Lobby group tells why Gympie region is 'perfect' for nuclear
UPDATE 10.30AM TODAY: THE vice president of a lobby group that flagged Woolooga as a prospective home for a nuclear power plant has said the nearby workforce and infrastructure are two key factors behind the choice.
Australian Nuclear Association VP Rob Parker said yesterday Gympie's western reaches were a "region of interest” thanks to a combination of factors.
"The region near Gympie is well served by rail and road,” Mr Parker said.
"Subject to environmental constraints it has good access to the water resources of the Mary River.”
The region's geology and nearby "stable” population for an established workforce were also crucial factors, Mr Parker said.
Woolooga is one of 10 Queensland sites the ANA has its eye on in its push to have nuclear power incorporated into the fight against climate change.
He said safety fears about the controversial power source were also not what they seemed.
"Nuclear energy has established itself as being the safest form of electricity generation that we have,” he said.
"Fewer lives are lost per unit of output than all other types including wind and solar.
"Fukushima was a terrible event caused by one of the largest earthquakes that has ever occurred and despite that the nuclear fuel remained in all three reactors where in the fullness of time it will be removed and rehabilitated.”
Then there were the deaths its prevented, too.
"From studies by researchers at Columbia University nearly two million people have been saved to date from an earlier death due to nuclear energy eliminating the impacts of coal burning.”
He said it had a role to play in the electricity bill fight, too.
"Germany has spent 125 billion euro to date and still has an emissions intensity of around 550 gr CO2/kWh, versus France with less than 50 gr CO2/kWh.
"France has amongst the lowest retail electricity prices while Germany has the second highest in Europe.
"Low carbon is the BIG dividend with nuclear. Wind and Solar is an experiment that has not been shown to work to the levels required anywhere in the world to date.”
EARLIER 12.30PM WEDNESDAY: WOOLOOGA has been named by an Australian independent lobby group as a highly prospective location for a nuclear power plant.
The western Gympie region was identified last week by the Australian Nuclear Association in a presentation as a possible home for one of 20 nuclear plants it hopes to build around the country.
The presentation was made to the Australian Institute of Energy as part of a push to tackle climate change.
Other regions that made the list for Queensland included Gladstone, Callide, Tarong and Toowoomba.
The proposal brightens the spotlight on Woolooga as a key region in Queensland's energy future.
It is already the impending home for two solar farms: the $2 billion Gympie Energy Hub approved by Gympie Regional Council in November 2017, and the smaller Woolooga Energy park passed in November last year.
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Some members of the Federal Government have been pushing for an inquiry into whether the country's ban on nuclear power should be lifted.
However, a spokesman for Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said the ANA's proposal had no connection to government policy whatsoever.
"It's not something that Government has endorsed or sponsored,” he said.
"Any discussion of possible plant locations is extremely premature.”
Other parts of Australia identified as potential nuclear power homes included the La Trobe Valley, Whyalla and Port Augusta.
The ANA is an independent group that "promotes the knowledge and practice of the peaceful, safe and effective use of nuclear science and technology and provides a forum for the presentation, exchange and dissemination of information in the field of nuclear science and technology”.
The ANA has been contacted for comment.