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View Full Version : Leaked cables show nuclear power push in Australia



Magda Hassan
09-21-2011, 12:30 PM
Australia does not have nuclear power and it has never been a popular thing with the general population with coal so cheap and abundant. We have one nuclear reactor in Sydney south which is used to produce nuclear materials for medicine and science. Some still has to be imported on occasions. There is a push by some scientists, including our former head of Telstra, who happens to be a nuclear physicist in his night job for Australia to go nuclear power. The push has been getting more pushy these days. Also see this thread.
(https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?2515-Australian-Nuclear-Science-and-Technology-Organisation-caught-out-altering-opinion-poll.&highlight=ansto)Unfortunately, Australia is blessed/cursed with abundant deposits of uranium so we're right in the loop and pushing it on to others while pretending to be clean and green at home not to mention the war cycle. Mind you we have an awful lot of coal too so not so green either.


THE HEAD of Australia's nuclear safeguard authority advised the then prime minister Kevin Rudd that no scheme to limit carbon emissions would succeed without the building of civilian nuclear power stations, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.A report on a 2008 meeting between US and Australian officials - released by WikiLeaks - records John Carlson, then director-general of Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office, as saying that he doubted there would be any shift in the Labor Party's opposition to nuclear power.
The release of the cable comes as the Gillard government fights to get its carbon tax legislation through Parliament.
''Carlson stated flatly that there was no way to get to a workable cap-and-trade system without nuclear energy, a point he had made directly to Prime Minister Rudd,'' the cable says.
Mr Carlson spent 20 years as the head of the office, which monitors Australia's safeguards regime and co-operates with other international bodies to halt the spread of nuclear weapons technology. He stepped down last September.
When contacted last week, Mr Carlson refused to confirm or deny that he had recommended to Mr Rudd that Australia build nuclear power stations.
However, he said the version of his comments contained within the cable were broadly true, if a little ''garbled''.
He believed it was impossible to reduce carbon emissions without looking to nuclear power, which was the only alternative to coal-fired power plants that could produce the amount of electricity required.
However, nuclear power plants had high initial costs, which meant the only way they could be introduced was if the government adopted a cap-and-trade scheme, in addition to the carbon tax.
''The problem with simply setting a price is that some industries might just choose to pay the price. Hence, I think you need not just a price, but a capping system, which brings in an overall ceiling on carbon emissions, and then there will be trading within that,'' Mr Carlson said.
''In that context, nuclear will become attractive on two grounds. One, that it would become cost competitive because there's a price on carbon emissions. Two, because of the overall ceiling on carbon emissions … it makes it essential for power companies to invest in low emissions technology, of which nuclear is the only one that produces large quantities of power.''
Under the Gillard government's scheme, a ceiling on carbon emissions will be introduced in 2015, with companies then trading permits under that cap.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/leaked-cables-show-nuclear-power-push-20110919-1ki2h.html#ixzz1YaZjMdxR