Sunday, 29 June 2008

WA Premier Alan Carpenter says no to nuclear power

This one news article comprises a complete Australian energy policy, political ecosystem. It can all be found right here. Rejection of nuclear plus investments in renewables results in increased reliance on coal and other fossil fuels over the longer term.

“There is one energy source we won’t be tapping into while I am the Premier,” Mr Carpenter said.

“There will be no nuclear power, no nuclear waste and uranium mining in WA while I am the Premier.”

Instead, WA will be expanding the 300 MWe coal fired power station in Collie.

The decision was made after strong lobbying by Labor MP Mick Murray and the coal industry which believes the state was too reliant on gas.

This lobbying focused on the Varanus island gas explosion which highlights the risks of becoming reliant on a single energy source. The fact that the coal station failed just days before only compounded this problem.

And my favourite quote from the article:

All our climate change commitments will remain firm - it is clear that coal will be part of the states future energy plans.

I note that clean coal continues to be frequently mentioned by many. This technology must be developed, but we are not there yet. Would Alan Carpenter support a moratorium on coal industry expansion unless new or modified facilities deploy sequestration with any expansion project? There you have your answer regarding the legitimate state of the technology.

The news isn't all bad. Six million dollars will be spent for the the construction of a solar power station in Kalgoorlie and the development of an oil mallee harvesting machine. But if coal power generation is expanding, these efforts will have failed to help mitigate any real emission related issues. This money appears to be not much more than a political payoff enabling the further expansion of the Australian coal industry.


  1. hopping here...from indonesia, you have nice blog...:D :D

  2. There could be a bit of State parochialism here since SA seems to be softening its antinuclear stance. A not so obvious connection between WA, Qld and NSW is that eastern coking coal is needed to smelt western iron ore in third countries such as Japan. A stringent national carbon cap would see coal reduced to a lesser domestic role such as steel production and not electrical generation. Alas I fear the promised 2010 carbon cap will be weak.

  3. Interesting point John - thanks.

    If coal use is reduced due to a stringent national carbon cap - what would take its place to ensure adequate, reliable high quality energy generation? If nuclear continues to be ruled out, there's not enough remaining to do the job.

    This also supports your conclusion - a weak 2010 carbon cap.