Saturday, 17 January 2009

Government rejects Science and Engineering Academy call for a nuclear Australia

In a recent report, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) puts forth a role for nuclear power in Australia's energy future - particularly if Australian carbon emissions are to be significantly reduced.

Like many before them - including UMPNER as well as other reports to be found in the lower right margin of this blog - ATSE points to nuclear as one prominent option within an array of deployed technologies including efficiency improvements and conservation.

And again, like many times past, government - this time federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson - reiterated a firm position opposed to nuclear power deployment in Australia.

"It is the government's view that nuclear power is not needed as part of Australia's energy mix given our country's abundance and diversity of low-cost renewable energy sources," he said.

Of course the report called for more than just nuclear power, including a recommended $6 million investment in emission reduction technologies.

The report's author, Dr John Burgess said he was not disappointed by the minister's comments on nuclear power.

"I guess what we're slightly concerned about is that without nuclear energy the other technologies have to work [to achieve Australia's recently announced emission reduction targets]," he said.

Recently Australian protesters as well as public officials challenged the announced emission reduction targets of between 5 and 15 percent by 2020. Also, NASA chief Dr. James Hansen highlighted Australia's targets as inadequate in a publicly available letter to US President-elect Obama and his wife Michelle.

The Academy (ATSE) is an independent, non-government organisation dedicated to the promotion in Australia of scientific and engineering knowledge to practical purposes. It is an association of professional men and women who are elected as Fellows of the Academy on the basis of their achievement in the application of science, technology and engineering to Australian life.

SBS report


  1. I have to say both Rudd and Ferguson have been major disappointments on climate and energy. The emissions trading scheme was watered down to the point of irrelevance and unsurprisingly emissions are increasing outside of NSW. Rudd therefore broke a key election promise. Ferguson should sack his present advisors and present a detailed plan with costings and timelines on how to replace high carbon with low carbon energy. That way we can see if it has a basis in reality. The time has long gone for trendy notions that cannot be implemented.

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