30 April 2024

Council launches survey on establishing nuclear power generator near Coleambally, Darlington Point or Jerilderie

| Oliver Jacques
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Nuclear energy plant

A nuclear energy plant in France. Photo: Gretchen Mahan.

Murrumbidgee Council has asked residents of Coleambally, Darlington Point, and Jerilderie to voice their opinions on the idea of establishing a nuclear power generator in their area.

“In an effort to explore diverse energy solutions, the community is invited to participate in an online survey aimed at understanding their appetite for nuclear power,” the council said in a statement.

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Nuclear power plants generate electricity by using controlled nuclear chain reactions to heat water and produce steam to power turbines.

Advocates say the plants can generate clean energy without the by-products emitted by fossil fuels, while critics argue nuclear power is expensive, unreliable, possibly unsafe and it produces hazardous waste.

Murrumbidgee Council General Manager John Scarce said the council sought to understand public sentiment regarding the possible integration of nuclear power into the local energy landscape.

Mr Scarce said the concept would be contingent upon dismantling existing renewable energy infrastructure, including solar and wind farms, at the end of their operational life.

“The land would then be reclaimed for agricultural purposes, aligning with sustainability and resource optimisation goals,” he said.

The survey is designed as a precursor to gathering more information on the idea, with a view to undertaking a more formal poll in the future.

“Our community’s energy future is a shared responsibility, and it’s crucial that we consider a diverse range of options to meet our needs sustainably,” Mr Scarce said.

“By launching this survey, we are empowering Murrumbidgee residents to contribute their voices to the discussion on energy generation. We recognise the importance of transparency and inclusivity in decision-making processes, and we look forward to hearing from community members.”

John Scarce

Murrumbidgee Council General Manager John Scarce. Photo: Supplied.

Nuclear power is banned in Australia and under current laws, nuclear power stations can’t be built in any state or territory.

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At a recent event in Wagga, Essential Energy CEO John Cleland said nuclear energy would remain an important part of the global energy network, but it was an unlikely option for Australia in the near future.

“The lived experience and reality of nuclear is that all new nuclear generation built globally in the last 40 or 50 years has ended up being very expensive,” he said.

“In Australia, we have this wonderful endowment of wind and solar and existing gas reserves and systems that will provide a very robust peaking generation source going forward.

“The economic case for nuclear is challenging but we do need to continue to monitor the evolution of the technology around small-scale modular nuclear reactors because they might in time play a role.”

The Murrumbidgee Council survey can be accessed online at survey monkey and will remain open until 5 pm on 22 May 2024.

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Nuclear power to expensive takes 10-15 years to build a plant. No bank will finance a plant. Better options are renewables check out CSIRO and their hydro off peak power. CSIRO estimates 120 hydro stations in Australia could meet our power needs for eternity. Nuclear is a white elephant aged tech aged economic black hole. You want nuclear move to France they have just spent 85 million on a plant that only produces 8 kilowatts of energy and went from a 5 year build to 18 years to build it. So do yourself a favor stop thinking it is 1950 and nuclear is the only option.

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