The Industry Push to Force Nuclear Power onto Australia

“In 2017, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott advocated for legislation to be changed to allow the construction of nuclear power plants in Australia.[3] The Deputy Premier of New South Wales, John Barilaro, has also been urging for debate on the prospect of nuclear power in Australia, including the revisiting of Jervis Bay as a prospective site for a nuclear power plant.[4][5] In November 2017, Senator Cory Bernardi presented the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Facilitation) Bill 2017 in the Senate, with the intention of repealing existing prohibitions preventing the establishment of nuclear power in Australia.[6]….

In February 2015 South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced that a Royal Commission would be held to investigate South Australia’s future role in the nuclear fuel cycle. Kevin Scarce, former Governor of South Australia, retired Rear Admiral of the Royal Australian Navy and current Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, was appointed Commissioner. A final report of the commission’s findings was published in May 2016 which recommended that several currently existing legislative constraints be repealed.

In June 2016 Australia joined the Generation IV International Forum.[60]

In June 2017, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott acknowledged fellow former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s support for expanding the nuclear industry in Australia and asserted that the “Australian Labor government under Premier Jay Weatherill would like to develop new industries to supplement the uranium mine at Roxby Downs. Why not have a nuclear submarine servicing facility in that state – and the industries that would inevitably spin-off?”[61]

In November 2017, Senator Cory Bernardi presented the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Facilitation) Bill in the Senate. The bill is intended to repeal prohibitions preventing the future establishment of nuclear power in Australia and the further processing of uranium and spent nuclear fuel.[6] It is the 6th oldest bill still currently before the senate as of 10 October 2019.[62]

In 2019 the federal government held an inquiry into nuclear power. It recommended that the ban be removed for advanced nuclear reactors.

On 6 June 2019 the state of NSW began an inquiry on the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019.

“On 14 August 2019 the state of Victoria launched an inquiry into Australia’s nuclear prohibition.

The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 prohibits certain nuclear actions specified in s.22A unless a federal approval is obtained. It specifically prohibits nuclear power generation in s.140A (an amendment insisted upon by the Australian Democrats). The Act states that the Minister must not approve an action consisting of or involving the construction or operation of a nuclear fuel fabrication plant, or a nuclear power station, or an enrichment plant, or a reprocessing facility.

As of 2018, Australia has one operating nuclear reactor, the OPAL research reactor at Lucas Heights which supplies the vast majority of Australia’s nuclear medicine. It replaced the High Flux Australian Reactor which operated from 1958 to 2007 at the same site. These are the only two nuclear reactors to have been used in Australia. Neither of them have been used to generate electricity.

Additional nuclear industrial prohibitions exist under state legislation in South Australia and Victoria. end quotes. Source: Wikipedia at

The industry and it’s political allies will stop at nothing to change Australian Federal Law to allow the enrichment of nuclear fuel, the reprocessing of nuclear fuel, the manufacturing of nuclear fuel, the storage and reprocessing of nuclear fuel and the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in Australia.

The recent 2019 Parliamentary Inquiry in Nuclear power in Australia recommends changing Australian Laws to allow nuclear power to proceed in this country. The recommendations of the Inquiry can be read here: The report is entitled: “Not without your approval: a way forward for nuclear technology in Australia”. I will show in the pages of this blog site that the type of reactors the Inquiry advocate for do not exist in commercial use anywhere. I will show that the Committee’s majority aims (with one dissenter) included abolishing the Australian prohibition on nuclear power by any means, including the alleged advantages of types of reactors which are of very old original concept, unproven in modern forms commercially, of unproven safety, unproven economics, and unproven given clean renewable generation in Australia, which at the present time is adding so much additional energy to the grid that the grid is approaching maximum capacity. More and more Australians are disconnecting from the grid, and nuclear power is unable to operate without a national grid.

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