Australian news, and some related international items

Australian local governments vote to retain prohibitions on nuclear power

Local government talks nuclear, Cosmos 15 July 22

Energy shortages across the world have shone a harsh spotlight on the way forward for energy production, and renewed the nuclear power debate in Australia. But what stance are our local government representatives taking on this divisive issue?

What do our grass-roots leaders think about nuclear power?

……. A motion to call on the federal government to remove restrictions to progressing nuclear energy in Australia has recently been defeated by a narrow margin at the National General Assembly in Canberra.

But the heated debate included a claim from one councillor he wouldn’t mind if it was in his own backyard.

Delegates from Australia’s 537 councils took part in the June 19-22 conference, billed by its organisers the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) as “the largest most influential local government conference in Australia”.

Motion number 52, submitted by Gunnedah Shire Council in north-west New South Wales, called on the federal government to “remove restrictions preventing the development of nuclear energy as a viable option in the production of base-load electricity following the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations throughout Australia”.

Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey told delegates……………. Nuclear power production has developed exponentially since its early days and is now considered to be safe and reeliable with nations such as Germany [ really?] and France leading the way.

The plea brought an emotional response from Inner West (Sydney) Councillor Mark Drury, who quoted the 2021-22 CSIRO GenCost report.

“Let’s not go through this again, delegates,” Drury said.

“Let us not repeat the mistakes of the last 10 years. Let us not sing from the Mineral Council songsheet. Let us move on.

“Interestingly, the restriction Gunnedah wants to remove is the 1999 [Prime Minister John] Howard ban on ministers considering nuclear power. Since 1999, no Liberal prime minister has changed that. I know Albo [Prime Minister Anthony Albanese] won’t.

“Why? Because nuclear power is expensive. It is really, really expensive.”

Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said even people who supported nuclear energy had told him they did not want it in their own backyards.

He quoted the 2018 CSIRO GenCost report that stated by 2050, nuclear energy would cost $16,000 per kilowatt to produce, while solar energy would cost $600 per kilowatt.

“The same report identified it would take 9.4 years before we saw a nuclear generation plant in this country,” Burnett said. “In context, in the Gladstone region, with our beautiful deepwater harbour and our industrial port, the Gladstone Port Corporation estimates we’ve got upwards of 2,500 wind towers coming into the Gladstone Port over the next 10 years.”…………..

The motion was defeated 109 to 93 votes.

The construction and operation of nuclear power stations was prohibited in Australia in 1998.


July 14, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

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