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Resounding 'no' to nuclear plant

Paul Tully, National Secretary, Australian Local Government Nuclear Free Zones Secretariat.
Paul Tully, National Secretary, Australian Local Government Nuclear Free Zones Secretariat.

STEVE GRAY

NUCLEAR power plants? Not in our back yard. That was the message loud and clear yesterday as the city reacted to a federal government report by former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski that recommended building 25 nuclear reactors to produce a third of the country's electricity by 2050. Apart from federal Coalition backbencher and Member for Blair Cameron Thompson there was a chorus of opposition to any attempt to site one or more of the reactors in or near Ipswich. Leading the charge was city councillor Paul Tully who has dusted off his Australian Nuclear Free Zones Secretariat which claims a membership of 112 councils across the nation which have declared themselves nuclear-free. Cr Tully said implementation of the plan will "split the nation and provide a guaranteed recipe for a major environmental disaster". "The Switkowski report puts Australia back 50 years and establishes John Howard as the World Environmental Dunce for 2006," Cr Tully said. His anti-nuclear stand was backed by Labor state Parliamentarians Rachel Nolan and Jo-Ann Miller. "Ipswich has been nuclear free for many years now," Mrs Miller said. "We already have a coal-fired and a gas-fired power station within the Bundamba electorate, and definitely don't want nuclear." Ms Nolan said it was premature to contemplate nuclear before renewable energy sources had been studied "I wish they would put as much effort into solar and wind energy as they have into jumping straight down the nuclear path," Ms Nolan said. Mr Thompson said the nuclear reactors envisaged by Dr Switkowski would be cooled by desalination plants and that would preclude any being built in Ipswich. "It obviously looks like a coastal thing," Mr Thompson said. His Labor opponent at next year's election Shayne Neumann said he opposed nuclear energy. He said the Howard government's treatment of Ipswich over the motorway indicated they'd likely "dump" a nuclear power station here. Local spokesman for The Greens Jim Prentice described the report as "a high-risk strategy for political parties who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into recognising the reality of climate change". Mr Prentice said nuclear reactors created waste that had to be monitored for hundreds of thousands of years and they would be prime targets for terrorist attacks. He said Australian scientists had made significant inroads into power generation by solar, wind and tidal technologies and these should be developed in preference to multinational profiteers building nuclear reactors. "The problem of long-term storage is incompatible with their desire for short-term profit," Mr Prentice said.



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