Going by
yesterday’s Comments, corrections etc I gather I’ve offended Helen Caldicott
and some other members of the Brothers of the Soil Communeby supposedly talking up Kim Beazley’s uranium proposals.
Here’s hoping the
hippies won’t get blown out of their Birkenstocks, but it’s time to give it the
talking down it deserves.

Beazley’s
policy is better than the current policy – but is still bad policy. Labor’s
uranium platform is being dictated by what the Labor Party can handle, not by
reality.

In the 80s the ALP had to admit that uranium mining was a fact, but could only
cope with three mines. So they adopted a no new mines policy. Today, in the
face of a resources boom, Kim Beazley knows that’s ridiculous. He knows he
can’t deny opportunities to Australians and look like a credible economic
manager. But there’s more than that. Once again Labor can only cope with a
certain amount of fact.

Nuclear energy
is our best available large scale power source. Wind is too small scale and
marginal, even with heavy subsidies. Solar doesn’t produce that much. And coal
is supposedly warming the planet.

The Prime
Minister knows this. It’s a bit too much for Beazley, though. He can come at the
mining of uranium, but that’s it. So here’s an idea for him, and one of Labor’s
uranium backers, South Australian Premier Mike Rann, to consider. It’s what a
real uranium policy might look like.

Australian can
become an energy superpower by selling processed uranium as fuel rods. Selling
uranium this way gives you far more control than just shipping out ore.
Just what you might like if you’re selling to China or India. Effectively, you’re just selling the energy in the fuel rod. And SA is the
perfect home of this industry. It’s isolated, stable and safely accessible by
air and sea.

We can excavate
the ore, enrich it, sell the fuel rod, bring it back, reprocess it and so on –
never losing control of the cycle. When the process is all over, there’s plenty
of space for the waste in outback SA.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.