Australian Labour Party opening up to nuclear power?

ANNA Bligh has backed calls for the Labor Party to review its policy on nuclear power:

The Queensland Premier has warned that renewable sources cannot meet the surging demand for baseload electricity.

Ms Bligh and ALP national president said development of the only other viable alternative energy, hydro-electricity, had been hamstrung by resistance to new dams.

Ms Bligh said pointedly that “parts of the environment movement” had shifted on the nuclear option, and now supported it as an abatement measure for climate change.

Ms Bligh’s comments to The Australian reflect an important shift on nuclear power among Labor leaders, who now cite cost and perception issues rather than philosophical considerations as the impediment to introducing nuclear energy.

(…) The government’s chief scientist, Penny Sackett, said this month that nuclear power should be considered as part of a suite of options aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Her comments came as a report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering found that nuclear, combined-cycle gas turbine and wind power would provide the cheapest low-carbon electricity, and were the most worthy of investment.

(…) Ms Bligh said other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, could not produce sufficient baseload power. “I think it is perfectly understandable why nuclear comes on to the agenda . . . as people are genuinely looking for what is a cleaner alternative,” she told The Australian.

3 thoughts on “Australian Labour Party opening up to nuclear power?

  1. I’m disappointed to see combined cycle gas turbine described as low-carbon electricity. I wonder if that was the description actually used in the actual AATSE report.

  2. I have downloaded the AATSE report, but have only had time to skim the content. The report is focused on LCOE analysis of a range of generation options. The authors don’t characterize CCGT as specifically “low-carbon”. It is one of eight options considered. My quick take is, given the LCOE focus, that they wanted comparative costs for both natural gas and advanced pulverised coal combustion, with and without geological sequestration of CO2.

  3. Thanks Steve. I think the confusion arose, and will continue to arise, because the report is called “Low Carbon Energy” but discusses all forms of energy, with an implicit carbon price.

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