Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Nuclear Future for Australia?

Personally, I'm not too bothered whether we go down the nuclear pathway or not, as the positives and negatives of such an industry are over-hyped.

Still, it's big news at the moment with the release of a report into the future viability of a nuclear industry in Australia.

The Howard Government-commissioned report, undertaken by Ziggy Switkowski, is just an attempt at a political wedge, however. Jim Falk, writing for, explains why this investigation was never about Australia's energy needs for the future.
It supports uranium mining and nuclear power, rejects uranium conversion and enrichment, and all but ignores the original requirement to investigate the "business case" for establishing a repository accepting high-level nuclear waste from overseas. It stresses that nuclear power could be competitive only if a substantial carbon tax is imposed.

The narrow terms of reference set by the federal government have restricted the panel to a study of nuclear power, not a serious study of energy options for Australia. A panel with broader range of expertise and a less limited brief could have been asked to explore the impact of carbon tax and other policy measures on energy demand. From that it could have tackled the most effective means by which that demand can be met, and greenhouse emissions reduced, taking into account all the energy options, costs, timeframes, waste, safety and other relevant issues.

One thing I am wondering, though, is when Deputy Shrub is going to get around to discussing a carbon tax with the Australian people in a frank and open manor.

How 'bout never.