NUCLEAR POWER AND ENERGY PRICES

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By Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC

Refocusing the nation’s energy needs on reliable sources is a sign of responsible government. Our new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has already demonstrated an open mind by putting to an end to the risky policies of his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull. I applaud the Prime Minister’s policy change because it will likely result in mitigating the upward pressure on energy prices in New South Wales. For far too long the politics of energy have been manipulated by the Green agenda.

That has occurred to the great detriment of society at large, as has been pointed out by facts concerning emissions. There is a panic about emissions, but Australia’s emissions are at 3 per cent and are decreasing through measures that have been taken. Other nations such as the United States have emissions at 16 per cent. They have the problem; Australia does not have a problem. If they were truly concerned with the environment, people would not be averse to considering the use of clean coal or nuclear power as alternative power sources. I addressed this issue in an adjournment speech on 18 October 2017 and called for a serious debate about the nuclear alternative.

Presently we export uranium to electricity utilities under long-term contracts in the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada as well as the European Union. New markets are also opening up, such as Poland, which recently indicated that it may also diversify its energy market. Of course, Australia is a source of the uranium that is being used in these nuclear power stations but not in Australia. This presents an opportunity for us to take advantage of potentially lucrative contracts in those countries that are pursuing the nuclear energy option.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with inquiring about possible sources of renewable energy but excluding a possible source based on purely ideological concerns is not constructive to the debate.

Obviously something must be said and done about safety, as we remember the Chernobyl disaster and others. I am amazed, however, that people assume that the technology in the nuclear power industry has not progressed since the days when Chernobyl was built. The World Nuclear Association reports that in the 17,000 cumulative reactor years of commercial nuclear power operation there have been only three major reactor incidents: Three Mile Island in the United States of America [USA], Chernobyl and the Japanese situation.

Modern nuclear power plants use what is known as a “defence in depth” approach to safety. This addresses control and containment of reactive material and the cooling of fuel. Safety aspects include design and construction of the plant and its infrastructure, equipment that is designed to prevent or avoid operational disturbances, comprehensive and constant monitoring of equipment and systems, backup systems and redundancies to deal with issues as they arise, and systems to confine crisis situations to the plant itself.

Rising electricity prices have been the subject
of much constituent feedback directed to the
Members of the Christian Democratic Party
in NSW. During an Adjournment Speech to the
Legislative Council, Rev. the Hon. Fred Nile MLC
continued his discussion concerning the need
for energy reform and diversification throughout
Australia. He took this opportunity to congratulate
the new Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his
refusal to pander to the radical Green agenda, and
continued his earlier discussions concerning the
merits of the nuclear option.

AP-1000 – Nuclear Reactor design

Those are just some of the safety measures.

There have been major advances in the technology and methodology used in modern nuclear power plant designs in recent decades. Computer modelling, known as “Reactor Consequence Analysis”, has been used to test crisis situations in the kinds of reactors that are currently in operation worldwide.

Various reports further indicate the next-generational status of modern nuclear power reactors. For example, the AP-1000 – which is a pressurised water nuclear reactor that has been under construction in Georgia, USA—has so-called “passive safety features”, including the ability to keep the fuel core cool for up to three days without any human intervention. I point out that the original environmentalists did not shy away from the nuclear option in energy supply. The near obsessive antinuclear pathology we encounter today comes mostly from militant elements of The Greens. We should not let that control the future of our power.