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here's the nuclear wedge « Previous | |Next »
June 10, 2006

I notice that the federal ALP is resolutely opposed to building nuclear power stations in Australia. For once they (the federal and state ALP) look united and strong as they run their fear campaign about the possible location of nuclear reactors in Australia. Not in my backyard is the public response across the nation. The ALP' s street smart tacticians reckon Howard's wedge, introduced with the nuclear review to start a national discussion about the pros and cons of nuclear power, will turn around and bite Howard hard.

Things are humming for the ALP. Hope rises. Pandora's box is being opened. Joy oh joy. Victory beckons. Theer is a spring in the ALPs' step. They can see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel of opposition.

But Moir is right---all is not as it appears in Pandora's box:

Alan Moir

The real wedge is directed at SA, which is the weak link in the united front of resolute opposition. Why?

Michael Duffy spots the weak link. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald he says:

Last week I talked to a senior Labor politician in Adelaide and was struck by just how important uranium is going to be for the economic future of South Australia, which appears to have 40 per cent of the world's known uranium reserves (although the miners haven't yet found the limits to the Roxby Downs ore body). I was told cheerfully that if the demand for uranium keeps growing, South Australia will become "the Saudi Arabia" of nuclear power. (Now there's an interesting change from Don Dunstan's "Athens of the south".) It's going to be tough when they lose more manufacturing, but thanks to uranium the state's economy looks assured for the next 75 years.They're not going to let the rest of the ALP get in the way...

Duffy reckons it is really about uranium mining. Nope. That's only one aspect. The other aspect is an uranium enrichment planted---sited at Roxby Downs. That kind of value-adding would be an important boost to the SA economy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:47 PM | | Comments (2)


Well spotted.

We discussed raised a similar theme on Wednesday. In interested look at where we make the point about the Government's potential problem in recognising climate change and the link to carbon taxation

In your post referred to above you ask a good question:

By itself making the link between nuclear energy adoption and climate, the Government effectively is arguing 'for drastic action' on climate change; leaving itself having done a 180 degree public policy change without intending to. And if/when the nuclear debate is lost, where to then for the Government?

The answer depends on what we are having a nuclear debate about, doesn't it? At the moment it sure is not a debate about our energy response to global warming, since Howard did not commission a wide examination of the cost effectiveness of other low emmission technologies.

The debate may well become that, but at the moment it looks as it is more about wealth creation for the uranium industry --value adding our raw uranium exports with an uranium enrichment plant.

In your post you also mention the possibility of a carbon tax using NZ as an example from a sceptical perspective --as a sign that the Kyoto Protocol is on life support.

As I understand it the Prime Minister's nuclear energy inquiry will consider a carbon emissions trading scheme. Are not a carbon tax and a carbon emissions trading scheme different? The media gets them mixed up, I know.

Why are you sceptical about the need to introduce clear energy pricing signals and long terms emissions may be a good way to do this. Do we not have to consider the economic costs of carbon dioxide emissions in order to compare the competitiveness of nuclear and other types of electricity generation?

I presume that this is reason why the ANU economist Warren McKibben bas been appointed to the nuclear energy review. Maybe he--and ANU nuclear physicist George Dracoulis, will succeed in opening up another Pandora's box---the vexed question of putting a price on emitting climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? Doesn't assessing whether nuclear is economically competitive mean assessing the cost of the waste from each of the technologies?

That's stating the obvious isn't it?