Nuclear debate heats up in Queensland

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, has called on the state LNP to rule out the possibility of a nuclear power plant in Queensland.

Mr Dick said that seven days after he first asked the Queensland LNP to come clean with Queenslanders about their nuclear plans, Deb Frecklington’s position had raised more questions than answers.

“I raised this in Estimates not as a ‘stunt’ or a ‘diversion’ as claimed by the LNP, but because the issue of nuclear power has been on the LNP’s agenda for months now,” Mr Dick said.

“Since the May Federal Election LNP Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and LNP Senator for Queensland James McGrath have been relentless in their push for an inquiry.

“We’ve heard Barnaby Joyce, the former deputy leader of this country, claim he’d be happy to see a nuclear reactor in his backyard.

“And former Howard minister, now chair of the Minerals Council, Helen Coonan is saying the ‘nuclear option’ should be on the table.

“The Queensland LNP even passed a policy motion at their recent state convention calling on the federal government to consider the feasibility of nuclear power.

“Just yesterday, we heard Federal LNP Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd declare that ‘his area’ in Central Queensland would accept a nuclear reactor – ‘not a problem’.

Hinkler MP, Keith Pitt, has been leading the push towards nuclear, with the support of Senator James McGrath. 

Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, addressed the ban when he was requested to rule it out during a parliament session, stating there were no current plans to overturn the ban. 

“We’re not focused on the fuel source, we are focused on the outcome.”

Mr Dick said that nuclear is not the answer for cheaper power prices.

“Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkle says it will cost far more per megawatt hour than coal, wind or solar.

“It would take 20 years to build a nuclear plant, which would come with a billion-dollar price tag for the state.

“Meanwhile, the safety issues of nuclear power are deadly serious. Just ask the people of Fukushima or Chernobyl.

“Nuclear is not cheap, it’s not safe, and it’s potentially destructive to key Queensland industries like agriculture and tourism.

“Nuclear and the LNP just aren’t worth it.”

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1 Comment
  1. Alrun 5 years ago

    Last I saw the generation cost of power is the smallest portion of the bill amount consumers are paying. A nuclear power plant would have to be built away from settlements (leading to the need for long-distance transmission infrastructure), it would need cooling (we’re talking about Australia, mind you), it would need to be built to withstand Australian environmental conditions and it would create significant standing assets that need to be maintained, locking fixed cost in over 50+ years.

    I personally think that big centralised nuclear generation should have been the answer 30+ years ago, instead of more coal. Now it’s too late and no longer a useful option. If they are looking at small, localised generation the business case may be more interesting, though the risks re environmental conditions remain.

    However, if they really want to do something about power prices there are other leavers to pull. What are the biggest chunks of the pi chart of total bill? And which of those chunks pays for the least amount of physical assets (aka real fixed cost)? Maybe start there … just saying.

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