Monday, November 06, 2006

More Government Bungling on Howards Nuclear Utopia

by Elliot K - Perth Indymedia 2006-11-06 2:05 PM +0800

November 6, 2006 - Minister unaware of own nuclear power ban: The Minister for Finance, who also represents Prime Minister Howard, Senator Nick Minchin, was unaware that his own government had banned the construction of Nuclear Power stations in 1998.

Mr Howard's recent uranium industry-spun statements blatantly dismiss the reality that nuclear energy is a prohibitively expensive, non-enewable energy source, which will only add to our current problems of dangerous, intractable waste and the spread of weapons of mass destruction...

Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown asked the Minister about the ban in question time today. The ban was legislated in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (page 3, section 10 "Prohibition on certain nuclear installations"**).

Senator Brown said that the act was passed six years after the Rio Earth Summit agreement to tackle climate change. "Before the Howard government proceeds with nuclear power stations or uuranium enrichment, it will have to reverse its own ban," Senator Brown said. Senator Minchin confirmed Senator Brown's claim after question time.

Prime Minister Howard's blind ambition for fast-tracking uranium enrichment and nuclear power in Australia is looking increasingly weak after the national nuclear safeguards regulator cited serious obstacles last month.

On October 9, Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said the annual report of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO) lists a range of serious obstacles to Prime Minister Howard's plan to manufacture and lease nuclear fuel.

"The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office says that it would not be practical for Australia to manufacture nuclear fuel assemblies for all its uranium customers," Senator Milne said. "It also identified matters of cost, infrastructure, availability of experienced workforce and substantial lead times.

She said Mr Howard's desperate comments show "just how little effort the government has put into thinking through the implications of developing a uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel leasing industry in Australia. The government would achieve much more if it refocused its efforts on building Australia's capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency," said the Senator in a statement.


**[ARPANS act 1998:

Prohibition on certain nuclear installations

(1) Nothing in this Act is to be taken to authorise the construction or operation of any of the following nuclear installations:

(a) a nuclear fuel fabrication plant;
(b) a nuclear power plant;
(c) an enrichment plant;
(d) a reprocessing facility.

(2) The CEO must not issue a licence under section 32 in respect of any of the facilities mentioned in subsection (1).

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) - Legislative Framework
Nuclear news - June-September 2006
ANSTO Safety and Radiation Services
Secret nuclear research in PM's electorate poses national security risk - 2003
Serious obstacles to PM's nuclear dreams

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