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Fmr. PM Hawke - Let's Make Australia Global Nuclear Dump - Reuters

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:40 PM
Original message
Fmr. PM Hawke - Let's Make Australia Global Nuclear Dump - Reuters
SYDNEY - A former Australian prime minister has proposed that the country offer to store the world's nuclear waste in its vast desert interior and use the money earned on environment and social welfare programmes.

Bob Hawke, who led a centre-left Labor government from 1983 to 1991, stunned political and business leaders when he made the proposal at an informal debate, widely reported in local media on Tuesday.
"What Australia should do in my judgment, as an act of economic sanity and environmental responsibility, is say we will take the world's nuclear waste," Hawke said.

"Australia has ... geologically the safest places in the world for the storage of waste," he was quoted as telling a gathering of Australian alumni of Oxford University.

Labor opposition leader Kim Beazley said the plan was not party policy but Tony Abbott, the conservative government's health minister, said it was a good idea even though the government was not considering importing nuclear waste. "It is a visionary suggestion but unfortunately there are a lot of politics in this," Abbott told Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) radio.

EDIT

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/3270...
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neweurope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sure. They'll earn big money. No Australian desert without
some Aborigines if I'm not mistaken though; but then who cares...

Apart from that: It's high time to end nuclear power once and for all. Mankind cannot afford nuclear power.

--------------------

Remember Fallujah

Bush to The Hague!
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Massacure Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Man kind can afford nuclear. 99% of mankind cannot afford solar or wind.
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 04:37 PM by Massacure
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neweurope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. You are wrong. Only short term you could possibly be right.
Mankind, though, is more than just one generation, or even two or three.

Furthermore: Mankind can afford everything it needs. What mankind cannot afford is superfluence. What mankind cannot afford is few rich, rest starve.

--------------------

Remember Fallujah

Bush to The Hague!
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Australia has 30% of the land based uranium reserves in the world...
for ores that can be produced for under $80/kg. The quantity represents about 1,000,000 tons. The specific activity of natural uranium, ignoring all of the non radioactive daughters in equilibrium with it (thorium, protactinium, francium, radium, radon actinium, astatine, polonium radiobismuth and radiolead, is 0.67 microcuries per gram. Thus Australia has about 670 million curies of uranium, all of it naturally occuring.

Last year Australia exported about 11,000 tons of uranium, reducing the national radioactivity inventory by billions of curies.

In addition to its reserves of uranium, which represent more energy than all of the oil that Saudi Arabia ever contained, even before a single barrel was pumped, Australia has significant reserves of thorium, 300,000 MT, reserves again that are equal to more oil than exists in Saudi Arabia. If a barrel of oil is taken to be equivalent to 45 billion joules, Australia's thorium reserves are the equivalent 550 billion barrels of oil or twice as much as the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. (Australia's known uranium reserves represent almost double the known reserves of oil on the entire planet.)

It makes no difference whether or not so called "nuclear waste" is shipped to Australia. It will still be very unlikely to harm anyone, any more than it has harmed anyone where it is now. If Australia doesn't want it, I certainly would be happy to have it in my backyard, especially if they paid me lots of money to put it there.
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 07:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. Interesting and not to be dismissed out of hand.
There are a couple of really good points in favour of this ...

Australia already produce their own nuclear waste so have to either
dispose of it themselves or hold it and pay someone else to do so.
(I think they do the latter but would welcome correction on this?)

As NNadir has informed us, a lot of the "waste" is simply depleted
fuel - not "empties" or totally converted just "not as full" - so this
would mean that Oz would be paid to effectively gather fuel until the
cost of reprocessing becomes more economically beneficial.

Australia already has a nuclear fuel production industry established.
This requires the same storage, handling technologies and security
infrastructure that would be required for the long term repository.

The only major down side is the additional transportation. Every item
going to an Australian repository has a long ocean voyage - not just a
couple of those "indestructable" rail cars that land transport allows
but a whole shipload of them ... this makes for a significant increase
to the security & environmental risks.

(Only an academic exercise anyway as I can't see this getting any
traction whatsoever through the political morass that it would have
to crawl through.)
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. The immediate tenor of the political reaction is surprisingly small.
Neither the Labor party nor the Conservative Party have had a knee jerk negative reaction to it - which surprises me, because nuclear stupidity is so easily summoned.

This is amusing and not entirely surprising. No nation on earth will benefit economically quite as much as Australia from the nuclear renewal. Back in the early 1990's the price of uranium was well under $20/kg, and people were abandoning and shutting down marginal mines. Now the price as nearly tripled. As the price of uranium rises, all of these once closed mines suddenly once again become valuable properties.

There are some upper limits on how high the price of uranium can rise, one being the price at which it becomes economic to recover it from seawater (about $200/kg), another being the price where reprocessing becomes competitive with once through strategies. Of course, if Australia had possession of spent fuel, they would have an excellent corner on the material to be reprocessed, as well as native ores.

The cost of uranium has almost no effect whatsoever on the cost of nuclear energy. As I have shown many times, even at $1000/kg, uranium's extraordinarily high energy density means that it is the equivalent of gasoline being sold at much less than one cent a gallon. One kg of completely fissioned uranium is the equivalent of roughly 640,000 gallons of gasoline.

If I were in charge of the nuclear industry, I would reprocess and recycle fuel just to take the wind out of the rather silly comment "there is no solution for 'nuclear waste.'"

Australia does NOT have much of an infrastructure for the handling of so called "nuclear waste." Although some idiots define almost everything radioactive on earth, including rocks, as "nuclear waste," most people are aware that the most problematic nuclear materials are spent fuel, not unused fuel. The only nuclear reactors currently in Australia are small research reactors.

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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Thanks for the correction!
> Australia does NOT have much of an infrastructure for the handling of
> so called "nuclear waste." ... The only nuclear reactors currently in
> Australia are small research reactors.

Odd ... I thought they were using nuclear power ... maybe the original
idea makes slightly less sense then (but is still worth considering).
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. When you ship it, please don't make Hazelwood the captain...eom
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