Australia: Government and Opposition dancing into the arms of the nuclear lobby

Aust spin doctors 15

New Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, who has said there is a moral obligation to exporting coal to provide energy for millions of people without access to electricity, has been a long-time supporter of nuclear power and said in his maiden speech that it was “inexplicable that in Australia we have yet to have a constructive and thorough debate about nuclear power, the only baseload, carbon-neutral energy source”.

Showing how the nuclear debate is moving, Mr Shorten also did not rule out nuclear power in the future, saying he would watch what the  South Australian royal commission says

Nuclear power option should not be closed: federal government, Financial Review, by Laura Tingle, 27 Oct 15,  The federal government is keeping open the possibility of adopting nuclear energy to fulfil Australia’s baseload electricity needs while asserting the central role of coal to global energy needs.

The government has told the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission that nuclear power plants can deliver large amounts of electricity with very low carbon emissions, and should not be closed off as an option.

The revelation came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected a call by a group of 60 prominent citizens for a moratorium on coal exports and new mines amid a revived debate about Australia’s energy future.

“No I don’t agree with a moratorium on the idea of exploiting coal”, Mr Turnbull said on Tuesday, a position backed by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten…….

While the push against coal is being made in advance of global climate change talks in Paris next month, the reopening of a debate about nuclear energy  sparked fresh resistance from environmental and other groups…….

Mr Turnbull and the new chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, both acknowledged the low-carbon advantages of nuclear power, though recognised its relatively high cost compared with coal and other energy sources…….

In a submission to the South Australian Government’s Nuclear Royal Commission, the federal government said that while no new generators will be needed in the national electricity grid until 2023-24 because there is a surplus of generating capacity, “these market conditions could change over the time it takes to establish a nuclear power program,” the government said.

“Early consideration of the relative merits of nuclear electricity generation is necessary to inform investment decisions and regulatory arrangements.”

New Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg, who has said there is a moral obligation to exporting coal to provide energy for millions of people without access to electricity, has been a long-time supporter of nuclear power and said in his maiden speech that it was “inexplicable that in Australia we have yet to have a constructive and thorough debate about nuclear power, the only baseload, carbon-neutral energy source”.

On Tuesday, Mr Turnbull backed Mr Fydenberg’s arguments about coal, saying it was  “a very important part, a very large part, the largest single part of the global energy mix and likely to remain that way for a very long time”…….

Dr Finkel said: “I think it’s not unreasonable to look at all viable alternatives”.

“Nuclear energy is a zero-emissions energy. It comes with issues, including the fact we don’t yet have the infrastructure, the training, all the things that would enable it to be a viable industry. So it’s something that should be absolutely considered for a low emissions or a zero-emissions future, if that is what we are looking for. But it is not the only way forward. With enough storage, we could do it in this country with solar and wind.”

Showing how the nuclear debate is moving, Mr Shorten also did not rule out nuclear power in the future, saying he would watch what the  South Australian royal commission says, “but my position has been that renewable energy is probably I think the most productive path to go along” .

“I’m not convinced and I don’t think the economic case has been made that nuclear energy is anything other than a costly alternative at this point”, he said…..

The current government’s submission to the South Australian royal commission says market conditions had changed since the Switkowski review but that its findings “remain relevant”.

Mr Frydenberg said in his first speech to Parliament: “It is a curious moral, economic and environmental position that we find ourselves in where we are prepared to supply uranium, but not use it. Surely it is time to move on from the ideological battles of yesteryear”. http://www.afr.com/business/energy/nuclear-energy/nuclear-power-option-should-not-be-closed-federal-government-20151027-gkjis9#ixzz3pnrsBMqu

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One Response to “Australia: Government and Opposition dancing into the arms of the nuclear lobby”

  1. Christina MacPherson Says:

    Reblogged this on nuclear-news.

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