Coal 1 point, Nuke's zero!
Nuclear plan a drain on water supply Kevin Meade30oct06
NUCLEAR power plants could worsen the effects of drought by placing increased pressure on the nation's water resources.An independent study commissioned by the Queensland Government found that a nuclear power station would use 25 per cent more water than a coal-fired plant.
Addressing the New Zealand Labour Party conference in Rotorua yesterday, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie used the study's findings to attack John Howard's push to investigate the use of nuclear power in the future.
Mr Beattie said smarter and more environmentally friendly options were needed around the world to combat the effects of drought and climate change.
"At a time when our farming communities are hurting badly, it is folly for Mr Howard to be entertaining the thought of nuclear power stations in Queensland or anywhere else," he said.
"Many towns and shires in our state are struggling to get enough drinking water, let alone enough to satisfy the amount a nuclear station would need to guzzle."
The study focused on the coal-fired Stanwell power station in central Queensland. The plant produces up to 1400 megawatts of electricity a year and uses about 19,500 megalitres of water.
A nuclear power station producing the same output would need about 25,000 megalitres of water.
"That is the equivalent of at least an additional 5000 Olympic-sized swimming pools a year," Mr Beattie said. "It is water that we simply cannot afford when drought and climate change are drying up water supplies."
The study's findings fit neatly into the Premier's push for clean coal technology -- rather than nuclear power -- as a solution to global warming.
Queensland is enjoying a coal boom amid huge demand for the mineral to fire new power stations in China and steel plants in India.
Mr Howard established a review headed by former Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski in June to investigate the future use of nuclear power.
Mr Beattie said a nuclear power station would need to have a strong connection to the electricity grid to address safety concerns with reliable transmission. The water supply would also have to be guaranteed.
"To meet these requirements, a nuclear power plant would have to be located close to the eastern seaboard," he said. "Where is Mr Howard planning to put it? Is it Townsville or Mackay or perhaps further down along the coastline on the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast?
"We need to be smarter about the way we use our available resources. We need to be looking at less energy-dependent resources such as clean coal technology, geothermal energy and coal seam gas."
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