In the midst of a RE-driven power pricing and supply calamity, the only thing worse than talking about nuclear energy, is not talking about nuclear energy.

Australia has never had a nuclear power plant, and in 1998 placed an outright ban on nuclear power generation. Which seems a trifle odd, given Australia is the world’s third largest uranium exporter and holds the world’s largest uranium reserves.

Politicians are worried about where Australia’s next MW might come from, having deliberately destroyed the conventional generators with billions in subsidies to chaotically intermittent wind and solar. So, naturally enough, there are a growing number of them talking about nuclear power, like there’s no tomorrow.

Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie joins the growing queue.

Nuclear energy is ‘cheap, reliable, and low on emissions’: Bridget McKenzie
Sky News
Alan Jones and Bridget McKenzie
6 May 2021

Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie says nuclear energy is cheap, reliable, low on emissions, and “we are just kidding ourselves” if we compete on the international stage without it. “We have the resource in our own back yard,” she said. Australia holds 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves, yet does not produce nuclear energy. Nationals Senators earlier this year drafted legislation which would allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in nuclear power. Ms McKenzie told Sky News host Alan Jones “we’re still waiting” for Energy Minister Angus Taylor to put the legislation through parliament and spark debate on the issue. “We’re competing on the international stage,” she said. “Every single one of our competitors utilises this energy. “Everyday Australians see the sense in adopting this, it’s crazy not to.”

Transcript

Alan Jones:  Well just changing the tune here. There’s a story today that the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, amongst one or two ridiculous lefty things that Boris has wanted to say, including the Kevin Rudd line quote, “The world is on course for catastrophic global warming.” Boris has been drinking the Kool-Aid. But Australia got into the act when Boris talked about the need for nuclear power. Mind you, he’s still going on with this net zero carbon dioxide nonsense, but that’s for another day. It’s hard to believe that we have a ban on nuclear energy in this country. We’ve got 40% of the world’s uranium reserves, no nuclear energy. Unless you call the facility at Lucas Heights a nuclear reactor. The Labor party want half our electricity from renewable energy by 2030, that’d cost a hundred billion minimum in new wind, geothermal and solar capacity. You’d need 10 times the present number of wind turbines, 11,000 of them, but, it’s illegal to operate a nuclear reactor in Australia. While Russia, the United States and Japan are building new ones.

In France, local politicians compete to have the next nuclear reactor built in their region because of the jobs and the commerce they foster. I repeat, we’ve got 40% of the world’s uranium reserves. We export them so that other people can have clean cheap energy. At least 30 countries are currently operating about 450 nuclear reactors for energy generation. There are over 60 nuclear power plants under construction in 15 countries. More than half the world has access to some electricity generated by nuclear power. The United States generates about 30% of the world’s nuclear energy. If we want to have a large baseload of electricity for smelting, refining, general industry and your home, cheap, we can have the best of both worlds. Increase the number of coal-fired power stations, high efficiency, low emissions, and they exist. And go nuclear. We’re the only G20 country without nuclear power. It is some years since we had a completely useless review into electricity by the then chief scientist, Alan Finkel, and he totally ignored nuclear power.

What’s most probably not known is that the only political party to stick its head up on this issue is the National party. National senators earlier this year in Canberra drafted legislation, allowing the Clean Energy Finance corporation to invest in nuclear power. To be fair, two thirds of the coalition MP’s, that’s not ministers. And that’s a good number of liberals, backed the lifting of the ban on nuclear power. The block of five national senators was led by the former deputy leader, Bridget McKenzie and Matt Canavan. Senator Bridget McKenzie is the former leader as I said, until she was run out of town on a so-called sports rorts scandal. What’s this business by the way about gender equality? Have any other ministers, men, lost their job? Anyway, Senator Bridget McKenzie agreed to join us. Bridget, thank you for your time.

Bridget McKenzie: Great to be with you.

Alan Jones: What’s happened to this drafted legislation from earlier in this year, the Clean Energy Finance corporation. You wanted to establish a $1 billion arm within the corporation to invest in nuclear generators, high energy low-emission coal-fired power stations, and carbon capture and storage technology. What’s happened?

Bridget McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely Alan, and I think your intro gave a fantastic introduction to your audience. So about how far behind the rest of the world we, are now we have the resource in our own backyard. And as you said, it is a cheap reliable source of energy with low emissions. And we’re just kidding ourselves if we can compete on the international stage without it. And so as the National party, we put the amendment forward and we’re waiting for Angus Taylor to put that piece of legislation through the parliament so that we can actually have this debate.

Alan Jones: And?

Bridget McKenzie: Well we’re still waiting, Alan, I’m looking forward to that legislation coming into the Senate where we can stand up as national party senators.

Alan Jones: That was in February, right?

Bridget McKenzie: Absolutely.

Alan Jones:  I mean, there have number of surveys of coalition-backed ventures, and as many as 48 seem to be in favour of lifting the prohibition on nuclear power. But Scott Morrison says he won’t move to legalise nuclear energy until there is bi-partisan support with Labor. God.

Bridget McKenzie: Well, there’s a lot of unions out there and I’ve had discussions with them who are in favour of examining this issue because they see the opportunity it provides for manufacturing jobs right across the country. And as you mentioned in your opening, smelters, et cetera, a lot of their members work in those sort of facilities. And there’s a lot of Labor party senators that we’re having really productive conversations with, whether it’s Joel Fitzgibbon, or Raff Ciccone in my home state of Victoria. This is a debate we have to have. It’s not just-

Alan Jones: Bridget, if you took this to election, you’d walk in, I mean, John Alexander, your Liberal colleague talking about clean, efficient, efficient, and cheap energy, said that “to ignore nuclear energy…. ” And JA got it right. It’s “Like trying to fight Muhammad Ali with one arm tied behind your back”.

Bridget McKenzie: Absolutely. We’re on the international stage, every single one of our competitors utilise this new centre too, as you said, it’s very well for rich nations, like Boris Johnson, and the EU when entering a free trade negotiations with these two entities, both of those, whether it’s the UK under Boris, or the EU in these free trade agreements, are trying to use emissions and carbon as a non-tariff trade barrier to doing the deal with us. That is simply not on when they’re availing themselves of uranium and a zero emission energy supply.

Alan Jones: Our uranium. I mean, why wouldn’t the government? Why wouldn’t the conservative government, Liberal government based on economic efficiency, kickstart nuclear projects, clean coal plants, give us cheap, reliable and affordable energy.

Bridget McKenzie: Well, I think it’s madness not to even choose to examine it. And that’s why we’ve put this option on the table. We’re not afraid as the National party to back our resources industry, our manufacturing, which we need that cheap, reliable energy, and also our agricultural industry. So we want to have the debate and we know when I’m out in communities, whether it’s here in Shepparton, like I am tonight, or Wodonga, where I live, Upper Hunter; they see the sense. Every day Australians see the sense in adopting this,

Alan Jones: I’ve spoken to him, pays. I say the prime minister won’t do anything about this in this term of parliament who decides policy Bridget, the party or one man,

Bridget McKenzie: Well obviously wearing the democratic side of politics. So it is the party. And this is a serious debate that we’re having. The National party is a hundred percent behind this. And we hope our Coalition partners will follow us.

Alan Jones: Yes. Like if you talk about Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, all of them have nuclear in the energy mix, not Australia.

Bridget McKenzie: Absolutely. And if you look at the data, by 2050, we’re going to be having to rejuggle our coal-fired power station. Our gas-fired power stations will be coming to the end of their life, as will all the renewable technologies we’ve put in. If you put some nuclear power into this mix, we’d be using a tiny percentage of the land mass that’s currently under wind farms. And we’d be able to use that for farming and a whole lot of other industries as well.

Alan Jones: My view is this woman, Bridget McKenzie hit the nail on the head. She said simply rather than just exporting so that others can take advantage of this fuel source, Australia has a great heritage and tradition of leading the world when it comes to nuclear science. Bridget, hang in there. It’s a debate that has to be won. Good to talk to you.

Bridget McKenzie: Thanks Alan.

Alan Jones:  And I hope we can talk to you often, and again-

Bridget McKenzie: Look forward to it.

Alan Jones:  There she is, Bridget McKenzie. I’ve got to tell you too, none other than Bill Gates has said, “We need a cheap, scalable form of zero emissions energy that’s reliable.” His words, “The best candidate to fill this right now is advanced nuclear power.” Exactly what Senator Bridget McKenzie has said. Keep up the fight, Bridget.


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May 18, 2021