Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Territory nuclear waste dump precursor to nuclear industry?: "Argued the NSW independent Peter Andren: 'I acknowledge the need for safe repositories for the byproducts and the waste of [nuclear] medical technology. But I do believe, within the Government's planning process, there may be preparation for much broader waste deposits that may lead us towards preparing ourselves for the slide down the slippery slope towards nuclear power in this country. [This debate] only underlines the degree to which we have very little handle on just what we do with the waste of the nuclear power cycle. There is a need for safe storage. But that safe storage should not be preparing sites six, seven, eight or 15 years down the track, which have perhaps a primary agenda of preparing us for the day when we are looking at the storage of the byproducts of nuclear power.'

"Argued the Queensland Liberals' Peter Lindsay: 'Nuclear is not bad. Nuclear is the fuel of the future. It is going to come to Australia. People ought to get used to the reality that it is a very safe source of energy. One day we will see Australia go nuclear.'

"And there's the rub. Does the Howard Government have an eye on the future when it starts building federal nuclear waste 'facilities' in the Northern Territory? ... Can Australians trust their Government when it so often says one thing and then slithers 180 degrees into something else? Like Howard's "never, ever" pledge on a GST nine months before he became Prime Minister and three years before he introduced one? Or all that duplicitous twaddle about why our Government was taking Australia into Iraq?"

"Bob Hawke, after all, is only one who thinks it's a good idea. As Hawke told the ABC TV's Maxine McKew on September 29: "We have a real issue in the world of nuclear waste being stored in unsafe places. The bonus for Australia is that we would revolutionise the economics of [this country]. Forget the current account deficit problem. As far as you could see in the future, Australia would be earning billions of dollars making the world safer and doing the world a great turn. We are talking about billions and billions of dollars a year … "Progress is about facing up to challenges, facing up to prejudice, facing up to emotion, and putting national interest on the table. That's what good policymaking and leadership is about."

This raises the question of how and why Hawke and Labor got into the pro-nuclear camp. Most likely it is nothing but a corporate push. And as I argued in a previous post, nuclear power is expensive, poisonous, non-renewable and not the answer.

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