Transcript of doorstop interview – Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club, Adelaide
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
E & OE – PROOF ONLY
Subject: Nuclear reactors in Adelaide and South Australia
ALBANESE: It’s good to be here with Steve Georganas, the member for Hindmarsh.
John Howard wants 25 nuclear reactors for Australia. He’s made it clear that he’s prepared to impose them by overturning the current Commonwealth ban in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act on nuclear reactors, and he’s even gone so far as to say he’d overturn existing state bans. South Australia has been singled out as a potential site for a reactor.
Adelaide was identified as a potential reactor site by the Government’s National Energy Advisory Committee in June 1981.
Back in 1982, the Fraser Governments uranium enrichment group had a feasibility study and it recommended that Adelaide had a number of potential sites.
In 1997 when the Howard Government considered potential sites to have a nuclear research facility to replace Lucas Heights, it looked at the River and Lakes region and the Mt Lofty Ranges. Just in June of last year, Alexander Downer proposed a nuclear powered desalination plant for Adelaide. We know that the Howard Government has the 25 nuclear reactors on its agenda as well as the high level toxic nuclear waste dumps associated with nuclear reactors.
South Australia had to pass special legislation to stop a nuclear waste dump being imposed on South Australia. Consequently the Howard Government then imposed that dump on the Northern Territory.
JOURNALIST: Given that, surely South Australia might be left alone in the future?
ALBANESE: The Government has made it very clear that they support 25 nuclear reactors, indeed that it’s inevitable. I think it’s very clear that if you have 25 nuclear reactors at least one of those has to be in Adelaide.
It’s not surprising that when I asked Questions on Notice of the Prime Minister to rule out each and every electorate in Adelaide for either a nuclear reactor or a nuclear waste dump, the Howard Government and John Howard personally refused to do so. He is on the record as saying that the location of these nuclear reactors is a matter for commercial decisions. In the last few days we’ve seen the Prime Minister attempt to say that he would put the location of a reactor to a plebiscite, but in the last 24 hours you have Alexander Downer out there promoting Australia’s participation in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. This is a Bush administration program which would see Australia become the world’s nuclear waste dump and would further engage Australia in the nuclear fuel cycle. There are very mixed messages coming from the Howard Government on nuclear issues.
JOURNALIST: Basically you think the Howard Government should be saying where they are before the election?
ALBANESE: The Howard Government has got to come clean before the election and state where its 25 nuclear reactors will go and where the associated nuclear waste dumps will go. In particular, given the prominent support for nuclear reactors being placed in Adelaide from senior members of the Howard Government including Alexander Downer, they need to come clean with the people of Adelaide.
We know that they will be near water, we know that they will be near population and near the electricity grid.
It also needs to be pointed out that it is quite absurd for Adelaide to have a nuclear reactor given Adelaide’s water shortage. Nuclear reactors use some 80% more water than other energy forms. It’s extraordinary that the Howard Government has this ideological obsession with supporting nuclear reactors for Australia and for Adelaide in particular.
JOURNALIST: What would a Labor Government be doing as an alternative?
ALBANESE: A Labor Government will support clean coal technology and renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy. We have an abundance of these resources available in Australia that are not just better for the environment, but much more significant economically. The export potential that’s here for us to expand our involvement in renewable energy is quite extraordinary.
The Howard Government, because it has ignored climate change and water for some 11 years, now has nuclear energy as their only solution to climate change. It’s a false solution because it raises other problems that aren’t there with clean energy sources. That’s the future for Australia and that’s why the Howard Government is trying to fly through the election, tip-toe through and hope that no one notices that it’s got this commitment to 25 reactors but won’t say where they’ll go.