Feb 6, 2007

Questions in Writing – Nuclear Reactors

Questions in Writing – Nuclear Reactors (Question No. 3592)

6 February 2007

Mr Albanese (Grayndler) asked the Prime Minister, in writing, on 31 May 2006:

Will he rule out locating a high level nuclear reactor in the federal electoral division of (i) Adelaide, (ii) Aston, (iii) Ballarat, (iv) Banks, (v) Barker, (vi) Barton, (vii) Bass, (viii) Batman, (ix) Bendigo, (x) Bennelong, (xi) Berowra, (xii) Blair, (xiii) Blaxland, (xiv) Bonner, (xv) Boothby, (xvi) Bowman, (xvii) Braddon, (xviii) Bradfield, (xix) Brand, (xx) Brisbane, (xxi) Bruce, (xxii) Calare, (xxiii) Calwell, (xxiv) Canberra, (xxv) Canning, (xxvi) Capricornia, (xxvii) Casey, (xxviii) Charlton, (xxix) Chifley, (xxx) Chisholm, (xxxi) Cook, (xxxii) Corangamite, (xxxiii) Corio, (xxxiv) Cowan, (xxxv) Cowper, (xxxvi) Cunningham, (xxxvii) Curtin, (xxxviii) Dawson, (xxxix) Deakin, (xl) Denison, (xli) Dickson, (xlii) Dobell, (xliii) Dunkley, (xliv) Eden-Monaro, (xlv) Fadden, (xlvi) Fairfax, (xlvii) Farrer, (xlviii) Fisher, (xlix) Flinders, (l) Forde, (li) Forrest, (lii) Fowler, (liii) Franklin, (liv) Fraser, (lv) Fremantle, (lvi) Gellibrand, (lvii) Gilmore, (lviii) Gippsland, (lvix) Goldstein, (lx) Gorton, (lxi) Grayndler, (lxii) Greenway, (lxiii) Grey, (lxiv) Griffith, (lxv) Groom, (lxvi) Gwydir, (lxvii) Hasluck, (lxviii) Herbert, (lxix) Higgins, (lxx) Hindmarsh, (lxxi) Hinkler, (lxxii) Holt, (lxxiii) Hotham, (lxxix) Hughes, (lxxx) Hume, (lxxxi) Hunter, (lxxxii) Indi, (lxxxiii) Isaacs, (lxxxiv) Jagajaga, (lxxxv) Kalgoorlie, (lxxxvi) Kennedy, (lxxxvii) Kingsford Smith, (lxxxviii) Kingston, (lxxxix) Kooyong, (xc) Lalor, (xci) La Trobe, (xcii) Leichhardt, (xciii) Lilley, (xciv) Lindsay, (xcv) Lingiari, (xcvi) Longman, (xcvii) Lowe, (xcviii) Lyne, (xcix) Lyons, (c) Macarthur, (ci) McEwen, (cii) Mackellar, (ciii) McMillan, (civ) McPherson, (cv) Macquarie, (cvi) Makin, (cvii) Mallee, (cviii) Maranoa, (cix) Maribyrnong, (cx) Mayo, (cxi) Melbourne, (cxii) Melbourne Ports, (cxiii) Menzies, (cxiv) Mitchell, (cxv) Moncrieff, (cxvi) Moore, (cxvii) Moreton, (cxviii) Murray, (cxv) New England, (cxvi) Newcastle, (cxvii) North Sydney, (cxviii) O’Connor, (cxix) Oxley, (cxx) Page, (cxxi) Parkes, (cxxii) Parramatta, (cxxiii) Paterson, (cxxiv) Pearce, (cxxv) Perth, (cxxvi) Petrie, (cxxvii) Port Adelaide, (cxxviii) Prospect, (cxxix) Rankin, (cxxx) Reid, (cxxxi) Richmond, (cxxxii) Riverina, (cxxxiii) Robertson, (cxxxiv) Ryan, (cxxxv) Scullin, (cxxxvi) Shortland, (cxxxvii) Solomon, (cxxxviii) Stirling, (cxxxix) Sturt, (cxl) Swan, (cxli) Sydney, (cxlii) Tangney, (cxliii) Throsby, (cxliv) Wakefield, (cxlv) Wannon, (cxlvi) Warringah, (cxlvii) Watson, (cxlviii) Wentworth, (cxlix) Werriwa, (cxlix) Wide Bay, (cl) Wills.

Mr Howard (Bennelong—Prime Minister)—The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

I announced the Terms of Reference for the uranium mining, processing and nuclear energy review on 6 June 2006. The review will contribute to a wide ranging public debate on Australia’s future energy needs and the broad range of emerging energy technologies.

The review will consider the following matters:

Economic issues

(a) The capacity for Australia to increase uranium mining and exports in response to growing global demand.

(b) The potential for establishing other steps in the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia, such as fuel enrichment, fabrication and reprocessing, along with the costs and benefits associated with each step.

(c) The extent and circumstances in which nuclear energy could in the longer term be economically competitive in Australia with other existing electricity generation technologies, including any implications this would have for the national electricity market.

(d) The current state of nuclear energy research and development in Australia and the capacity for Australia to make a significantly greater contribution to international nuclear science.

Environment issues

(a) The extent to which nuclear energy will make a contribution to the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

(b) The extent to which nuclear energy could contribute to the mix of emerging energy technologies in Australia.

Health, safety and proliferation issues

(a) The potential of ‘next generation’ nuclear energy technologies to meet safety, waste and proliferation concerns.

(b) The waste processing and storage issues associated with nuclear energy and current world’s best practice.

(c) The security implications relating to nuclear energy.

(d) The health and safety implications relating to nuclear energy.

The terms of reference therefore will provide for an informed and thorough examination of the issues surrounding nuclear energy. The Taskforce is chaired by Dr Ziggy Switkowski, and includes members highly qualified for the task.

The Taskforce will produce a draft report for public consultation in November 2006. A final report will be completed by the end of 2006.

When announcing the Taskforce, I said that the Commonwealth itself would not be constructing nuclear power stations.