Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Senator Campbell is a nuclear obscenity

JAN 8 07, Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has said that the WA Government should reassess it's ban on Uranium Mining because nuclear power could significantly help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the WA Government is standing firm on its anti-uranium mining stance.

Despite nuclear energy being wrongly touted as a "clean and green" energy source, the Howard government continues to push it's obscene suggestion that Nuclear Energy is a solution to Climate Change. Firstly, Nuclear power is still as radioactive, dangerous, heavily subsidised by taxpayers, and as hideously xpensive as it ever was.

But now the uranium and nuclear industries want to increase profit using global warming as an excuse. They want to leave future generations to deal with the masses of toxic radioactive waste. The Howard government must realise that Nuclear power will not stop global warming.

Indeed, replacing polluting coal power with another environmental disaster, nuclear power, is clearly not the answer...
The WA government has stated that it will stand by its no uranium mine policy - one of Labor's central policies in the 2005 state election. But Senator Campbell and WA Environment Minister Tony McRae debated it in Perth on Monday.

Senator Campbell said WA's position was absurd. "The world will need more uranium and WA should not just sit on it, it's obscene."

He said the WA Government would change its mind as the community became aware of that nuclear energy could prevent climate change, he said erroneously in Perth.

"The public pressure will build to the extent that the absurdity of the WA Government policy will become obvious and (Premier) Mr (Alan) Carpenter will do what he does so well and that is change his mind," said Senator Campbell.

WA Environment Minister, Tony McRae said energy efficiency, renewable energies and clean energies were the key to fighting climate change and the WA Government would not review its ban on uranium mining.

"Nuclear really is a dud technology, the best uranium available in the world today could run at current demand and be depleted within about 30 years," Mr McRae said.

"There is not one nuclear power plant operating in the world today that is not subsidised to the tune of millions of dollars for its construction and operation. And that's not even taking into account the legacy of 25 to 50,000 years of storage of the waste," he said.

Acting WA Premier Eric Ripper also rejected the call to dump the ban, calling Senator Campbell "a nuclear fanatic".

"I mean, the answer to greenhouse gas emissions is to look at clean coal technology, to promote renewables, solar, wind, wave, biomass, to invest in energy efficiency," Mr Ripper said. "And, of course, Western Australia is contributing substantially to one of the other answers, which is to export LNG so that it replaces coal, for example, in Chinese power stations."

Mr Ripper said if WA lifted the ban it would come under intense pressure to accept an international waste dump. "And that's something I know our electorate would be strongly opposed to," he said.

"We went to the people at the last election saying we're opposed to nuclear power, we're opposed to uranium mining and we're opposed to a waste dump in Western Australia, that's the contract we have with the people and we intend to honour that commitment."

Australia Democrats Leader Lyn Allison said Senator Campbell's call for WA to overturn its ban on uranium mining was "a fool's response to an urgent problem... if Senator Campbell was serious he would set up a carbon levy so nuclear, fossil and renewable power can compete on a level playing field," Senator Allison said.

"Australia's poor response to climate change is not the shortage of uranium or uranium mines, it's the Howard government's protectionism on coal."

A new reactor takes 10 years on average to build. Renewable energy is ready now. We need to take action now to stop climate change. We can't wait for 10 years. The UK's first offshore wind farm (at North Hoyle, Wales) took just eight months to build.

Studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other estimate that we would need to build at least 1000 reactors worldwide for nuclear power to have any effect on global warming.

This just won't happen as current growth in nuclear electricity is about four per cent and investors aren't keen on nuclear power's uncertain financials. And 1000 new reactors mean 1000 more nuclear threats that we can't guard against.

Nuclear power cannot deliver in the fight against global warming. Nuclear power is used only to generate electricity. It represents only 16 per cent of the world's electricity. Electricity itself only accounts for about one third of greenhouse gases.

Peter Bradford, formerly of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says: "Nuclear power cannot be a magic bullet answer to climate change. Even if it is scaled up much faster than anything now in prospect, it cannot provide more than 10 to 15 per cent of the greenhouse gas displacement that is likely to be needed by mid-century... Not only can nuclear power not 'stop global warming', it is probably not even an essential part of the solution to global warming."

Sunday Times
The West
Make a Readers Comment at the Sunday Times website
WA Business News
GP - Why nuclear power is not a solution
Perth Indymedia

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