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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Editorial – Nuclear afterglow

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Nuclear waste.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

While there will surely be an afterglow of good will towards local National Party MLC Ben Franklin for securing the Shire $25m in road and infrastructure funding, it should be pointed out where his government is taking us when it comes to the energy sector.

Mr Franklin’s leader, John Barilaro, is a complete bozo.

For many informed voters, that’s not news.

Barilaro’s been a long-time supporter of nuclear power, and last week he reportedly supported One Nation’s attempts to create that industry and lift the uranium mining ban, all without consulting his own party. Seriously.

The Echo is still waiting on a reply from Mr Franklin on his attitude to the ‘nuclear option’, and whether Barilaro did not consult his party, as reported by SMH.

When asked if he supported repealing the uranium mining ban and creating a nuclear industry, Nationals Tweed MP Geoff Provest told The Echo, ‘I have previously stated I am against nuclear power in the Tweed, and I have heard nothing during this most recent discussion to change my mind.’

Notice how Provest only said he opposes nuclear in the Tweed? The rest of the state is presumably okay.

One Nation’s Mark Latham brought the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 to parliamentary debate on June 6, 2019 and it’s now working its way towards a vote.

Local Greens MP Tamara Smith told The Echo that her party asked to be on the committee that is looking into this – they were denied. Instead it’s stacked with MPs sympathetic to the industry.

Latham’s parliamentary speech, in support of nuclear, admits it takes a decade to establish, but points to Finland’s nuclear industry as why it should occur here.

It’s a speech that you would expect from One Nation – there’s no economic modelling presented to support the viability of nuclear, for example.

Instead, Latham uses his time trying to paint those opposed to nuclear power in Australia as fearmongers, while disparaging renewable energy.

There’s plenty of info available as to the insanity of nuclear – www.climatecouncil.org.au says it simply: ‘Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, with enough renewable energy resources to power our country 500 times over. When compared with low risk, clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage technology in Australia, nuclear power makes no sense.

‘Nuclear cannot compete on a cost basis with wind and solar, which are the cheapest forms of new generation’. 

Clearly nuclear lobbyists are in the ear of Barilaro the Bozo.

Have they also got into the ear of the local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin? It may not matter – Franklin is obliged to vote for whatever idiotic laws his party supports.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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  1. The Giddy Aunt just read the Nuclear article &
    lost the plot! Renewables it is – & regarding the
    Nationals she refers to an old saying that’s
    hooked to the LNP as a reminder; “They’re all
    6 of ones & half a dozen of the other.” I agree
    with her. Who wouldn’t.

  2. We need to apply the same scrutiny to all energy sources. Solar and wind have serious pollution issues that are, too often, being ignored. Solar panels contain potentially dangerous levels of cadmium, lead and other heavy metals. These are dangerous neurotoxic elements that are difficult to recycle. Landfill seems to be the only current disposal method for solar panels. When panels are broken up these toxic materials will leach into groundwater. Imagine,say 10millions rooftops in Australia with 30sq meters of panels getting replaced every 15 years. Thats a lot of landfill and a lot of cadmium and lead. Solar requires continual mining of these non-renewable resources. A recent meta-study on solar panel end-of-life-treatment suggested that solar should not be regarded as ‘sustainable’.
    The blades from wind turbines are another landfill nightmare. The most recent estimate I’ve read said that the US would be repacing around 32,000 turbine blades in the next 4 years. They are massive (up to 35mtrs long/ 747 size) and at present the fiberglass epoxy compound they are made from is not recyclable. Current treatment is to cut them into 3 sections for transport and then burying them or leaving them in dump sites. We have a long way to go.

  3. Craig, i absolutely agree, and these issue are never responded to by proponents of the so called renewables. makes it very difficult in that case to have a sensible argument about power generation particularly with the common argument against Nuclear being cost, as seen again in this article, I also not it is never mentioned that it is carbon free energy or that gas is regularly used in conjunction with renewables. Also that the current power grid is not built and would need significant upgrade to successfully deal with dispatchable energy like renewables

  4. The minerals mentioned by Mr Potter are nowhere near as toxic as coal fired power stations’ emissions, and spent nuclear fuel rods and uranium are even more so. Much of the contents of solar panels can be recycled or recovered and new technologies will take care of wind turbine blades, extending their usable life. They currently could be ground up and used to backfill lower levels of the ugly holes in the ground left behind by coal miners. Mr Potter needs to rethink his claim – technology does not stand still.

  5. Thanks Graham. Technology waits on no-one, especially
    the system we find ourselves in. There are many ongoing
    beliefs that fall short of the mark – some well intended –
    others just to ‘stir the debate’ & deliberately confuse the
    truth. Now, some ‘just in news’… the School Strike 4
    Climate Australia (“Striking From Schools For A Safe
    Climate Future”) on May 15 has made the difficult
    decision to not take place as planned in light of: serious
    health risks / overwhelming evidence that early social
    distancing is critical for COVID-19’s spread / The pan
    -demic will continue & peak during our Winter. The good
    news is we are still intending to hold powerful online
    activities for May 15. Details of the new plans will be
    released soon as we feel this is the right decision to
    protect the health of everyone, in particular vulnerable
    people in our community who are at risk from the
    virus. I say – ‘well put’. The students are by far more
    caring & attentive than many adults.

  6. Hi Graham. It wasn’t a claim, I was quoting valid studies. Don’t go down the ad homonym route. We need proper debate. I’d love to know who is recycling solar panels and how. Nowhere did I voice a preference for any particular technology, just that we must apply uniform standards of vigilance. I don’t think grinding up synthetic blades and using them as landfill is going to be good for ground water. I’m really concerned by the slaughter of raptors by wind farms as well.

  7. As I understand it there is only one facility in Adelaide that recycles panels and it just isn’t cost effective for most people. As of July last year there were no Nationals standards on solar panel disposal and a projected solar waste load of 1.5 million tonnes by 2050 That’s from our ABC so it must be true. We have to get the energy and pollution equation right. It’s a huge mistake to think that those running the solar and wind industries are any less rapacious than those running oil. It’s all about market share and profits and we need to be equally suspicious of all them.


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