North’s wa­ter ideal for nu­clear power

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By SELINA SHAR­RATT

THE State’s Wa­ter Min­is­ter says the North’s am­ple wa­ter sup­ply had made the re­gion a tar­get for es­tab­lish­ing a nu­clear power plant.

Wa­ter Min­is­ter Craig Wal­lace yes­ter­day re­leased to the Townsville Bul­letin ex­tracts from a State Gov­ern­ment re­port which ex­am­ined the ef­fects of nu­clear power.

Mr Wal­lace said ar­eas in T o w n s v i l l e a n d Collinsville were pos­si­ble sites for nu­clear power sta­tions be­cause of the close prox­im­ity to fresh wa­ter sup­plies and power trans­mis­sion lines.

‘‘The only way that nu­clear power will come to Queens­land will be where there is am­ple fresh wa­ter and the only sup­ply is the Bur­dekin Dam,’’ Mr Wal­lace said.

‘‘We know that they can’t use the wa­ter from the Great Bar­rier Reef be­cause it will cook the reef and there­fore they need fresh wa­ter.’’

Mr Wal­lace said nu­clear power sta­tions re­quired mas­sive amounts of cool­ing wa­ter to con­dense and re­cy­cle steam.

‘‘If a power sta­tion was to be built at Collinsville, it would re­quire at least 25,000ML of fresh — not re­cy­cled — wa­ter ev­ery year,’’ he said.

‘‘I was ad­vised this vol­ume of wa­ter could only be sup­plied by build­ing a new dam o r we i r o n t h e Bowen/Bro­ken (catch­ment) sys­tem.

‘‘A nu­clear power sta­tion at Ross could tech­ni­cally source its wa­ter from the Ross River Dam with wa­ter di­verted from the Bur­dekin Dam through the ex­ist­ing pipe­line.’’

Mr Wal­lace said the study showed a nu­clear power sta­tion would use 25 per cent more wa­ter than a coal-fired plant, mak­ing nu­clear power ‘un­worka b l e i n t h e c u r r e n t drought’.

In Novem­ber this year, for­mer Tel­stra chief Dr Ziggy Switkowski headed a study into the vi­a­bil­ity of pos­si­ble nu­clear en­ergy in Aus­tralia.

The re­port con­cluded 25 nu­clear re­ac­tors could pro­duce a third of Aus­tralia’s elec­tric­ity by 2050.

But if Aus­tralia moved quickly, it could have a new nu­clear power plant in ac­tion in 10 years, but a more likely time­frame would be 15 years.

But Mr Wal­lace said nu­clear power was not wel­come in Queens­land.

He said the State’s re­port into nu­clear power showed ad­verse ef­fects on wa­ter qual­ity.

‘‘My ad­vice was that wa­ter qual­ity im­pacts could in­clude ther­mal pol­lu­tion and in­creased amounts of to­tal dis­solved solids of waste cool­ing wa­ter,’’ he said.

‘‘The main wa­ter qual­ity im­pact would be the in­creased tem­per­a­ture of wa­ter that is dis­charged to the en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘If the cool­ing wa­ter is evap­o­rated and re­cy­cled, you have the prob­lem of waste wa­ter be­ing high in dis­solved chem­i­cals and met­als.

‘‘Dis­charge of such wa­ter would most cer­tainly neg­a­tively im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, even hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres down­stream.’’

Mr Wal­lace said the re­port stated in the short­term, waste would be stored on site in a spe­cial pool, but long-term or per­ma­nent waste dis­posal was not men­tioned.

‘‘As well as fac­ing costs of iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial waste dis­posal sites, we’d also face a hefty bill — not to men­tion the risks — in trans­port­ing nu­clear waste on pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture, most likely over long dis­tances to suit­able re­mote lo­ca­tions,’’ he said.

Dr Switkowski said in Novem­ber it would take sev­eral decades to build up Aus­tralia’s nu­clear power in­fra­struc­ture to have sys­tems run­ning at max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency around the coun­try.

Af­ter the na­tional re­port was re­leased, the State Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to ban nu­clear power in Queens­land ear­lier this year.

How­ever, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment can over­ride the leg­is­la­tion.

Craig Wal­lace

Dr Switkowski

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.