Nuclear Necessity: Solution to Australia’s Energy Debacle Means Nurturing Nuclear Now

Until recently it was a brave MP who dared to drop the ‘N’ word in public, now they’re shouting about nuclear power from the rooftops.

STT thinks a couple of things might be responsible for the rapid shift in attitudes.

As STT followers are no doubt aware, Australia is the only G20 nation to not use nuclear power, entirely banning its use back in 1998. Which hardly stands to reason, given that Australia is the world’s third largest uranium producer.

The war on carbon dioxide gas being waged by climate alarmists is one explanation: no one fretting about CO2 gas and not talking about nuclear power can be taken seriously.

Another factor is that – after almost 20 years of massive subsidies, mandates and targets – the combined contribution wind and solar in Australia is trivial and chaotic.

And then there’s the debacle that is South Australia, the place that pays the world’s highest power prices.

Australia’s wind and solar capital is the only state to suffer a statewide blackout and numerous rounds of mass load shedding, all thanks to its heavy reliance on chaotically intermittent wind.

Primed with the facts surrounding South Australia’s self-inflicted power pricing and supply calamity, very few are able to mount a sensible argument in favour of wind and solar. Those that attempt to do so are reduced to mumbling about mythical mega-batteries and the technology improving (somehow?).

Facts like sunset and calm weather (see above) are not lost on the sane and rational which, on occasions, includes those under 30. And it’s that cohort, fretting about carbon dioxide gas and the weather, who now seem ready to remove Australia’s ban on nuclear power generation and to develop a nuclear industry, all of our own.

No doubt keen to be seen to be moving with the times and future voting trends, a number of MPs are starting to talk the talk. Now it’s up to PM, Scott Morrison to walk the walk.

Nationals MPs urge rethink on nuclear
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
24 June 2019

Scott Morrison is being asked to support a full investigation of nuclear energy in Australia.

Queensland Coalition MPs Keith Pitt and James McGrath have drafted a letter to the Prime Minister together with proposed terms of reference for an inquiry, which will be delivered this week.

The letter will call for a review of advances in nuclear energy including small nuclear reactors and thorium technology, both of which could produce less radioactive waste than existing nuclear plants.

Commercial investigation of nuclear energy will require that a ban on considering the technology be removed from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Mr Pitt said that the nuclear issue was “a debate we are ready to have”.

“In our view the technology has moved on and small modular reactors and thorium need to be investigated,” Mr Pitt said.

“There has been strong support coming from most people, surprisingly among young people. I think the culture today means people are better informed.”

Critics of nuclear energy claim it would be unable to compete economically with renewable energy and storage.

But Mr Pitt said potentially there were many opportunities for the economy and technology sector aside from the potential for emissions-free power generation.

“We must at least have the conversation about whether there is environmental and economic potential from nuclear,” Mr Pitt said.

The Morrison government has been reluctant to consider changes to the EPBC Act on nuclear power. But the act in its entirety is up for statutory review this year.

“Changing the EPBC Act is a difficult issue,” Mr Pitt said. “And difficult things are always tough to discuss.”

The Nationals MPs expect a public review to take from 18 months to two years.

The call for a national inquiry coincides with a review into the potential of nuclear power in NSW, to include former federal Labor Party leader and newly elected One Nation MP Mark Latham.

Mr Latham has introduced a bill in the upper house of the NSW parliament to repeal the uranium mining and nuclear ban in the state.

A parliamentary inquiry will be held by the eight-member, multi-party Standing Committee on State Development of the upper house. Mr Latham will be a member of the committee.

An issues paper is being prepared by the NSW Parliamentary Research Service for public release. The committee will call for submissions and is likely to conduct public hearings as early as September.
The Australian

Nuclear v Wind: can you guess which one’s been redundant for a Century?

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