Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If Nuclear Energy Is Immoral…

Barnaby_Joyce
Sen. Barnaby Joyce
"If we are fair dinkum about reducing carbon emissions, and we want to have a minimum carbon emission form of power, then uranium is where it's going to be."
And as we know, Australia is fair dinkum, but nuclear energy is not part of the equation. The speaker is Senator Barnaby Joyce, who quite rightly wonders why his country is so eager to export uranium if nuclear energy is so -
"Let's be honest, if you think nuclear energy is immoral, why on earth are you exporting uranium?"
What he’s reacting to is the decision to start mining the (plentiful) uranium in the Queensland province. Apparently, that won’t happen right away.
AUA [Australia Uranium Association] communications director Simon Clarke said uranium was already being sold from existing mines in other states.
"But the estimate of the price that would make it viable to build new mines suggest that the market will be ready for new mine capacity in some time from five to seven years," he said.
The decision to allow it after a years-long ban has aroused a bit of controversy, though from this distance it looks small beans. This comments from Australian Conservation Foundation member Dave Sweeney is about as rough as I could find:
DAVID SWEENEY: The mining sector is a whale, the uranium is a minnow. It produces and contributes about $750-800 million a year to the national coffers, or that's what it generates. It sounds like a lot to an individual. It's not much to a mining sector.
Which sounds like something the mining sector will determine, doesn’t it? Not too rough. Take a look here for some resource maps of Australia’s uranium holdings – Queensland is the big province in the northeast.

But that brings us back to Joyce, who is raring to go on nuclear energy.
Senator Joyce applauded the decision but went further, asking if it was OK to export uranium, then why was it not right to use yellowcake for nuclear power in Australia.
Fair enough.
He said he would welcome a debate on nuclear power in Australia as would many of those in government.
The comments came as federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said yesterday nuclear power was not part of Australia's future.
"The Australian Government has basically said we are committed to all potential forms of clean energy from an innovative point of view, other than nuclear, which is a proven clean energy technology," he said.
Which is true. Australia is very stubborn on this issue, and chatter about starting a discussion has gone on for years. So no need to hope for the formation of the Nuclear Fair Dinkum Commission tomorrow.

1 comment:

jim said...

Australia's health/environmental hypocrisy is just awesomely stunning. Ever since firing up their first coal and oil plants long ago, they've suffered (happily tolerated) their pernicious and overt health and pollution effects in millions of non-speculated real-life cases, yet refuse to stroke a power source that has hardly killed a wilt globally, never mind Australia, and which Fukushima has shown creates no Doomsday even under the rare worst circumstances. I hope maintaining Australia's specious high-horse philosophical bigotry towards nuclear energy is worth the suffering and distress of all those suffering fossil fuel aliments since generations past.

James Greenidge
Queens NY