Gary Gray and other pro nuclear pushers will keep quiet at Labor National Conference

Nuclear power on the backburner as ALP awaits review THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 18, 2015  Rebecca Puddy and  Michael Owen

A national push within Labor ranks to change decades of oppos­ition to nuclear energy has scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINbeen shelved while South Australia conducts a royal commission into the controversial power source.

Gary Gray, the federal oppos­ition’s resources spokesman, told The Weekend Gray-nuclear-
a move within the ALP to end the party’s opposition to nuclear energy was on hold until the royal commission reported to the Weatherill Labor government next May.

This means that delegates at the ALP national conference in Melbourne next weekend will move a motion unopposed for Labor to continue its prohibition of the “establish­ment of nuclear power plants and all other ­stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia”.

Mr Gray said yesterday he was among senior Labor figures in favour of Premier Jay Weatherill’s inquiry into establishing a nuclear­ energy industry for the state, which is desperate for a so-calle­d “new” economy to boost its worsening unemployment situation.

“We had considered the possib­ility of making the platform more sympathetic (to nuclear) but thought it was better to wait for the report of the royal commission so we can do it with the full knowledge of what we are dealing with. The royal commission is the right way to proceed,” he said.

Mr Gray said his original draft amendment to the party’s national platform sought changes to Labor’s strong anti-nuclear stance, but he dropped the push to change the party’s position after the South Australian Labor government announced its royal commission in February.

The state government’s Nuclear­ Fuel Cycle Royal Commis­sion is headed by former Defence­ figure and state governor Kevin Scarce, who has argued South Australia should consider developing a nuclear industry to compensate for a downturn in manufacturing.

With rising unemployment in South Australia, which at 8.2 per cent is the highest of all the states, Mr Weatherill has pointed towards the potential for nuclear enrichment, exports and storage to provide an economic boost.

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, a strong advoc­ate for a nuclear industry, referred questions yesterday to the Premier’s office.

A spokesman for the Premier said there would be no comment.

In May, Scott McDine, the nation­al secretary of the Right-aligned Australian Workers Union, backed the “all but inevit­able” conclusion that nuclear energ­y would play an important role globally, saying Australia needed to consider its natural advantag­e.

While Bill Shorten is opposed to the nuclear industry, senior Labor figures including Bob Hawke and former energy minister Martin Ferguson have lent their support to the expansion of the nuclear industry as a low-carbon­ energy source.

Labor has maintained consistent opposition to the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. It is also strongly opposed to the importation and storage of nuclear waste sourced from overseas.

South Australia hosts four out of five of Australia’s uranium mines: Olympic Dam, Honeymoon, Beverley and Four Mile.

ERA’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory is the fifth.


One Response to “Gary Gray and other pro nuclear pushers will keep quiet at Labor National Conference”

  1. CaptD Says:

    Instead of New Nuclear Australia could easily become a major Energy exporter by using massive Solar (of all flavors) farms to produce the electricity needed to disassociate water into Hydrogen and Oxygen which could then be liquefied and shipped (like LNG) to Global markets that need clean burning fuels to power their Industries.

    The same Energy could also produce potable drinking water from seawater which could be used to irrigate vast areas to turn un-need land into crop lands to feed the Worlds hungry.

    Going Nuclear is a giant step backwards…

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