federal parliamentary nuclear inquiry was that a number of state Coalition governments and parties made submissions opposing nuclear power while none made submissions supporting it.

The South Australian Liberal government’s submission said that “nuclear power remains unviable now and into the foreseeable future”.

The Tasmanian Liberal government’s submission said that “Tasmania will not pursue nuclear energy … and considers that Australia’s energy needs are best met by pursuing renewable energy options, such as pumped  hydro, with additional firming capacity supported through greater grid

interconnection.”

Even the Queensland Liberal-National Party’s submission said that “the LNP does not support lifting the bipartisan ban on nuclear energy generation”, citing “unacceptably high health and safety risks” and “significant negative consequences for the environment”. The submission said that “Australia’s rich renewable energy resources are more affordable and bring less risk than the elevated cost and risk associated with nuclear energy”.

Likewise, the NSW Coalition government isn’t interested in nuclear power. Treasurer Matt Kean said that nuclear power was like “chasing a unicorn” and “doesn’t stack up at the moment on practical grounds or on economic grounds”. Kean said that nuclear is several times more expensive than renewables backed up with energy storage — a claim supported by CSIRO research.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described nuclear power as the “loopy current fad … which is the current weapon of mass distraction for the backbench.”

Teal independents

Perhaps the nuclear advocates within the Coalition think they might be able to win support from teal community independents elected to parliament at the May 21 election?

June 2, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: