Submission to Parliament Inquiry into Nuclear Power

Climate Future mad the following submission.

To:- Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy

RE: Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia

We are writing to inform you that we oppose the introduction of nuclear energy into Australia. This comment has implications for many of the items under the Terms of Reference but most particularly relates to the Health and Safety and the Environmental Impacts items.

In October last year, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that we have 12 years to limit the climate change catastrophe. Some will argue that in order to address this challenge, we must turn to nuclear energy to provide reliable dispatchable electricity for the Australian market.

It is correct to say that we have no time left and must convert to a zero carbon economy as soon as possible. This would require:

  • Immediate ban on new fossil fuel projects (including Adani and other coal projects not yet on line).
  • Replacement of all existing fossil fuel power with renewables by 2030.
  • Replacement of energy exports with renewables by 2030.
  • Price on all greenhouse gas emissions (or other regulatory controls) to encourage their elimination by 2040.

This program can be suitably implemented by installing solar and wind farms on an industrial scale together with storage facilities such as batteries or pumped hydro. Plans have been developed in the past to substantiate these claims (e.g. Beyond Zero and CSIRO reports).

Nuclear power stations still have the following problems:

  1. take a long time to plan and build ( 10 to 15 years).
  2. are extremely costly.
  3. result in waste that is hazardous for hundreds or thousands of years.
  4. dangerous materials have to be mined, transported and handled within a community.
  5. there is no safe disposal method for the waste.

Point 1: We need to convert our whole energy system to renewables by 2030. Therefore, we no longer have time to embark on the development of a network of sites, gaining community acceptance (if that were possible) and design and construction of a nuclear power energy network. We must focus on what can be done in the next 10 years. This point alone precludes any consideration of nuclear energy for Australia.

Point 2: It is now cheaper to construct a new PV solar farm than to continue running an existing coal fired power station. And this is without even considering the costs of damage to the community and Australia’s economy of continued fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Nuclear energy would be much more expensive again.

Clearly, we need to follow the cheapest form of energy which is solar and wind. Australia’s solar resources are by far the best in the world, with most of that resource easily harnessed from open spaces (unlike Brazil or China). The world’s deserts are the likely places for large solar farms, of which Australia has a surfeit.




Graph from article referenced to

The opportunities for Australia are huge regarding the capture of energy and sale to the rest of the world. For example, the Sun Cable project has recently been proposed for the Northern Territory:

  • $20 Billion project
  • 3-gigawatt-capacity PV solar farm (10 GW plan)
  • 15,000 Ha (150 km2)
  • Battery storage for 24-hour supply
  • Transmitted to Darwin then via undersea cable to
  • Singapore! – (provide 20% electricity demand of Singapore)
  • Construction 2023, first energy 2027
  • Thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs

Just imagine the possibilities if we supplied electricity to the 200 million people just to our north!

Points 3, 4 and 5: The waste problem is paramount to the resistance of any country or people to have nuclear power. In the majority of countries, a nuclear power network has been first developed for military purposes – the obtaining of a nuclear bomb. Energy has been seen as a means of satisfying the public that such power plants are needed. In fact they are not. Energy is now eminently available using a process that is sustainable and produces no toxic waste that can cause cancer and birth defects for hundreds of thousands of years.

Finally, it is clear from the above that nuclear power is not a suitable industry for Australia. We would venture to suggest that the people advocating for a nuclear industry in Australia are doing so without due consideration of the people who will have to deal with the waste – the next 2000 generations that will have to live here.

for Climate Future

(a grass roots committee on the NSW Central Coast tackling the climate change emergency, )

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Public Talk

A presentation was made last night to a group of more than 60 on the potential impacts of climate change and the urgency of action required to respond to the issue. The discussion following the presentation was extensive with questions ranging from the political response needed to the lack of public knowledge on the subject.

A copy of the presentation is attached.



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2. Energy Alternatives

Climate Future’s second monthly forum will be held on Sat 7th at the Gosford Leisure & Learning Centre, 217 Albany St. Nth at 1:30pm.
For 30 years now we have heard of doubts regarding the science behind Global Warming and its potential impacts on us. Dr Dennys Angove is a retired atmospheric chemist, well versed in the basic behaviour of gases in our atmosphere and the fundamental scientific basis of climate change. He will present on how greenhouse gases behave, the increase in their concentration, the contribution of humans to the problem, the resulting increasing temperature and more.
Green house gases continue to increase globally. Australia’s contribution is also increasing. Up again by 0.6% in the March quarter. How does this create a problem and what should our governments be doing about this issue.
Hear the truth of the matter. We as voters need to be aware of what is happening and the changes we face in order to make informed decisions. The changes projected by our peak scientific bodies are very serious and must be addressed. We encourage all who are curious and who want to know more to attend and hear Dennys Angove and Richard Weller explain the problem we face.
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Climate Change Forum Series

Climate Forum Series, Forum 1-1: Heat, Pollution and Health  –  first of the series of Forums to be held monthly.

