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Sunday, 8 December 2013


Push for nuclear power plant in the North

A NUCLEAR power station has been proposed for North Queensland to ease the region's chronic power shortages and service new mines and industries in the region.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady has thrown his support behind establishing a nuclear power industry in North Queensland and said it was a natural progression from uranium mining.
North-west Queensland is home to some of the richest uranium deposits in Australia, but only recently have they been opened up for mining after Premier Campbell Newman overturned the decades-old ban on digging up the radioactive ore last year.
Cr McGrady said North Queensland should capitalise on its uranium riches by using the fuel to help unlock the region's mineral wealth and industrial potential.
"Queensland has made the decision to mine uranium and now the next logical step is to start using nuclear power," he said.
"I think there could be a lot of benefits to North Queensland if we have a rational and grown-up debate about the nuclear power industry.
"We are an energy-thirst country and we desperately need more base-load power in the North and north-west.
"To me, it's about getting the mix of energy (sources) right and that includes coal, gas and nuclear."
Cr McGrady said North Queenslanders needed to have a community debate about whether they would be comfortable for a nuclear power station to be established to help solve the region's electricity supply problems.
"We need to have a sensible, rational and mature debate about nuclear power," he said.
"It can't be hijacked by the Greens and their emotive arguments against it."
North Queensland Conservation Council co-ordinator Wendy Tubman said she supported debating the establishment of a nuclear power industry but didn't think it would be widely supported.
"There are just too many human and environmental risks to take into consideration when examining nuclear power," she said.
"The waste lasts for thousands of years and there is no safe way to store it.
"Another huge risk is the contamination of water our water supplies."
Energy Minister Mark McArdle said, in a written statement, he didn't believe nuclear energy would be needed in the foreseeable future.
"The Queensland Government does not see any need for nuclear energy in Queensland," he said.
"Queensland has abundant, low cost energy resources such as coal and gas and, with falling electricity demand, will unlikely require the construction of a large base-load generator in the next decade."
Anti-nuclear campaigner Mark Bailey said the costs of cleaning up nuclear power stations and uranium mines were huge.
"The cost of decontamination of nuclear power plants is astronomical," he said.
"I think partly it's a distraction to get us off the issue of uranium mining.
"There has not been any uranium mine in Australia that has successfully been rehabilitated, partly because of the huge costs involved."
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