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MT GAMBIER - officially Australia's Tidiest Town and world renowned for its Blue Lake - wants to be considered as the site for the country's first nuclear power plant.

Mt Gambier mayor Steve Perryman last night told The Advertiser that the city should be considered in any debate on suitable sites for proposed nuclear power plants.

He was responding to a report which named a number of sites around Australia as being suitable for a nuclear power plant. The Australia Institute, an independent think tank, said Victoria's Westernport Bay and NSW's Port Stephens were the prime sites.

Other likely sites included Wollongong in NSW, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and Victoria's Port Phillip Bay and Portland - 116km from Mt Gambier.

Mr Perryman said nuclear power was an option for the state's South-East, rather than renewable energy sources such as wind farms and solar power.

"I would not dismiss a nuclear power plant for Mt Gambier," Mr Perryman said.

"It needs to be an option for us. We need to have a thorough debate about the issue.

"I'm no expert, but I know that nuclear energy is widely used throughout Europe and I don't dismiss it."

But he said before campaigning could begin for a nuclear power plant to be built in Mt Gambier, the community had to be better informed.

Mt Gambier MP Rory McEwen was yesterday more cautious, but supported Mr Perryman's desire for debate.

"I think it's appropriate we have a debate about nuclear power as an option but it's far too early in that debate to be talking about possible sites," Mr McEwen said.

The Canberra-based Australia Institute is an independent think-tank dedicated to develop and conduct research and policy analysis.

Its executive director, Dr Clive Hamilton, said after consulting several energy experts, a limited number of suitable sites for proposed nuclear power plants were identified.

Dr Hamilton said any potential site in Australia would require access to very large volumes of cooling water, and that countries such as Canada had built nuclear power stations on the shores of the Great Lakes.

Mt Gambier has its 75m deep Blue Lake.

The prospect of a home-grown nuclear industry, including enrichment of uranium, was raised on Sunday by Prime Minister John Howard, who called for a full debate on all aspects of the nuclear cycle.

Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley yesterday announced there would be no nuclear industry under a Labor Government.

"The economics don't stack up. We have abundant resources of alternative energy," Mr Beazley said.

"Waste disposal issues are unresolved and there are important national security issues to be considered."

Momentum is growing within Government ranks for a national debate on the issue.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer told Parliament yesterday nuclear energy needed to be considered as an alternative fuel source as the world tackled the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

"New thinking is needed, new technologies are needed and all forms of energy need to be considered."

However, Environment Minister Ian Campbell said any nuclear industry would not be established in Australia for a long time.

"My assessments of the economics of nuclear power have not changed - I suspect it would be a long, long way down the track," Mr Campbell said. "We really don't know - it'll depend on a lot of factors that are outside our control."

"Let's have an informed debate about it."

Galactic Ruler
6,857 Posts
It's really good to see some sensible people and not knee-jerk reactions as we have seen from many in this nuclear debate. I congratulate Mr Perryman for his vision, it's so good to see people embracing these ideas and actually wanting to assist in furthering their development.

we love cranage :)
456 Posts
Mt Gambier council isn't the only one vying to host a nuclear power plant it seems. But the comment below about "Victor Harbor" wtf?

Councils queue to host power plant

MAYORS of South Australian councils Whyalla, Kingston, Karoonda East Murray and Barunga West want a nuclear power plant in their area.

A further 12 leaders from regions, including the Yorke Peninsula, West Coast, Riverland and Flinders Ranges, would consider being home to the nation's first nuclear plant.

Only nine regional SA mayors out of 28 questioned by The Advertiser yesterday were totally opposed to a nuclear plant in their area.

The calls to be considered in a debate of suitable sites followed comments by Mt Gambier Mayor Steve Perryman that nuclear power was an option for the South-East. He called for a thorough debate on the issue and said: "I would not dismiss a nuclear power plant for Mt Gambier. It needs to be an option."

He was responding to a report by independent think tank, The Australia Institute, that named sites around Australia, including Portland in Victoria, 116km from Mt Gambier, as being suitable for a plant.

The institute said nuclear plants must be on the coast as they needed lots of cooling water, should be near major transmission lines and large cities which needed their power and have good rail or port access to transport imported nuclear fuel rods.

Federal SA senator Grant Chapman, the chairman of the Federal Government's Industry and Resources Committee, said the state should have a nuclear power plant if it was "viable and competitive".

SA Farmers Federation president Jeff Klitscher said the state needed to seriously consider nuclear power.

"I think it's inevitable. We missed the opportunity to be just about the richest state in the world as a nuclear waste deposit," he said.

Speculation on the viability of a nuclear industry was sparked after Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday called for an open debate on the issue. Labor Senator Anne McEwen, who is opposed to a nuclear power plant in SA, challenged the Prime Minister to declare if Victor Harbor would be a suitable site. "There's lots of water down there to cool the reactor," she said.

Mayor Scott Schubert did not rule out the city being home to a plant. "The council and I would look at it with due diligence before we could make a decision about the issue," he said.

Whyalla mayor Jim Pollock supported nuclear power plant development. "We may be well geographically-placed to house such a facility," he said.

Dean Dolling, the chairman of Barunga West District Council, based in Port Broughton, said: "I think you've got to look to the future." Kingston District Council chairman Evan Flint said:"I would want to make sure it is safe."

Karoonda East Murray mayor Kevin Burdett backed nuclear power in the Murraylands. "It will happen. The dangers of nuclear power pale into insignificance compared to the problems with coal-based power stations," he said.

Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said "nuclear energy was a simplistic solution to the issue of climate change". Liberal Senator Nick Minchin said a nuclear plant in SA was not viable.
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