11th Aug 2019, 1:30pm to 3pm, Anglican Church, 3 Mann St, Gosford

A Forum on Heat, Pollution and Health is to be held on Sunday the 11th August, 1:30pm at the Gosford Anglican Church. This is the first of a monthly series of Forums at the Church that will deal with a range of subjects related to Climate Change. The aim of this series is to provide opportunities for the community to learn from the experts about some of the impacts of climate change and the background science. Positive pathways will also be outlined that take us towards a zero carbon future.

Continue reading

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Council’s Climate Change Policy

The Council’s Climate Change Policy was passed by Council on the 8th July. Given the overwhelming public support for action on climate change, this is as it should be.

This policy is an overarching policy that provides for Council to begin the process of planning for the myriad different impacts of global warming.

Council will collect data on their own emissions and those of the community and to plan to reduce these.

Council will prepare, in consultation with the community, a set of plans including:

  • Climate Change Action Plan
    Disaster Resilience Strategy
    Energy & Emissions Reduction Policy
    Biodiversity Strategy
    Sustainability Strategy
    Greener Places Strategy
    Sea Level Rise Policy

The first one must be developed as quickly as possible as the response to climate change is now a matter of urgency. A period of 2 months for a draft should by targeted with public exhibition to follow ASAP after that.

Continue reading

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CEN Annual Forum 2019

Climate Future attended the CEN Annual Forum: “Positive Pathways for Climate Action”, on 2nd June 2019. A short presentation was made by Richard Weller. Jo Muller also reported on the activities of Central Coast Community Energy Association.

The forum was attended by more than 120 people and included a packed schedule including a very interesting presentation by guest speaker Vanessa McCann (from Council) on Tuggerah Lakes Estuary and its water quality issues. Reports from leaders of various programs included Waterwatch, Land for Wildlife, Habitat for Wildlife, Bush Regeneration Team, Marine Discovery Centre, Seismic Testing for PEP11 (offshore gas), Mangrove Mountain Landfill, Wallarah II, COSS Lands (Council Open Space System), NCC Air Quality campaign (Coal Ash Community Alliance), Porters Creek Wetland, monitoring of Dora Creek biodiversity (by Terry Annables) etc.

Further presentations were made on Plant Based Alternatives, Food networks (PEG and FIG) Central Coast Community Energy, Take 3 for the Sea, Australian Seabird Rescue (ASRCC), CC Marine Debris Campaign (Sea Shepard), Greening of the Central Coast (Council program – Chris McLean) and Grow Urban Shade Trees.

A copy of Richard’s presentation can be accessed here:   20190602–CFv1–PosPathwys-pdf-version

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Climate Crisis Forum

The Climate Crisis Forum was successfully held on Monday 13th May 2019 at the Gosford Uniting Church. This was held in the run-up to the Federal Election and more than 40 people attended. Richard Weller opened the proceedings and set out the seriousness of the subject and then introduced Dr. Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor at the UNSW Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets.

Dr. Diesendorf is well known for his expertise in the development of renewable energy and its implementation in Australia’s economy. He and presented on the need to reduce emissions, the easy implementation and cheapness of renewables and the policies proposed by the various parties during the election campaign. It appeared from the information presented that the Coalition Govt has essentially no plan to effectively cut emissions. Labor would need additional policies to push Australia towards effective cuts.

A target of around 65% cut below 1990 emissions levels was needed to meet the aspirations of the Paris agreement to keep the warming below a dangerous level. The Climate Change Authority had issued similar recommended levels of cuts in its 2015 report. Many questions were answered by Dr. Diesendorf following the presentations.

The presentations are available below.

Dr. Diesendorf:   Diesendorf_Gosford_13May2019

Richard Weller:   20190513–CFv3–ClCrisis-pdf-version

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The Uninhabitable Earth

“If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible.”

This is the opening line of a 2017 article by David Wallace-Wells published in New York magazine where he sets out his understanding of what is coming ( ).

He paints a very murky view of the threats facing us. Now he has followed his original article up with a book.

“The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” by David Wallace-Wells (Tim Duggan Books, to be released 19 Feb 2019)

In an interview with the author:

( )

” It … means we are engineering our own devastation practically in real time. How much will depend on how we act, how we behave, how we respond.   ” and ” … climate change is obviously an existential threat and it is naive to imagine we could respond to it without some people being scared. ”

Hard words indeed.

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