No logic in our nuclear allergy

April 23, 2019

An opinion piece in today's The Australian points to the absurdity of Australia's ban on nuclear power.

Conservative Party leader Senator Cory Bernardi has repeated his call for the government to consider nuclear power as an option for our energy crisis, after the Prime Minister said he is not considering the energy alternative, since coming under pressure from the left-wing of the Coalition.

Adam Creighton writes:

"How depressing to see Scott Morrison having to backtrack after making the obvious and sensible remark that nuclear power shouldn’t be off the agenda if it stacks up economically.

Labor environment spokesman Tony Burke bristled at the idea that the most reliable and clean form of energy the world knows should even be discussed. “Nuclear power is against the law in Australia,” he chirped, as if being the only G20 nation to have such a ban were a good idea.

It’s embarrassing to tell people in the US that nuclear energy is banned in Australia. “But don’t you export uranium?” “Umm, yes,” I say, “but flower power has more adherents than nuclear among Australia’s political class.”

In the scramble to lift the share of renewables in the energy mix, the whole point is forgotten: to curb carbon emissions, not erect wind turbines or acres of solar panels for their own sake.

With almost a third of the world’s known uranium reserves, you’d think we might try to develop a comparative advantage in nuclear energy. Instead, we’d put these scientists in jail for breaking the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which outlaws nuclear power here.

Memo to the world: Australia, with a population smaller than Texas, doesn’t approve of nuclear energy (though we’re quite happy to take the cash from those who do). How silly we look, eschewing 20 years of research. China, also at the forefront of the electric car rollout, has about 30 nuclear reactors under construction.

The Greens want to see “a world free of nuclear power”. Yet there are about 450 nuclear reactors in operation in the world and another 60 under construction."

Last year Senator Bernardi introduced a bill to remove a ban on even the consideration of nuclear energy and told Sydney radio station 2GB's Luke Grant he was hopeful when he heard Scott Morrison had initially been open to the idea.

To read Adam Creighton's full article, click here.

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