Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Howard's disingenuous debate about Nuclear Power in Australia

Elliot K - Indymedia Tuesday January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007: Possible nuclear power sites tagged: Canberra-based think tank, the Australia Institute, has identified at least 19 potential locations for nuclear power plant sites. Two thirds of Australians oppose nuclear power plants in their local area according to new research by the Australia Institute. The finding is made in Who Wants a Nuclear Power Plant?, a paper analysing support for nuclear power in Australia by Institute Deputy Director Andrew Macintosh...

"We can not have this debate without considering siting issues..."

Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast and Bribie Island have been named in the Australia Institute's final list of possible sites around Australia. Deputy director of the left-wing institute Andrew McIntosh says the sites all met four primary criteria.

"First one was sites near the national electricity market or electricity grid," he said. "The second was near centre of demand, the third one was near transport infrastructure and the final one was near the coast, because you need water or you need sea water for cooling purposes."

However, new research by the institute suggests two-thirds of Australians are opposed to having a nuclear power plant in their local area. Their paper found 50 per cent of people are against having nuclear power plants in Australia, but opposition increases when people consider the prospect of a plant built in their neighbourhood.

"At the most basic level, the public cannot accurately evaluate whether it is willing to support a nuclear industry unless it has an idea about where the power plants are likely to be located. In the absence of this information, the Government is asking the community to make decisions in the abstract without being fully informed," says Mr McIntosh in the research paper, "Siting Nuclear Power Plants in Australia - Where would they go?."

Mr McIntosh says opposition is highest in middle income households and among women. "One of the real blockages to nuclear power being an option is the extent of opposition to it," he said. "But it's mainly because we need to solve climate change rapidly and with this amount of opposition you're just not going to get there. It's going to take you two decades to get anywhere near the position where you're going to be ready to establish a large scale nuclear power industry."

Polling for the Institute by Newspoll shows that while 50 per cent of people oppose the construction of nuclear power plants in Australia, opposition escalates when people consider the prospect of a plant being sited in their local area.

"Middle Australia is most concerned," Mr Macintosh said. "A large 73 per cent of middle income households are opposed to living near a nuclear plant, compared to 61 per cent of low income and 63 per cent of high income households. A large proportion of women (75 per cent) and people with children (72 per cent) are also opposed to living near a nuclear power plant."

In a second paper, Siting Nuclear Power Plants in Australia, Mr Macintosh identifies 19 likely sites for nuclear power plants in Australia.

Launching the papers today, Institute Director Dr Clive Hamilton said "Overseas
experience shows that the siting of power plants is one of the most politically contentious aspects of the nuclear debate. The Prime Minister has called for a thorough and full-blooded debate about nuclear energy," Dr Hamilton said.

"We can not have this debate without considering siting issues"

Based on four primary and six secondary criteria, including proximity to seawater for cooling and access to the national electricity grid, areas identified as possible nuclear plant sites are:

· in Queensland – Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast and Bribie Island;
· in NSW/ACT – Port Stephens, Central Coast, Botany Bay, Port Kembla and Jervis Bay/Sussex Inlet;
· in Victoria – South Gippsland, Western Port, Port Phillip and Portland; and
· in South Australia – Mt Gambier/Millicent, Port Adelaide and Port Augusta/Port Pirie.



Siting Nuclear Power Plants in Australia: Where would they go? - January 2007, A Macintosh - PDF

Who Wants a Nuclear Power Plant: Support for nuclear power in Australia - January 2007, A Macintosh - PDF

Media release - TAI
Possible nuclear power sites tagged in Qld - ABC


RobertP said...


The debate about where to site nuclear plants is unnecessary - there really is no need for nuclear power in Australia because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salt or other substance so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But with transmission losses at only about 3% per 1000 km, it is entirely feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity throughout Australia from the Australian desert using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. A small portion of the Australian desert would be sufficient to meet all of the country's needs for electricity.

Waste heat from electricity generation in a CSP plant can be used to create fresh water by desalination of sea water: a very useful by-product in arid regions.

In the 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk and www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .


elliot said...

I totally agree.